Israeli envoy to Sweden protests pulling of show over Jerusalem reference

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to Sweden protested the pulling off the air of a cooking show because its presenter called Jerusalem the Jewish state’s “heart.”

TV4, a commercial channel, stopped airing reruns of the Israel episode of celebrity chef Tina Nordstrom’s “Tina Visiting” last month following viewers’ complaints over her characterization of Jerusalem, the news website reported last week.

A spokesperson for TV4 said the footage was pulled to avoid having the show deal with political issues.

“Only under the most hateful of interpretations can this be deemed offensive,” Isaac Bachman, Israel’s ambassador to Stockholm wrote in an open letter.

“Jerusalem – Israel’s heart. Here lives the present, side by side with the past. Israel is also one of the world’s most multicultural countries. It has an incredible mix of everything,” an announcer is heard saying in the show. “Wherever you are in Israel you are reminded of religions.”

The show was first aired last year.

Bachman also disputed the assertion of a TV4 spokesperson who said the channel pulled the program off the air to avoid dealing with political issues.

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Jerusalem’s significance to Israel, and Israelis and Jews’ attachment to it, Bachman wrote, is not a political issue.

Sweden is the only member of the European Union which recognizes the Palestinian Authority and Gaza as a state, which Stockholm calls Palestine.