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

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on 12 Comments

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.

Mondoweiss Editors

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12 Responses

  1. Tom Suarez on January 13, 2020, 12:55 pm

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

  2. Misterioso on January 13, 2020, 12:59 pm

    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 to live as refugees since.

  3. bcg on January 13, 2020, 1:45 pm

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

    https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutIsrael/Maps/Pages/Israel-Size-and-Dimension.aspx

    “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:

    https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutIsrael/Maps/Pages/Transportation-and-Built-Up-Areas.aspx

    Hey, it’s ALL Israel!

  4. Misterioso on January 13, 2020, 3:53 pm

    @bcg

    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.

    • eljay on January 13, 2020, 5:32 pm

      || Misterioso: … “Israel” has yet to declare its borders and have them officially agreed to as such by the international community. ||

      Zionists have declared Israel’s / Partition borders null and void and stated that only its borders with Palestine have yet to be decided and that they will only be decided only through a negotiated settlement. (Or words to that effect.)

      They seem to think this means that until a final settlement is reached they’re entitled to take as much of Partition-borders Palestine as they want.

      But they don’t seem to realize that this also means the Palestinians – in addition to reclaiming all of Partition-borders Palestine – are just as entitled to take as much of Partition-borders Israel as they want.

      Zionists are clearly confident that the latter situation will never present itself. They may be right…but they may simply be as short-sighted, foolish and arrogant as they are insatiably greedy.

      • RoHa on January 13, 2020, 10:17 pm

        “But they don’t seem to realize that this also means the Palestinians – in addition to reclaiming all of Partition-borders Palestine – are just as entitled to take as much of Partition-borders Israel as they want.”

        I think you’ll find reciprocity is anti-something. Palestinians are not entitled to anything.

    • Talkback on January 14, 2020, 8:12 am

      Misterioso: “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.”

      I think it’s safe to say that the international community, including the PLO, doesn’t contest Israel’s claim to the territory within 67 lines minus Jerusalem.

  5. James Canning on January 14, 2020, 10:32 am

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

  6. Talkback on January 14, 2020, 1:26 pm

    According to JVP on Facebook “Her points were reinstated after the break WITHOUT explanation.”

    • jrg on January 14, 2020, 10:07 pm

      Were Jack McGuire’s points deducted?

  7. DonM on January 15, 2020, 12:51 am

    Below is correspondence on the issue with Jeopardy staff. No apology forthcoming from them.

    Hi Donald,

    Correction to Jeopardy! Bethlehem Clue: 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 the replacement clue found in the link below.

    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.

    https://www.jeopardy.com/jbuzz/news-events/correction-jeopardy-bethlehem-clue

    Best,

    The Jeopardy! Team

    On Sat, Jan 11, 2020 at 9:55 PM wrote:
    Your decision to use your show to argue for the proposition that the occupied territories are part of Israel, is completely unacceptable. To include this answer was a calculated slight to the Palestinian people.

    As a long time watcher and fan of the show, I am forced to reconsider my position. You have actively introduced a political position into your show. I have lost respect for the show and host.

    You should be ashamed.

  8. ahadhaadam on January 16, 2020, 9:07 pm

    What is “nobody knows because Israel refuses to tell the world where its borders are and uses this ambiguity to continue colonizing the West Bank/Palestine?”

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