Though New Zealand is facing criticism after an official government website removed Israel from its map and replaced it with “Palestine,” this incident is not unusual.
By Tsivya Fox, United With Israel
New Zealand’s official government website, Immigration New Zealand, displayed a “fact sheet” this week that included a map labeling the entire area of Israel as “Palestine,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. Additionally, “East Jerusalem” was designated as the “capital of the State of Palestine.”
Bombarded with complaints on social media, the map was removed from the website, but screenshots remained.
With rising anti-Semitism worldwide and anti-Israel voices becoming louder, replacing the established State of Israel with the imaginary “State of Palestine” on maps is not a new occurrence.
It is not surprising that the Palestinian Authority (PA), as well as text books and school wall hangings published by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), have erased Israel from its maps for years. Palestinian Media Watch maintains a long list of instances where these organizations erase Israel from their maps.
These include PA maps on the “Martyrs’ Grave” in Lebanon, PA TV programs, PA flags, t-shirts, home decorations, plaques awarded in a Jerusalem sports club, the Bank of Palestine building, the logo of the Association of Palestinian University Unions, and even a winning first prize drawing from an art competition funded by the U.S. and the European Union that depicts a Palestinian family holding an AK-47 next to a map of “Palestine” that erases Israel.
Denying Israel’s Existence
More shocking is the story of U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. On her first day in office in January, she displayed a map in the House of Representative that had a note replacing the word “Israel” with “Palestine.”
Buzzfeed reporter Hannah Allam broke the story by posting on Twitter, “Someone has already made a slight alteration to the map that hangs in Rashida Tlaib’s new congressional office.”
Last month, the European Olympics Committee map of Israel did not include the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria. The map was part of promotional materials for the upcoming multi-national European Games in Minsk.
Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev sent a strongly worded letter to the head of the International Olympic Committee and the European Olympics Committee, saying, “From the point of view of the Israeli Government, Judea and Samaria (otherwise known as the West Bank) constitute an inseparable part of the State of Israel.”
In a similar incident, The Jewish Voice reported on June 11 that the Italian soccer team A.C. Milan has come under fire from Israeli fans after posting a map of Israel that did not display the Golan Heights, Judea or Samaria.
US Public School Wipes Israel Off the Map
In March, the news station 11Alive reported that parents who attended multicultural night at the Autrey Mill Middle School in Fulton County, Georgia, were fuming over a displayed map that featured “Palestine” in place of Israel.
“Kids who saw this or anybody that was exposed to this last night that doesn’t even know what the story is behind all this, right now, thinks that this is the map of Palestine,” a Jewish mother was quoted as saying in the report.
Another Jewish student’s parent said, “They basically wrote Palestine in the place of Israel. They [the Palestinians] talk about from the land to the sea, which means having all the Jews wiped away and the Palestinians on the land instead of the Jews.”
Imam Abdullah Patel was recently suspended from his job as deputy head of a Muslim primary school in Britain as well as by the Masjid e Umar mosque in Gloucester. His firing was due, in part, for his 2014 Twitter feed on the Guido Fawkes website that showed a graphic of an outline of Israel superimposed on a map of the United States.
His headline read, “Solution for Israel-Palestine conflict – relocate Israel into United States.” He then included, “FOUND THE SOLUTION! America wants to look after Israel? I’ve got a way to make them neighbours!”
The Tablet reported in 2014 that HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., one of the world’s largest publishing companies with headquarters in New York City, omitted Israel from its atlas produced for schools in the Middle East. At the time, a representative for Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins that specializes in maps, explained that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to customers from Arab countries.
Maps on Airlines and TV Shows
In 2018, Swiss Air displayed an in-flight map to passengers flying to Israel that omitted Tel Aviv but included the Palestinian village of Al-Shaykh Muwannis, a place that has not existed since the State of Israel was established.
Air France made a similar faux pas in 2015. The airline’s in-flight map only indicated where the “West Bank” and Gaza Strip are located. Israel was not mentioned at all.
In 2014, Gatestone Institute reported that the Saudi MBC TV network was forced to apologize to its hundreds of millions of viewers for the “crime” of using a map that showed Israel instead of “Palestine.”
Two Arab-Israeli citizens were participants in the network’s popular Arab Idol contest, based on similar U.S. and British talent shows. This was the first time that Arab-Israelis were performing on the show.
The series regularly uses maps to show contestant countries. When a map of Israel was shown, the Saudi station was flooded with requests not only to remove Israel from the map, but also to apologize for this “serious offense.”
Condemnations came swiftly from Palestinians as well as from nearly every Arab country. Protesters demanded that MBC replace Israel with “Palestine.
The station quickly apologized for displaying a map that referred to Israel as an existing state, claiming that the map was a result of a “technical error.” It then removed Israel from the map.
Most people assume that maps represent “facts on the ground.” However, for pro-Palestinian communities at large, maps are created to serve their agenda, which is to literally “wipe Israel off the map.”
Now more than ever, lovers of Israel and truth must make their voices heard, loud and clear, against anti-Israel propaganda!
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