Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hypocrites: The ASA and its ban on Israel advertising its holiest sites (it's worse than what you may have read elsewhere)

In one of the most bizarre anti-Israel moves yet in the UK, the Government's Advertising Standards Authority (the ASA) has banned the Israel Government Tourist Office from advertising sites in East Jersualem including, of course, the holiest sites in Judaism such as the Wailing Wall and Temple Mount. A good report and analysis of this story is here and also here.

Some people are talking about a Facebook campaign to protest this ruling and about writing to the ASA and their MPs etc. But what I discovered when looking at the ASA website was something truly unbelievable and which may be easier to get some action on than a whole reverse of the ban. Basically, I believe the ASA has clearly breached its own (i.e. the ASA) guidelines in the way it is promoting the story. It is guilty of the very behaviour it was set up to protect the British public from, namely misleading and offensive promotion. To see what I mean I have done a screen capture of one of the rolling headlines promoting "ASA in the media" from the ASA home page (click to enlarge):

As you can see the gloating banner for "ASA in the media" says:

"Israel under fire for advertising dream holidays ... to Palestine"

Although these headlines are feeds from external News agencies, it is still the ASA's responsibility to ensure that any such material conforms to its own guidelines (since they are using only those that promote the ASA itself). So what I have done is submit an advertising complaint to ASA using its own online procedure for complaining about adverts. That's OK because you can select the category which includes "Internet" then the subcategory "Promotions & Offers" (since the ASA is using the banner headlines to promote its own work). Once you have done that there is a text field where you fill in the details of your complaint. Here is what I submitted:

The claim saying "Israel under fire for advertising dream holidays ... to Palestine" is itself grossly misleading and should never have appeared on the ASA website.

This claim presumably relates to the ASA's decision to ban the Israel Government Tourist Office from advertising sites in Jersusalem such as the holiest site in the Jewish world (the Temple Mount and Wailing Wall). Notwithstanding the idiocy of that decision (which will be the subject of a separate complaint) the specific complaint here is that the headline implies that these sites in the old city of Jerusalem are not part of Israel but are part of 'Palestine'. There are a number of reasons why this is incorrect:

  1. Most obviously, there is no country called Palestine.
  2. Even prior to the creation of Israel in 1948, the old city of Jerusalem was never envisaged as being part of a future (Arab) state of Palestine (the UN plan was for the old city to be under 'international' jurisdiction).
  3. The old city has only ever been under Arab control during the period 1948-1967 when Jordan illegally annexed it after its army drove out or killed every single Jew. During that period not a single Jew was allowed into the old city to visit their holiest sites. Moreover the Jordanians destroyed every synagogue (numbering hundreds ) and all the Jewish cemetries.
  4. Irrespective of the legal claims to the city, the city itself and all access to it, is controlled completely by Israel (and has been for the last 43 years) and only Israel can therefore meaningfully advertise tourism to the old city.

For a compehensive summary of the necessary historical context of Jerusalem see:


Hillel W said...

Edgar: Great work.
--Hillel Wallick, Brooklyn

Anonymous said...


thanks for pointing out this LUDICROUS hypocrisy.

BenDetto said...

In my view, that "ad", as you call it, expresses more than what you rightfully have accused the ASA of:
it expresses the ardent dream to see Israel burn. It is a little, yet in the actual context, which has been created by themselves, very effective piece of anti-Semitic propaganda, disguised as "news".

BenDetto said...

Sorry, Edgar, for suggesting that you called the headline an "ad". Of course you didn't! Even if that headline is/was indeed an ad for more propaganda.
Thank you for inspiring me to write something, too, about the Wailing Wall kulturkampf "attaction" (sic, see link)!

Eli Dr. Blues Marcus said...

More power to you!

Monique Lester said...

so you have one more day before the IGTO has to appeal or drop it. Let's hope they appeal. Join us here for more info

Anonymous said...

Correction, most obviously, supposed that there is no country called Israel.. Israeli must realized that they are actually the refugee.. who should be thankful the palestinian bcoz they are allowed to live in Palestine... but the Israeli have played with the kindness of palestinian...this shows how arrogant and i hope that one day .. no more Israel state exist....