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Thursday, April 15, 2010

UK Bans Pictures of Western Wall in Israeli Tourism Ads

Anti-Semitism is sweeping across Europe and is quite obvious in the UK. The growing Islamic population in western Europe is effecting the political stance of most countries in that region. Recently the UK banned images of the Western Wall which is near the Dome of the Rock. The Western Wall is a holy Jewish site and the Dome of the Rock is a holy Islamic site, both are in East Jerusalem which is claimed by the Arabs. To an outsider this dispute may seem insignificant and not worthy of concern, but is it just one of the many signs of the growing influence of Arabs in western Europe along with the rise of a new anti-Semitism in that region. We see this in Europe and also on America college campuses where the new left is gaining strength. The Obama administration is also reflecting this new trend, perhaps due to Barack's Muslim roots and his obvious dislike of the Jewish state. Europe seems to be falling backward in time and the growing anti-Semitism reminds one of the period when the Swastika ruled in that part of the world. And here in America, what is most alarming is that the left seems to be taking up that old hated banner of the Nazi with their anti-Jewish rhetoric and their love affair with Muslim groups who hate Israel. I found the link to this article at the Astute Blogger which has an excellent post on this story.

Images of the Western Wall are no longer allowed in Israeli tourism ads in the UK, after regulators deemed it misleading, as it is in the “occupied territories of the West Bank.”

The Advertising Standard Agency ruled on Wednesday following a complaint that a tourism ad containing a picture of the Western Wall with the Dome of the Rock in the background misleadingly implied that east Jerusalem was part of the State of Israel, resulting in false advertising.

“We noted the ad stated, ‘You can travel the entire length of Israel in 6 hours. Imagine what you can experience in 4 days,” and, “Visit... now for more itineraries in Israel,” and considered that readers were likely to understand that the places featured in the itinerary were all within the State of Israel,” the Advertising Standard Agency said in its ruling.

“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 ruling continued.

The Israel Government Tourist Office advertisement was held to have breached the Advertising Standard Agency’s guidelines on truthfulness.

The Tourism Ministry wrote in response that “the ad provided basic, accurate information to a prospective UK traveler who wanted to know what to expect in Israel.

It also said that Israel accepted responsibility to support the religious sites of all denominations, a commitment also incorporated in an agreement with the Palestinian Authority signed in 1995. The ministry pointed out that the agreement placed the upkeep of holy sites and the determination of tourist visiting-hours under Israeli jurisdiction.

The ministry also said that the present legal status of Jerusalem had nothing to do with the point at issue. It said this was “only of relevance if there was an attempt to interpret the straightforward message of the ad in a manner that went beyond what consumers were likely to understand from the ad.”

Despite this, the Advertising Standard Agency concluded that the ad was misleading.

“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told IGTO [the Israel Government Tourist Office] not to imply that places in the occupied territories were part of the State of Israel,” the ruling concluded.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said that to prohibit a view of east Jerusalem in a tourism ad was “absurd.”

“To proscribe even a view of east Jerusalem is as absurd as it is offensive. Thousands of tourists and pilgrims pass through Israel every year to areas where their very presence helps the Palestinian economy, and like the flawed argument for boycotts, this objection seems to be being advanced by those who care more about gestures and less about the livelihoods of ordinary people in the region,” the Board’s chief executive Jon Benjamin said.

Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov rejected the Advertising Standard Agency’s decision.

“These statements join the list of repeated attempts by anti-Israel organizations to discredit Israel’s standing using absurd claims. The ministry will continue to promote marketing and advertising campaigns that make use of historic and religious sites in order to increase tourism to Israel. Jerusalem and its many religious and historic sites is Israel’s central tourism anchor that draws millions of tourists of all religions every year, regardless of political views,” he said.

“The Tourism Ministry brands Israel as the Holy Land with Jerusalem at its heart, which beyond being the City of Peace, is the united capital of Israel,” Meseznikov said. “It is obvious to any thinking person that the Western Wall is one of Israel’s inalienable assets and as such it will continue to appear in the ministry’s campaigns. Just as nobody would dare interfere in the discretion of British state authorities on the matter of marketing Britain, the attempt to do so to Israel is illegitimate and nonnegotiable.”

In The Independent newspaper’s story on Wednesday, the reporter attached no significance to the Western Wall, describing only the importance of the Dome of the Rock. read full story at Jerusalem Post
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