Jerusalem’s Olympic run: Palestine’s capital, Israel’s capital, and nonexistent — all before noon
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Jerusalem’s Olympic run: Palestine’s capital, Israel’s capital, and nonexistent — all before noon

Hamstrung by ‘technical issues,’ official London Games website winds up depriving all nations of their capital cities

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Israel's profile after the removal of 'capital' from the criteria (screen capture from London2012.com)
Israel's profile after the removal of 'capital' from the criteria (screen capture from London2012.com)

In a new twist underlining the political sensitivities of the Middle East, the official website for the upcoming Olympic games removed the capital city designation from the profile page of all participating countries on Monday, after objections were made regarding the status it had afforded Jerusalem.

London’s Olympic committee launched the official 2012 website over the weekend, and initially named Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine” while leaving Israel with no capital city.

“It’s a shame a nonpolitical body makes the most absurd political statements,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson told The Times of Israel on Monday morning, protesting the allocation of Israel’s capital to “a country that doesn’t exist.”

Israel’s profile on the website on Monday morning, with a blank space for its capital:

Before: Israel's Olympic profile had no capital city (screen capture from London 2012.com)
Before: Israel's Olympic profile had no capital city (screen capture from London 2012.com)

Later on Monday morning, after attention was brought to the matter, the situation was reversed: Jerusalem was designated as the capital of Israel, and “Palestine” was listed without a capital.

Israel’s adjusted profile, late on Monday morning:

After: Israel now has a capital city (screen capture from london2012.com)
After: Israel now has a capital city (screen capture from london2012.com)

After further consideration, however, the website removed the “capital” listing from all countries’ profile pages, leaving them listed with population numbers, currencies and national anthems — but with no polestar for their national institutions.

Israel’s profile page after the “capital” designation was removed from all countries’ listings:

Israel's profile after the removal of 'capital' from the criteria (screen capture from London2012.com)
Israel's profile after the removal of 'capital' from the criteria (screen capture from London2012.com)

A London 2012 spokesman said, “Following an incorrect data input, we have amended the information on our website and we apologize for this mistake.”

Earlier in April, the Guardian newspaper in London prompted bitter criticism from the Foreign Ministry when it “corrected” a caption which had listed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Tel Aviv is in fact the capital of Israel, the paper informed its readers.

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