The White House refused to name the capital of Israel today – not
once, but twice – as the two most senior White House correspondents
cornered Obama’s press secretary, doggedly questioning him on whether
the Obama administration considered Jerusalem or Tel Aviv to be the
capital of the Jewish state.
White House press secretary Jay Carney publicly snubbed Connie Lawn
of USA Radio Network and WND’s Les Kinsolving as they questioned him.
The exchange began with a question from Lawn, the most senior
reporter on the beat.
The White House transcript reveals the exchange went like this:
CARNEY: Yes, Connie.
Q. What city does this administration consider to be the capital of
Israel – Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?
CARNEY: I haven’t had that question in a while. Our position has not
Q. What is the position? What’s the capital?
CARNEY: You know our position.
Q. I don’t.
Q. (Kinsolving joins.) No, no, she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know.
That’s why she asked.
CARNEY: She does know –
Q. I don’t.
Q. (Kinsolving) She does not know. She just said she doesn’t know. I
CARNEY: We have long – Les, I call on Christi. Go ahead.
Q. Back on the question of gun violence. Why did the president wait?
What’s the reason for the venue and the timing of those remarks?
CARNEY: The remarks last night? Well, it was a very appropriate
venue – it was the Urban League Conference. He talked about a number
of issues, especially the economy, as well as the problem of violence
in urban communities.
Q. But those were his most extensive and impassioned remarks, and I
just wondered if he’s planning to do that in a more noticeable venue
at a more noticeable time.
CARNEY:You mean a speech in front of a vast audience with television
cameras is not more noticeable?
Q. Late at night, it was five days later –
CARNEY: Well, we didn’t schedule – we didn’t organize the conference.
It was a very appropriate place to have that conversation.
Q. (Kinsolving) Tel Aviv or Jerusalem?
CARNEY: You know the answer.
Q. (Kinsolving) No, I don’t know the answer. We don’t know the
answer. Could you just give us an answer? What do you recognize –
what does –
CARNEY: Our position hasn’t changed, Lester.
Kinsolving is right behind Lawn in seniority among White House
Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WND, applauded Kinsolving’s
efforts to extract an answer from the White House.
“WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving doesn’t get the respect
he deserves among his colleagues or in the Obama administration,”
Farah said. “But this demonstrates the vital public service he
provides by being there – even though he is seldom called upon by
people like the clueless Carney.
He added, “Let’s face it. Nobody knows what the administration’s
position is on a simple matter of which city the U.S. recognizes as
the capital of Israel – including the White House spokesman. But
Kinsolving wouldn’t let him dodge this bullet. By his dogged
persistence, he demonstrated to the entire world this administration
is like a rudderless ship.”
The issue of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has surfaced periodically
as Palestinians often refuse to acknowledge the city’s status.
Most recently, WND reported that the issue arose at the London
There, saying that the Games should not be distorted by politics, the
chief of an international litigation and policy organization is
calling on the British Broadcasting Corp. to make corrections in its
website – where Palestine is described as having its “intended
capital” in East Jerusalem.
At the same time, the Israeli page notes that there is no “capital”
but that its “seat of government” is in Jerusalem.
“Since King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel, Jerusalem has
played a key role in the government, culture, religion and history of
the Jewish nation,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty
Counsel. “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city. The BBC should list
this fact on its Olympics website, like it has done for every other
“The Olympics should transcend politics,” said Staver, whose
organization is dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the
sanctity of life, and the family, by providing pro bono assistance
and representation on these and related topics.
The BBC site notes that for Israel, “most foreign embassies are in
Tel Aviv.” But for Palestine, which is not a nation, the BBC
announces the “intended seat of government” is East Jerusalem.
“Palestine is recognized as a competing country by the IOC but is not
recognized as a modern state,” the site added.
According to Liberty Counsel, Mark Regrev, adviser of foreign press
and public affairs at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Bureau, described
the statements as “discrimination” in a letter to Paul Danahar, BBC
Middle East bureau chief.
Before Israel’s protest, Liberty Counsel documented, the BBC website
listed Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and omitted Jerusalem as
the capital for Israel. While the photos identifying Iran, Syria and
Libya depicted peaceful cultural scenes, the picture for Israel
depicted an Israeli soldier confronting a protester.
“Following several letters from Mr. Regev, the BBC modified the
website to list Jerusalem as the ‘Seat of government’ for Israel and
Jerusalem as the ‘Intended seat of government’ for ‘Palestine.’ These
changes are still not sufficient,” Liberty Counsel said.