U.K. Upholds Ban on 'Misleading' Israel Tourism Ad

British advertising watchdog says tourism poster implies that Palestinian territories were part of Israel.

A British advertising watchdog says a tourism poster cannot be displayed because it suggests the West Bank and Gaza Strip are part of Israel.

The Advertising Standards Authority on Wednesday upheld complaints about the ad produced by the Israeli Government Tourist Office and displayed in London subway stations.

It featured a map of the country that included the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the Golan Heights, seized by Israel in 1967.

The watchdog says the ad was misleading because it "implied that those territories were part of the state of Israel."

Israel's tourism ministry says the map was intended to depict areas in and around Israel, not send a political message.

The ASA upheld the ban despite the map's delineation of the Palestinian territories.

"We noted that the map showed border lines for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but we also noted that those border lines were faintly produced and difficult to distinguish on the map itself," the ASA said.

"We understood that the borders and status of the occupied territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights were the subject of much international dispute, and because we considered that the ad implied that those territories were part of the state of Israel, we concluded that the ad was misleading," according to the ASA's Web site.