Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Before you complain to Verizon . . .

Some Jewish websites are reporting that according to Verizon Wireless "there is no Israel" or implying that there must be some nefarious intent behind Verizon's listing of "Palestine" as a place where one can SMS, but not Israel. Also, when you click on the map of Asia, and then the dot for "Palestine," the PA flag pops up, completely covering the holy land.

I was glad to see that some of the commenters at the Jewlicious link had their heads on straight about whether there is really any reason to complain, and that if one does complain it's best to do it POLITELY.

First, the menu of countries on the Verizon list obviously is not meant to include every country (or political entity, if you prefer) that exists or which they believe "should" exist. The list doesn't include Austria, either, and I'm sure Verizon has no issues with Austria. Also missing: Luxembourg. Saudi Arabia. And probably around 50 other perfectly "undisputed" countries around the world.

It just so happens that Verizon has a contract with a Palestinian cellular carrier, and not with an Israeli one. Who knows why? Perhaps they haven't gotten around to it. Perhaps they are in negotiations. Perhaps the Israeli terms were too high. Perhaps Israeli cellular companies are in cahoots with Austria.

And regarding the map and the flag: All the flags, of all the "partnering" countries (political entitities, whatever), are the same size. It's not Verizon's fault that Israel is so small that the flag graphic swallowed it up.

However, it it's an insensitivity that I hope Verizon will correct, once it is pointed out to them. Obviously, we Jews and Israelis are very, very sensitive about the fact that there are a bajillion-million people out there who would like to drive our little Jewish state into the sea. And it's only 60 years after the Holocaust, and so we've got every reason to have the heeby-jeebies about people who want to destroy us. Our paranoia is justified, you know? (I'm not really being facetious, here. The Arabs do want to destroy us.) And so we are very very scared of the dark. And along comes hapless Verizon and, thinking they were just saving electricity, they turn the lights out. Time to write to them and ask them to please leave a night-light on.

If you want, go ahead and ask them if they could please write "Palestinian Authority" rather than "Palestine," and make the flag pop up a little higher or a little to the right so that it is over Lebanon or Jordan, rather than Israel. I tend to think that once they realize that they've stepped into a landmine, they'll do what they can to be more accomodating to our feelings. As they should. (And then the Palestinian bloggers will have a field day talking about how hysterical and jumpy we are. And in this case they'd be right.)

Anyhow, I look forward to hearing how Verizon handles all the complaints they are about to get from angry, angry Jews.

You know what this reminds me of? I used to have a graphic on my blog from weather.com. It said "the weather in Jerusalem is . . . " and then gave the temperature, humidity, etc. Underneath that it said "as reported from Queen Alia Airport, Amman, Jordan." This annoyed me because Amman isn't much closer to Jerusalem (if at all) than is Tel Aviv, which is almost always noticably warmer than Jerusalem. Due to all the mountains and other geophysical factors here, Jerusalem's weather is very different from the weather in other nearby areas; so why should I believe that if it is 45 degrees Fahrenheit in Amman that it is the same in Jerusalem? I didn't think anything of it politically. I just felt it can't be so scientifically accurate.

But one of my readers left a comment to the effect of: "Have you noticed that the weather report on your site is anti-Semitic?"

What an idiot! The weather does not see political borders. I pointed this out to him, asking him whether he thinks that a storm front over Jordan would discriminate over Jerusalem due its being in a Jewish state.

It's not always about us, people.

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