Over the last several years, the Jewish Voice has been fielding complaints from Israel bound tourists concerning the reprehensible message they receive on their cell phones once they arrive in the Holy Land. They are welcomed to a fictitious country known as “Palestine” which as any rational person can imagine would serve to confuse and frighten the average traveler. For the sake of clarity, it must be noted that the “Palestine” reference on cell phone text messages is only applicable if you have made the unfortunate selection of Verizon as your carrier and have signed up with their overseas phone plan. According to the most recent study of the wireless market by the research firm Strategy Analytics, Verizon was America’s largest cell carrier at the end of 2016.
Back in April of this year, JNS.org reported that a traveler to Israel named Mark Rosenblatt expressed profound dismay received a text message from his cell phone carrier, Verizon, reading, “Welcome to Palestine.” Rosenblatt, a high-tech consultant from Edgemont, N.Y said “I did a double take. I was shocked that an American company was falling into some BDS rhetoric.” He had traveled to Israel to see his daughter, who is studying in a master’s degree program at Bar-Ilan University.
Also shocked by Verizon’s Israel-Palestine misnomer was David Ben Hooren, the publisher of the Jewish Voice. During a recent trip to Israel, the staid publisher was outraged to see the “Welcome to Palestine” message on his cell phone that greeted him at Ben Gurion airport.
“This egregious message to Verizon customers visiting Israel is steeped in political overtones. Verizon should conduct an immediate internal investigation to discover the source of this offensive messaging and establish hard and fast rules and regulations that will be prevent this in the future, “ he said.
Okay. And now for Verizon’s lame response to the avalanche of complaints that they have received from very dissatisfied cell phone subscribers who just happen to be traveling to Israel.
Verizon spokesman Scott Charlston told JNS.org in a statement that Ben Gurion Airport “is close to the Israeli border [with the West Bank] and there are cell sites and wireless signals from different providers on both sides. In general, customers living in or visiting border areas occasionally receive a wireless signal from a cross-border provider. When powering up or leaving airplane mode, the phone connects to the strongest signal available at the time.”
Hmmm… Now that is an odd response. When has Ben Gurion Airport ever been described as a transportation hub that is “close to the Israeli border with the West Bank”? And more to the point, why does Verizon even proffer recognition to a country that does not exist? And why does this media giant find it difficult to rectify their egregious error and make travelers of all stripes aware that when they arrive at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, that they are “INDEED” arriving in Israel and most definitely not a country called “Palestine”?
While use of the word “Palestine” is bandied about in that cesspool of vile hate and raw anti-Semitism better known as the United Nations as well as on our nation’s left leaning, anti-Israel college campuses, it should be noted that this spurious use of a manufactured name is not in any way an imprimatur of the truth.