UK Watchdog rules against “Travel Palestine” Ad

This is cross posted by Simon Plosker at Backspin, the blog of Honest Reporting

Back in January 2011, Honest Reporting addressed an advert published by the Palestine Tourism Ministry that appeared in the UK edition of National Geographic magazine which:

  • Implied that Palestine is a country
  • Claimed that Jerusalem is part of Palestine
  • Stated that “Palestine lies between the Mediterranean coast and the Jordan River”.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has finally issued its ruling following many complaints. While the ASA did not agree with all of the issues raised by us and a number of other organizations, it did, however, rule the advert to be misleading on the following grounds:

We considered, however, that the line “From the famous cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, and Gaza … Palestine lies between …” suggested that the situation and recognition of those cities as being part of Palestine was universally accepted. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

The ASA concluded:

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Travel Palestine to ensure their ads did not suggest that it was universally accepted that locations were part of Palestine when that was not the case.

So it seems that the ASA is consistent in its view that while Jerusalem may not be part of Palestine, it is also not part of Israel. Unsurprising considering that the ASA previously, in an appalling decision, forced the Israel Government Tourist Office to withdraw an ad that featured Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, effectively banning Israel from including the Western Wall in any tourism advertising.

Nonetheless, in the face of the increasing delegitimization campaign against Israel that has taken hold in the UK, the ASA’s latest adjudication will go down as a small victory in a much wider struggle.

4 replies »

  1. What’s that I hear? Weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth/gums because now the cat is out of the bag, that Palestine doesn’t exist and won’t until there can be a trustworthy peace with them.

  2. Ridiculous. Let both the Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem for promotional purposes. It’s only the tourist industry FFS.

    But complaining about an implication that Palestine is a country just seems spiteful.

  3. The ASA made this decision through gritted teeth.

    Even though the ad explicitly stated Palestine is a country (“It takes a visit to this wonderful country to appreciate the most palpable facet of its culture”) the ASA did not rule against the ad on that ground.

    Nor did they find the phrase “Palestine lies between the Mediterranean coast and the Jordan River” grounds for a ban.

    Still, this victory is to be welcomed, and it can be turned into good publicity for Israel.