- “Jeopardy!” came under fire for rejecting the answer “Palestine” for a clue asking for the location of Jesus Christ’s birthplace, the Church of the Nativity.
- Another contestant was awarded $US200 when he rang in to answer “Israel,” though the site has been under Palestinian authority since 1995.
- Social media users demanded the show correct or apologise for rejecting Palestine as the correct answer.
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Game show Jeopardy! landed in controversy when it didn’t accept a contestant’s apparently correct answer about a historical site located in Palestine.
Contestant Katie Needle buzzed in for a $US200 question that asked for Jesus Christ’s place of birth, with the clue “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity” in the category “Where’s that Church?”
Needle answered, “What is Palestine?”
Host Alex Trebek quickly answered “no” before accepting fellow contestant Jack McGuire’s answer of What is Israel?”
In one question, the long-running game show delved into a longtime contentious debate over geopolitics in the Middle East, and sparked angry reactions from those watching online and at home.
The Church of Nativity is located in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, which is controlled by Palestinian authorities. The church is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular religious pilgrimage for Christians.
Trebek’s curt rejection of Needle’s answer sparked a wave of online responses that pointed to the established history behind the site, which does designate it under Palestinian authority.
— Abed A. Ayoub (@aayoub) January 11, 2020
Hey @Jeopardy – the Church of Nativity is in Bethlehem, which is located in the West Bank which – under international law – is occupied by Israel.
The occupied land is also known, under international law, as the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) January 11, 2020
Some Twitter users demanded a correction or an apology for the clue answer.
Unacceptable!! Bethlehem is in the Palestinian territories which Israel illegally occupies (Katie Needle got the correct answer & was robbed). @Jeopardy owes an apology for endorsing Israel's universally-condemned illegal takeover of Palestinian lands.pic.twitter.com/Ym99YziM4k
— Omar Baddar عمر بدّار (@OmarBaddar) January 11, 2020
Apparently @Jeopardy had a question today on The Church of the Nativity and when the contestant answered “Palestine,” it was deemed incorrect and the next contestant said “Israel” and it was counted as correct. @Jeopardy please explain.
— Deanna ديانا (@deannaothman) January 10, 2020
Some eagle-eyed users wrote online that it appeared the show quietly awarded Needle the $US200 during a commercial break. Despite initially losing out on the clue, Needle still ended up winning the game and rounding up her total two-day winnings to $US53,602.