Why does Palestinian flag emoji appear when searching ‘Jerusalem’?

Outrage after predictive keyboard shows Palestinian flag when typing capital of Israel


"Rogue programmers" have been accused of tampering with the predictive text function on Apple's iOS 17.4.1 update which prompts a Palestinian flag when Jersualam is typed out

Fury has erupted after users discovered that an emoji of the Palestinian flag appears when some type Jerusalem into their emoji search.

Users of Google’s Android devices and Apple's iPhones reported the issue, which came to light this week after the iPhone’s latest software update, iOS 17.4.1.

The predictive text function allows users to select emojis that match the word they have typed. Most other capital cities do not prompt the keyboard to display national flags. The Palestinian flag appears in the English UK version of the latest keyboard update when Jerusalem is typed but allegedly is not visible on several other keyboards, including English US.

Countdown presenter Rachel Riley directed her concerns to Apple and its CEO Tim Cook in a post on X/Twitter on Wednesday morning that pointed out how national flags do not appear for a list of other capital cities.

"I’ve just upgraded my software to version iOS 17.4.1, and now, when I type the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, I’m offered the Palestinian flag emoji. This didn’t occur on my phone immediately before this update.

“Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of capital cities that do not offer their nation’s flags, let alone the wrong one.”

Riley went on, “Double standards with respect to Israel is a form of antisemitism, which is itself a form of racism against Jewish people.”

She asked Apple to explain “whether this is an intentional act by your company, or whether you have no control over rogue programmers.”

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and home to its government institutions and several embassies including the United States, but the Palestinian statehood movement also sees the city as its future seat of power.

The JC has contacted Apple and Google for comment.

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