Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Too Good To Be True

In a previous post I wrote about the Hasbro World Monopoly contest, pointing out with no small degree of pride that not only could Jerusalem be on the board, but be there with its proper designation: Jerusalem, Israel. And thanks to the worldwide publicity from many Israel advocates, the capital city of Israel has rocketed up to #5 in the voting as of this writing (that's the North Carolina Avenue spot for those of you playing at home). And there has got to be some serious internet buzz going on in Turkish, since Istanbul has pushed past Montreal into the #1 spot.

But a very strange turn of events has taken place in the past 24 hours. First Jerusalem--and only Jerusalem--lost its country designation. This writer called Hasbro Customer Relations this morning and was told that it's a computer glitch and was not a political decision by Hasbro, and that they were working to fix it. Interesting how this computer glitch only affected ONE city.

Subsequent events put the lie to that explanation, as now ALL the cities are missing their country designations. Someone more savvy at Hasbro obviously realized that eliminating references to only the Jewish state was too obvious, so in a slick recovery move they took all the country labels away and now act as if this was the plan all along. The BBC posted this today, referring to the 1947 partition plan in which Jerusalem was to be a corpus separatum:

When approached, Hasbro, the American manufacturers of Monopoly, promised that they would not second-guess the UN, should Jerusalem be included.
In an email to the BBC, they stated: "Due to space limitations no selected city's board space will have any descriptive text aside from said city's common name."

This reeks of cowardice, presumably the result of Islamic "outrage". What comes next, changing the name of the city to "al-Quds"?

Comments may be directed to Hasbro at 888-836-7025 or via webform at

1 comment:

  1. They have now admitted that this was due to Palestinian pressure. It pretty much played out as predicted.

    Last update - 10:02 22/02/2008

    Monopoly voting site drops Israel's name after Jerusalem dispute

    By The Associated Press

    Tags: Palestinians, Monopoly

    Monopoly, the iconic game of capitalism, has been drawn into the dispute over Jerusalem. Monopoly manufacturer Hasbro Inc. issued an apology Thursday after an employee, responding to complaints from pro-Palestinian groups, eliminated the word Israel after the name of the capital 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, Rhode Island-based company is asking people to vote at the Monopoly Web site on which cities will be included in the new edition. Until Tuesday, every city on the site listed a country, including Paris, France; Cairo, Egypt 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 Six-Day 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 Web site to make it easier to vote.

    Voting in the contest ends February 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.