The dishonesty of Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority
On 14/04/2010 the Advertising Standards Authority in Britain issued a brazenly dishonest and mendacious ruling following a complaint about an advertisement promoting tourism in Israel.
The advertisement in question had shown the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock (a mosque that Muslim occupiers of Jerusalem built on the Temple Mount – the holiest site in the Jewish religion). This prompted a complaint from some one of dubious probity who claimed falsely that the advertisement was misleading.
In response to this dishonest complaint, the ASA ruled that:
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.
Now it is certainly not in dispute that the ad implied that the eastern areas of Jerusalem were part of the State of Israel. But the ASA seems to think that it is empowered to decide whether or not this is the case. In fact the ASA has no such powers. To be fair to the ASA, they did in a later ruling held that “Travel Palestine” were equally wrong to imply that Jerusalem was part of “Palestine”. But they did so in different circumstances. In the case of “Travel Palestine” it was the words:
From the famous cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, and Gaza … Palestine lies between …
that were misleading. In the case of the Israel Government Tourist Office ad, the mendacious folk at the ASA ruled that a mere picture of the eastern areas of the Israeli city of Jerusalem was misleading.
Furthermore, in upholding the complaint against “Travel Palestine” the ASA disingenuously started off by disputing the (Israeli) complainant’s contention that Jerusalem was part of Israel (which it is) by saying:
We noted that the status of Jerusalem was in dispute but that both the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UN did not recognize it as part of Israel and that the UN characterized it as a ‘corpus separatum,’ to be governed by an international administration.
Only then did they add that
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.
So there we have it. In the case of the Jewish State, the ASA rejects their claim flatly, citing what the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UN do and do not recognize. In the case of a competing claim by the Palestinians, they do not state explicitly that the UN and UK reject their claim too. No instead, they soften the impact by saying that the view that it is “universally accepted” is “not the case.” Double standards as between the Jewish State and the Palestinians, motivated by their obvious antipathy to the Jewish State and its people. Would they have returned a similarly perverse and obviously erroneous ruling against any state other then the Jewish one? I think not.
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