Where Chutzpah Meets Prejudice

This is a guest post from Margie in Tel Aviv

I suppose that most people would include a visit to Jerusalem’s Old City and the Temple Mount as one of the main attractions of a trip to Israel. A picture such as this, showing the golden dome and the wall of the city evokes nostalgia from those who have made the trip and excites a desire to visit for those who have not been there.

It is therefore to be expected that a travel advertisement for Israel would include this unforgettable scene. Or is it?

This article in the Guardian made me do a double-take.

Why should an ad be banned for using a photo of so-called “East” Jerusalem? According to the article there is a busybody body called the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), a UK advertising regulator, which objected to this ad for including a picture of “East” Jerusalem, which the Guardian misleadingly considers to be part of the ”Palestinian occupied territories.”

According to the ASA, it adjudicated in favor of the complainant:

“We understood, however, that the status of the occupied territory of the West Bank was the subject of much international dispute, and because we considered that the ad implied that the part of East Jerusalem featured in the image was part of the state of Israel, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.

The ad breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness).”

This reads as if the dignitaries of the ASA, have appointed themselves international arbitrators, and have awarded territory to a country that is not mentioned and have furthermore decided that Judaism’s most holy places belong to someone else. It is the Guardian’s gloss on the ”judgement” that makes the unmentioned owner of the holy places into “Palestinian occupied territories”. They fall down themselves on CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness).

There are obviously no international lawyers on this august body since the judgement given is contrary to international law and to Israeli law.

Considering that there are no boundaries, that there is no agreement signed by Israel and anybody else that the Wall and the Temple Mount belong to anyone at all, there can be no legal objection to the use of these places as tourist attractions particularly seeing that the tour would be authorised to take tourists to the places shown. There is no duplicity. There is no cheating going on here. The customers are going to get what they pay for: a visit to these ancient places.

The Guardian apparently has no appreciation of how absurd it is for an advertising standards board to make such fateful pronouncements, nor is there a comment from the political wing of the newspaper explaining the true legal status of the area in question.

I do hope that the Guardian doesn’t test its value on the market by demanding payment for its ‘news’. I think they’d probably come quite a cropper.

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