NYT Decree: Tel Aviv is Israel's Capital
A front-page headline in the July 2 edition of the New York Times uses, or rather misuses, Tel Aviv as a synonym for Israel's capital ("Mideast Chaos Grows as U.S. Focuses on Israel -- Kerry's Tel Aviv Push Raises Questions About Priorities" by Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren).
Newspapers often use the name of a country's capital as shorthand for that nation -- i.e. "Washington moves to....," "London disagrees...", meaning the U.S. and Britain, respectively, in this illustration).
With this in mind, it comes as a shock that the Times, on the front page no less, decrees that Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, is Israel's capital. The Times may not like that Jerusalem is Israel's capital, but it has no business moving Israel's capital to Tel Aviv. Israel's seat of government is in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv.
Last year, Britain's ultra-left Guardian newspaper apologized for having used "Jerusalem" as Israel's capital and told its readers that Tel Aviv instead fits that bill. Britain's Press Complaints Commission disagreed and held that Jerusalem is the proper term. Too bad that the Times, in its haughtiness, thinks it knows better.
Substitution of Tel Aviv plays into the hands of historical revisionists who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state -- with Jerusalem as their prime target. But a not so small matter of 3,000 years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem override any such chutzpah, the New York Times to the contrary notwithstanding.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers