UPDATE: A State Department spokeswoman on Tuesday told TheBlaze that graphics on the website which is run by a private company “are not designed to represent U.S. policy toward any individual country or population.”
See the State Department’s response at the bottom of the story.
A website to which U.S. embassies refer prospective visitors seeking information on how to apply to for a U.S. visa omits the country of Israel, instead referring only to the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
While other countries on the website are named and given a flag icon, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem stand without a country designation.
Notably, Iran is designated as a country on the website along with its national flag in the same “Middle East” section where the Israeli cities can be found.
The differences are not limited to that one page. Compare the Jerusalem/Tel Aviv page with the page for applicants from France:
The U.S. government does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, like most other countries in the world, holds the position that the fate of Jerusalem should be decided in the context of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
However, the U.S. does consider Tel Aviv to be a part of Israel, and the U.S. embassy is located in the coastal city.
Note that while Cyprus was not given a flag icon, it was designated by the site as a country rather than using city names as in the case of Israel.
The pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon first noticed the oddity on the website, which serves applicants seeking immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the United States.
The site is presented as “the official U.S. Visa Service for foreign citizens travel to the United States” where applicants can get information on the visa application process and pay the application fees.
Though U.S. embassies refer applicants to the site and link to it on their websites, the site is outsourced to a private company, and is not run by the State Department, the Department confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
The State Department emailed TheBlaze a response to a request for comment, which read in part, “The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, outsources many of our non-governmental visa processing services, including general information, appointment scheduling, fee collection, and document delivery services.”
The statement went on to say that the website “is run by a private company on behalf of the U.S. Government” and that “graphics on these sites are not designed to represent U.S. policy toward any individual country or population, rather they are provided to visually guide customers toward relevant visa information.”
(H/T: Elder of Ziyon blog)