Hasbro pulls countries from Monopoly site after Israel flap
PROVIDENCE (AP) — Monopoly, the iconic game of capitalism, has been drawn into the dispute over Jerusalem.
Hasbro issued an apology Thursday after an employee, responding to complaints from pro-Palestinian groups, eliminated the word "Israel" after the city in an online contest to select names for a new Monopoly board game: Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition.
The company also pulled all country names from other cities on the site when even more people complained because Jerusalem was listed as the only city without a country.
The Pawtucket-based company is asking people to vote at the Monopoly website on which cities will be included in the new edition. Until Tuesday, every city on the site listed a country, including Paris, France; Cairo and Jerusalem, Israel.
But an employee based in London decided on her own without consulting senior management to pull "Israel" from Jerusalem after hearing complaints from pro-Palestinian groups and bloggers who argue that the city is not a part of Israel, Hasbro spokesman Wayne Charness said Thursday.
The issue has been a sensitive one for decades: Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem — home to Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites — in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of a future independent state.
Hasbro management was alerted to the change Wednesday when its London office saw a spike in traffic on the site and figured out what happened, Charness said. The company then pulled every country name, so Paris and Cairo also are now listed alone, he said.
"It was a bad decision, one that we rectified relatively quickly," he said. "This is a game. We never wanted to enter into any political debate. We apologize to our Monopoly fans."
He added that the game, due out in the fall, was never meant to include countries. The countries were added to the website to make it easier to vote.
Voting in the contest ends Feb. 29 for the Top 20 cities and March 9 for two wild card cities nominated by voters. The top vote-getting city will get the prime Boardwalk spot: as of Thursday, it was Istanbul, Turkey.
Well well, an employee in London working for an international corporate giant made an individual decision to bow to arabian pressing threats and thus plung the company into a PR nightmare. Possible, I suppose. Not likely. It is hard to process both “the employee did it" answer and "we were going to remove them anyway" answer.
But maybe with the political correctness that is found in the article, and presumably on the mind of the London employee, one can't be too hard on Hasbro. Note how, according to the story Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem — home to Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites — in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of a future independent state.
While factually accurate there is a question unanswered. Captured from whom? Palestine? the PA? None of the above. Jordan was in control of Jerusalem. Why? The results of the 1949 armistice. Jerusalem in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 was to be a Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem. Jordan did nothing to show any support for the open city plan or for sharing the wealth. For background purposes, this resolution originated in the General Assembly of the UN and therefore carried little weight. All this means is that legally, Jerusalem's status was left TBD at that time, which the UN sought to "correct" numerous times but only after the Old City's liberation in June 1967. I couldn't find references to any UN resolution condemning Jordan for holding the Old City or for denying equal religious rights there (not to mention destruction of holy sites). Silence, as they say equals consent.
Well anyhow, as it turns out, no country references will be on the Monopoly board so Hasbro says, unless a rogue employee in London has a different idea. So, as of now, keep voting in the contest. Register as many email addresses as you wish and vote from each one. Drive Jerusalem (Israel) to the top. That will really give the palis something to whine about.
Jewish Virtual Library Jerusalem History
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Jerusalem History