iPhones suggest Palestinian flag emoji when users type ‘Jerusalem’; Apple: It’s a bug

Amid accusations of anti-Israel bias, tech titan promises fix in next update; British TV presenter notes no flag emojis suggested for array of other capitals

Palestine flag emoji on an Apple device (via Social media)
Palestine flag emoji on an Apple device (via Social media)

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple on Thursday promised it would stop a Palestinian flag emoji from being suggested to some iPhone users when they type “Jerusalem” in messages.

The Silicon Valley tech titan blamed a software bug for the prompt, which sparked accusations Apple was showing anti-Israel bias amid the ongoing conflict against Hamas in Gaza.

Apple told AFP that the predictive emoji suggestion in the iPhone keyboard was not intentional and would be fixed in the next update to its mobile operating system.

The quirk was pointed out on social media by British television presenter Rachel Riley, renewing debate over the status of Jerusalem, which Israel maintains is its undivided capital while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

“When I type the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, I’m offered the Palestinian flag emoji,” Riley wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, calling on Apple to explain.

She pointed out no flag emojis were suggested when an array of other capital cities were typed into iPhone messages.

“Showing double standards with respect to Israel is a form of antisemitism, which is itself a form of racism against Jewish people,” Riley contended in the post.

She said the Palestinian flag emoji began popping up in connection with Jerusalem after a recent update of the iPhone operating system.

Riley signed her post “a Jewish woman concerned about the global rise in antisemitism.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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