Swedish news chief says Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital, insists UN agrees

The editor of a Swedish news website dismissed complaints about his publication’s claim that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital, asserting incorrectly that this is the position of the United Nations.

ABC Nyheter’s editor-in-chief Daniel Lilja made the claim in an email he sent this week to a reader who wrote to correct the news website’s assertion that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital city. The reader pointed out to Lilja that Israel designates Jerusalem as its capital.

“Tel Aviv is, according to the UN, the capital of Israel,” Lilja wrote to the reader, advising her to “study geography and Swedish grammar.”

Whereas Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital is not universally recognized, the United Nations and the European Union, including Sweden, have not designated Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital. The United States has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The United Nations database of its member states lists Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with a footnote that reads: “Designation and data provided by Israel. The position of the United Nations on Jerusalem is stated in A/RES/181 (II) and subsequent General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.” The document referenced in the footnote mentions neither Tel Aviv nor any other capital city for Israel.

The Guardian and The Observer have corrected several times their writers’ claims that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital.

Lilja, however, wrote to the reader: “Your claim that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is equally erroneous as arguing that Copenhagen is Sweden’s capital.”