NBC’s “Jeopardy!” is under fire for penalizing a contestant who answered, “What is Palestine?” for the location of the Church of Nativity, located in Bethlehem. The ancient city of Bethlehem is a religious epicenter for Judeo, Christian and Muslim faiths, considered to be the place of Jesus’ birth. NBC’s “Jeopardy!” has aired since before the Six-Day War of 1967 that gave way to the existing power struggle over Bethlehem, which has been occupied by Israel ever since. The show cited Palestine as the wrong answer and awarded $200 to a contestant who said the Church of Nativity is in Israel.

Now the show is apologizing, citing “human error” as the reason the show was aired. Still, the controversy has reached the Internet, reflecting back the controversy that has persisted for over 70 years now.

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In the “Where’s that church?” category, contestant Katie Needle buzzed in first to answer, “What is Palestine?”


A little background: The Church of the Nativity basilica is located in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, and remains the oldest place of worship for Christians. It was likely built between 330-333 A.D., commissioned by Constantine the Great. Today, the church is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which lists its location as Palestine.

In 1947, the United Nations created a “two-state solution” to take away Palestinian territory and give it to a new state, to be called Israel. Arab leaders and England opposed the solution but was widely supported by Zionist Jewish leaders. Palestinians didn’t give up generations of territory without a fight and war commenced. With the political support of the United Nations, Israel gained even more territories than initially set out in the UN plan. 

Katie was deducted $200 for her “incorrect” answer.


Host Alex Trebek curtly answered, “no.” Since the clip has been aired and shared on social media, many folks are outraged. “Jeopardy is deeply zionist. it shows itself almost daily in their clues and I’m conflicted often but this clip right here might be the end for me ????????‍♀️,” one social media user tweeted. Zionism is a nationalist movement that seeks to establish what Jewish holy text prescribes as a religious right to “the Holy land.” Today, in American politics, anti-Zionism is often conflated with anti-Semitism, but that’s an incorrect assumption. With the benefits of hindsight, many folks acknowledge that Europe attempted to correct the horrors of the Holocaust by taking land away from brown people with no power.

Today, 138 United Nations members have acknowledged the statehood of Palestine, and thereby its occupation by Israel. In 2018, President Trump announced he would be moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, acknowledging the deeply disputed territory as the capital of Israel. 

Contestant Jack McGuire won the point when he quickly answered, “What is Israel?”


Later, Twitter detectives noticed that Katie was credited back $200 after the commercial break, which corroborates NBC’s claim that they never intended to air what they eventually determined to be too controversial of a question. “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,” tweeted at the show. 

The trivia show producers released a statement: “In the process of taping this clue, “BUILT IN THE 300s A.D., THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY” we became aware that the clue was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic. In accordance with our rules and in the interest of fairness, we voided the clue and threw it out. We restored Katie’s and Jack’s scores to what they were prior to the clue. The outcome of the game was not affected. We then continued the game with this replacement clue. Unfortunately, through human error in post-production, the uncorrected version of the game was broadcast. We regret the error and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again.”

Zionists are refusing to acknowledge Bethlehem as Palestinian territory under international law.


There has been a growing movement in the international community of officially recognize Palestine and protect its sovereignty. The movement has sparked anger from some who claim it would harm Israel.

Many are less than satisfied with the show’s solution to the problem.


I’m cool with that, but it’s weird that we just didn’t have ‘The judges have decided to accept your answer of ‘Palestine’ as correct.’ I see that all the time. Instead, you made up an entirely new clue to try to avoid the situation, and then someone messed up and it aired anyway?” another Twitter user asked in response to “Jeopardy!”‘s statement.

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