General UK Media

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.

Categories: General UK Media

71 replies »

  1. @Haepennyworth: “Well, that is a problem: the Jewish quarter, western wall and the temple mount are to Jews, Judaism and the Jewish state of Israel what Makkah, Madinah and the Kaaba are to Muslims, Islam, the Hijaz and Saudi.”

    Indeed they are… But they’re also not within the internationally recognised borders of the State of Israel. The ASA’s decision is based on this geographical fact, not on Jewish/Hebrew history.

  2. Margie… I refer to the armistice treaty of 1949 between Israel, Egypt and Jordan. This is the only international treaty that has defined the State of Israel’s borders since 1948, and is the definition of Israel’s borders that is recognised by the UN.

    (NB: This agreement effectively superceded the original UNSCOP partition plan very much in Israel’s favour.)

  3. @Gerald Kreeve

    To some degree you are correct… but until ‘minor and mutual’ adjustments are agreed by all the relevant parties involved, the 1949 armistice line is the border recognised by the UN.

  4. There is a later ‘peace agreement’ drawn up between Israel and Jordan which does not include the Jewish Quarter.
    It is this agreement that defines the borders of Jordan.

  5. @Margie

    Perhaps you could specify the details of the agreement? When was it signed? (I’m guessing after the 1967 war, when Jordan was no longer even the occupying power in East Jerusalem, let alone a legally legitimate representative for the Palestinians). Does it say that the Jewish Quarter is specifically a part of Israel? (you don’t seem to suggest this is the case… leaving us with the same problem in relation to the ASA decision) Is it recognised by the UN?

  6. . The UN defines everything east of the ‘Green Line’ as being the ‘occupied Palestinian territories’. This includes the Old City of Jerusalem.
    Where is this definition?

  7. arkb….
    The 1949 armistice treaty did not define Israel’s borders, it was a ceasefire line.
    While it is true that Israel did desire to formalize the ceasefire lines as Final Borders and to enact a comprehensive peace treaty, the Arabs declined.

    The only real application of the internationally recognized status is of the sites in question is what passport or visa is required to visit them.
    What International border does one have to cross, how will Brits go to visit these sites?
    The reality is that Brits who choose to visit these sites will have to make application to Israel, will have to enter Israel, will be subject to the laws of Israel…..and there is not a single International authority that would state otherwise.

    Perhaps in the future it will be otherwise, but as of Now, and for the past 40 some odd years it is the reality of the situation.

  8. @ Haepenny worth

    How is you “Living in the UK, as an academic” of any relevance here???

    it is denying both the Jews and the second or largest, most Jewish community in the world (by whose virtue these items are in Jewish possession again), their Makkah, Madinah and Kaaba combined.

    For starters that doesn’t apply to secular Jews, does it?

    But more to the point: if people say the Temple Mount deny or dilute the connection to Judaism or Jewish history, then that would indeed by denying Jewish history.

    But the ASA has not done that. It made its decision based on the disputed POLITICAL status of the Old City.

    Where is that “tantamount to a denial of Jewish history”????

    And it discriminatory against Jews and, therefore, anti-Semitic.

    But it is NOT discriminatory against Jews!

    And in it, the UK is thereby a world leader.

    The advertising watchdog takes issue with the Israeli tourist board using images from a place that is almost universally not recognised as a part of Israel, and you conclude from this that the UK is “a world leader” in anti-Semitism???

    Absolutely preposterous! Some “academic”!!!!!

  9. As for ‘international law’ Pretzel take a listen to this – Jerusalem according to this respected international lawyer, belongs to the Israelis – or more specifically, the Jews.

  10. @ Margie

    While you’re loading your link …

    … may I just point out that I made no reference to international law.
    Besides: what does it matter that ONE lawyer claims that Jerusalem belongs to Israel??
    And if he says that by law it belongs to “the Jews”, then clearly he is hardly an objective voice on the matter.

  11. @pretzel, The importance and significance of the Kotel to the Jews, whether secular or religious is the same.

  12. @ smtx01

    I am aware that the Kotel is also of significance to secular Jews – but hardly that of the Kabaa to Muslims, as Haepenny worth claimed. But my main point was to challenge their accusation of anti-Semitism.

  13. I am aware that the Kotel is also of significance to secular Jews – but hardly that of the Kabaa to Muslims, as Haepenny worth claimed.

    Absurd. The two sites are entirely analogous.

  14. @ Toko LeMoko

    Absurd. The two sites are entirely analogous.

    Perhaps you overlooked that I was referring specifically to secular Jews. For many (as I said above) the Kotel is indeed of great cultural significance – but there’s no expectation on them to go on a pilgrimage to it once in their lifetime, nor do they pray towards it.

  15. @ Margie

    Is anybody here an international lawyer specialising in Jerusalem? I think not.

    Clearly opinion is divided on the matter – as it likewise is on e.g. Bosnia.

    Jerusalem is primarily a politicial issue – hence the ASA’s decision.

    Why have a go at me when I said at the top that I found that decision petty?

  16. Hi pretzelberg, Secular Jews.. are quite a varied bunch of people, they may not be Orthodox,but most Secular Jews also get circumised,have barmitzvah,Jewish weddings,celebrate and have Jewish Mourning rituals and funerals. Secular Jews fight in the IDF and were among those,who in 1967 liberated the western wall,and who gave their lives for that liberation,So the significance of the Kotel to the Jewish people is more than that of ‘cultural heritage’.

  17. @ smtx01

    I am all too well aware of that. I also know that the significance of the Kotel to many – but by no means all – secular Jews is massively greater (and that’s an understatement) than e.g. the ravens at the Tower of London for English people. Ah, bad example – but there really is ultimately no equivalent. That’s something that a lot of certain CiF posters are unwilling or unable to see, i.e. the affinity of diaspora Jews to Israel.

    But I still maintain that the ASA’s decision does not – as Haepenny claims – translate into anti-Semitism. And as for the UK being the “world leader” therein claim …

  18. nor do they pray towards it

    I’ve just noticed this bit of astounding ignorance from Pretzel; he knows not and knows not that he knows not.

    Jews do indeed make an effort to pray facing the Temple/Kotel. That was in fact the purpose of much of their beautiful “Mizrach” art throughout the ages – to mark the direction to pray.