Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) cancelled an advertisement by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in London which attempted to promote a new book on northern Israel. The reason for the cancellation of the ad, which was first published in British newspapers in November 2011, was the fact that the map that was attached to it did not properly demarcate the 1967 borders in the Golan Heights and the West Bank.
The ASA received no less than 350 complaints against the advertisement, as it is the body that oversees advertisements in media outlets and billboards throughout the kingdom. The complaints came from pro-Palestinian organizations such as Friends of Al-Aqsa and Jews for Justice in Palestine.
According to a statement released by the ASA, the advertisement “must not appear again in its current form.” The ASA further stated that it informed the Israeli Tourism Minister that the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights are not part of the State of Israel “as it is recognized by the international community.”
The ASA stated that the borders on the map attached to the advertisement were not clear enough and that from a look at the map one can understand that the West Bank and Golan Heights are a part of Israel, rather than the “subject of international dispute.” Another reason for the cancellation was the fact that the internationally-recognized term “West Bank” was replaced on the map by the name “Judea and Samaria.” Thus, the ASA determined that the advertisement was misleading.
The ad appears on London’s Israeli Ministry of Tourism website without the map.
The cancellation was another step in an advertising war between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian activists in Britain. In April 2010, the ASA cancelled an advertisement by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism after it included a photo of the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem. According to a report in The Guardian, the ad was cancelled as it was misleading and did not make clear that the areas in the photo were in dispute.
In December 2011, the Palestinian representation in London was resigned to take down an advertisement published on its website in order to attract tourism to the Palestinian Authority. The ad included a map of the entirety of Israeli territory in the colors of the Palestinian flag and presented as a flag of Palestine. The ASA stated that the advertisement was misleading and instructed the representation to take it down.
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