Media Analysis

‘Jeopardy’ says Bethlehem is in Israel, and gets slammed everywhere — Updated

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UPDATE: On Monday, Jeopardy apologized for airing the Bethlehem-is-in-Israel answer. It did so with a convoluted statement saying that its original clue “was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic.” Statement at end of this article. 

On Friday night the game show “Jeopardy” blew the Palestine question, badly; and it’s getting a lot of media play. In the category,”Where is that church?” one answer came with this clue, “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.” (Video here.)

Contestant Katie Needle answered, “What is Palestine?”

“No,” host Alex Trebek said, and contestant Jack McGuire said, “What is Israel?”

“That’s it,” Trebek said.

Scott Roth jumped on it immediately. “Omg fuck you @Jeopardy. The Church of the Nativity is in Bethlehem, which is Palestine, NOT Israel. The woman answered Palestine and you ruled her wrong.” Later Omar Baddar of the Arab American Institute explained, “Unacceptable!! Bethlehem is in the Palestinian territories which Israel illegally occupies (Katie Needle got the correct answer & was robbed). @Jeopardy owes an apology for endorsing Israel’s universally-condemned illegal takeover of Palestinian lands.”

Code Pink is seeking an apology from the game show, with smart graphics.

Code Pink offers a clue about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The good thing about the response is that the occupation is no longer obscure knowledge. The show is getting hammered on Twitter. Jamil Dakwar said, “Even Siri got it right!” Jim Zogby calls the exchange a double insult.

This is outrageous. If “Israel” had been the answer, it would have been bad enough. But the fact that she gave “Palestine” as the… answer and was told it was wrong makes this an outrage & an insult to history, reality, the thousands of oppressed Palestinians of Bethlehem

Supporters of Israeli occupation have been trying to justify Jeopardy’s answer. Roth responds, “Fine. In that case Israel isn’t a democracy since no one who lives in Bethlehem can vote in Israeli parliamentary elections. Or if it is a democracy, then it’s an apartheid state. Choose.”

UPDATE: Jeopardy on Monday said it regrets airing the clue because the right answer “would be problematic,”  and issued a replacement tape it had prepared in which the answer was entirely different — the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico. But somehow it didn’t air the replacement because of human error. You figure this out:

In the process of taping this clue, “BUILT IN THE 300s A.D., THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY” we became aware that the clue was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic. In accordance with our rules and in the interest of fairness, we voided the clue and threw it out. We restored Katie’s and Jack’s scores to what they were prior to the clue. The outcome of the game was not affected. We then continued the game with this replacement clue. Unfortunately, through human error in post-production, the uncorrected version of the game was broadcast. We regret the error and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again.

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The Washington Examiner article on the incident spreads more falsehoods, stating that the church used to be in Israel.

Also, Mr. Trebek, for your edification, the borderless, expansionist, racist, fascistic entity referred to as “Israel” was established in historic Palestine in 1948 by means of force of arms, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation by Jewish Zionists of foreign origin. Between late 1947 and 1967, about one million two hundred thousand Palestinian Christians and Muslims were dispossessed and expelled from their native land by Zionist forces. Along with their descendants, they have been forced… Read more »

Well, here’s an official map of Israel from the Israeli Ministry of ForeignAffairs:

“The country is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, Egypt to the southwest and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.”

And here’s a map showing transportation routes:

Hey, it’s ALL Israel!


Of course, you’re being facetious.

As I’m sure you know, “Israel” has yet to declare its borders and have them officially agreed to as such by the international community.

Jeopardy needs to brush up on international law. Bethlehem is in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.