Britain bans Israel travel ad


LONDON (JTA) — An advertisement for travel to Israel was banned in Britain as misleading for showing sites that included the Western Wall.

The ad, part of an Israeli Government Tourist Office campaign, said that a tourist could “travel the entire length of Israel in six hours,” and showed pictures of attractions such as the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock.

The British Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint claiming that the advertising, which appeared in publications and on posters, was misleading since the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock are located in eastern Jerusalem and are "part of the occupied territories."

The authority claimed that readers of the ad were likely to assume that all the places featured in the ad were within the State of Israel.

"The status of the occupied territory of the West Bank [is] 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 Advertising Standards Authority said.

The authority banned the ad, telling the Israeli Government Tourist Office not to imply that places in the occupied territories were part of the State of Israel.

The Tourism Ministry responded that the present legal status of Jerusalem was irrelevant unless there was an unnecessary attempt to "interpret the straightforward message of the ad in a manner that went beyond what consumers were likely to understand from the ad."

Another tourism ad was banned last year following letters of complaint about a map in the ad that included the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip as part of Israel.

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