On Nov. 18 we reminded readers that until the summer of 2012 the Guardian’s Style Guide stated that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel – a shamefully false claim which was only officially retracted by their editors after a complaint was filed with the PCC. We noted this quintessentially Guardianesque misinformation in response to a recent report by their Middle East editor, Ian Black, titled ‘Hawks squawk even before Iran nuclear deal is sealed‘, Nov. 8.
Black’s report included this sentence:
Hardliners in Tehran, hawks in Tel Aviv and Washington, nervous Saudis and their Gulf allies are all alarmed at the prospect of a nuclear deal between Iran, the US and the international community [in Geneva].
As we noted, the context made it clear Black was referring to the putatively “hard-line” and “hawkish” political leaders within the governments of Iran, Israel and the United States. Yet, while the capitals (where the ‘seats of government’ is located) in Iran and the United States were of course correct, the paper’s Middle East “expert” bestowed this status to the wrong Israeli city.
Though no change was prompted to Black’s misleading Nov. 8 report after our complaints, the following sentence in Black’s latest report (a ‘Middle East Year in Review’ published on Dec. 19) included an update on the nuclear deal which, at the very least, is quite curious.
It is an interim [nuclear] agreement and faces opposition from hardliners in Tehran who mistrust the emollient Rouhani, Republicans in Washington and hawks in Jerusalem, where Israel – anxious to maintain its monopoly of (undeclared) nuclear weapons – was ignored by Barack Obama
Yes, those ‘squawking Zionist hawks’ are safely back in their nation’s capital.
We of course can’t formally claim credit for Black’s ‘evolving’ expertise in the subject of Jewish Geography which likely inspired his implicit acknowledgement that it is wrong to suggest that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital. But, in the event that one of their contributors attempts similar rhetorical slights of hand in the future, you may want to ‘gently’ remind them of the following: