Soccer game or tear gas? Palestinians put controversial ad to test
In Cellcom advert, IDF troops indulge in soccer game near security fence; reality proves rather different.
The row over a controversial advert for an Israeli mobile phone operator, which shows Israel Defense Forces soldiers playing soccer with Palestinians on both sides of the security barrier, continues.
In the Cellcom advert, IDF soldiers on patrol along the fence stop their jeep when it is hit by a soccer ball from the Palestinian side of the fence. The ball soon bounces back to the Israeli side, at which point the soldiers decide to hold an impromptu game with the Palestinians, cheered on by female soldiers.
The advert has been extensively criticized for making light of the Palestinian suffering inflicted by the West Bank barrier.
A video recently posted on YouTube has tried to reenact the game in reality, and found that the result could not be further removed from the situation on the ground: when the Palestinians kick the ball to the other side of the fence, what they get in return is a salvo of tear gas grenades.
Outraged Internet users have also vented their dismay on Twitter, blogs and other social networks. A Facebook group called "The new Cellcom advert makes me sick too" said on their home page: "You can go on forever about messages and media framings oozing with racism, but if you're here you think it's unnecessary. The unknown copywriter at McCann Erickson [the advertising firm behind the ad] displayed an unbelievably distasteful attitude, which does not deserve additional discussion. One thing the members of this group have in common is the shame we feel when an established Israeli company stands by such a repugnant advert, which brings us to call: remove it now!"