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Jeopardy Slammed for Judging Bethlehem as Part of Israel


Beloved game show Jeopardy, in the midst of blockbuster ratings for its GOAT tournament, took a night off from its all-star victory lap on Friday and promptly made news is much less auspicious manner—by getting slammed online for confusing Israel and Palestine.

At the end of Friday’s round one, only a single, $200 question remained on the board, under the category “Where’s that Church?” The clue was “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity.”

Returning champion and scoreboard leader Katie Needle of Brooklyn, N.Y. quickly rang in and answered “What is Palestine,” but her answer was deemed incorrect as host Alex Trebek added “Nope.” Her game total then dropped from $4,800 to $4,600.

Last-place contestant Jack McGuire, from San Antonio, TX, followed up with the answer “What is Israel” and was ruled correct. Accordingly, his total rose from $2,000 to $2,200 right before the game show took a commercial break.

But in fact, the Church of the Nativity, as well as Bethlehem are under control of the Palestine Authority, and have been since 1995, per the Oslo II Accords signed by Israel and Palestine. The United Nations also lists the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as part of Palestine. And the US State Department clearly defines Bethlehem as inside occupied Palestinian territory (see map).

This erasure of Palestinian sovereignty did not sit well with geopolitically and geographically astute viewers of the game show, however, and they immediately began to vent online.

While Jeopardy judges got this one wrong, Needle, who gave the actual, right answer, still ended up winning the game handily, bringing her two-day winnings total to $53,602.

Watch the above video, via KNSD-TV, NBC’s San Diego affiliate. 

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.



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