UK Ad Agency forbids false claim that all Jerusalem is Israel's


March 4, 2015
Sarah Benton

The ASA adjudication follows the story by Ma’an news.


The old city, Jerusalem (not the photo used in the ad)

UK bans ad for implying Old Jerusalem part of Israel

By AFP / Ma’an news
February 04, 2015

The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque, both in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, are seen in the walled Old City of Jerusalem on April 16, 2014. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

LONDON — Britain’s advertising watchdog banned an Israeli government tourism advert for suggesting that the Old City of Jerusalem was part of Israel on Wednesday.

The newspaper brochure showed a panorama of the walled Old City with the text “Israel has it all,” and was ruled misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority, which said it implied the UNESCO World Heritage Site was part of Israel.

The international community regards the Old City as occupied Palestinian territory, while Israel has claimed it as part of its capital.

The dispute is an emotional subject as the area contains places precious to Christians, Jews and Muslims, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Western Wall, and Al-Asqa Mosque.

Following a complaint, the ASA ruled the title of the brochure “Israel Land of Creation” and references to Old City attractions was misleading and banned the advert from appearing again in its current form.

“We understood that the status of the territories in question was the subject of much international dispute,” the watchdog said.

“We therefore considered the presentation of the ad would mislead consumers into believing that the Old City of Jerusalem was part of Israel and into taking a transactional decision that they would otherwise not have taken.”

The brochure included a photograph showing the golden Old City landmark and Muslim shrine the Dome of the Rock, with the modern buildings of Western Jerusalem in the background.

Text on the image read: “Everyone falls for the Old City, with its narrow (and car-free) alleys, teeming pilgrims and bazaar-like buzz.”

In its defense, the Israeli Government Tourist Office denied that the brochure implied East Jerusalem and its Old City were part of the state of Israel.

“They said the ad did not seek to make a political statement and believed it would be inappropriate for it to do so,” the ASA ruling stated.

“Rather, they believed the leaflet provided practical information that made clear that visitors to the places referred to in the ad, such as the Old City of Jerusalem, could only be visited via traveling to Israel.”


ASA Adjudication on Israeli Government Tourist Office

Israeli Government Tourist Office
UK House
180 Oxford Street
London
W1D 1NN

Date: 4 March 2015
Media: National press
Sector: Non-commercial

Number of complaints: 1
Complaint Ref: A14-282466

Ad

A brochure in a national newspaper, by the Israeli Government Tourist Office, was titled “Israel Land of Creation”. Text on the fourth page of the brochure stated “TOP 20 enjoy THE RIDE Full of flavour, colour, history and a whole lot of fun, Israel has it all … “. Further text stated “1 OLD CITY, JERUSALEM BY DAY Everyone falls for the Old City, with its narrow (and car-free) alleys, teeming pilgrims and bazaar-like buzz. Here you can see many of the religious sites, including the Western (Wailing) Wall and Stations of the Cross. Top it all off with a falafel for lunch in one of the many piazzas”. The ad featured a photograph with the caption ” … Dramatic sky over Jerusalem … “.

Issue

The complainant, who understood the Old City of Jerusalem was in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied the Old City of Jerusalem was internationally recognised as part of Israel.

CAP Code (Edition 12)
3.13.3

Response

The Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO) said the brochure made clear a distinction between Israel and the Occupied Territories and believed the ad needed to be considered in that context. They said the reference to the Old City of Jerusalem was accompanied by a photograph of Jerusalem that included the Dome of the Rock. They believed the accompanying text did not imply that East Jerusalem and the Old City of Jerusalem formed part of the State of Israel.

IGTO said the issue surrounding sovereignty over Jerusalem was widely known to the British public. They said the ad did not seek to make a political statement and believed it would be inappropriate for it to do so. Rather, they believed the leaflet provided practical information that made clear that visitors to the places referred to in the ad, such as the Old City of Jerusalem, could only be visited via travelling to Israel.

Assessment

Upheld

The ASA noted the brochure was aimed at encouraging people to visit the destinations and cultural attractions it highlighted. The brochure was titled “Israel Land of Creation” and text on the fourth page stated “Israel has it all” and was accompanied by a photograph of Jerusalem. The ad made further prominent references to the attractions of the Old City of Jerusalem. In that context, we considered that readers would regard the ad as presenting the Old City of Jerusalem as being part of Israel. However, we understood that the status of the territories in question was the subject of much international dispute.

In assessing whether ads are misleading under the Code, we are required to consider whether they are likely to cause consumers to take a transactional decision that they would not otherwise have taken. The Code sets out that a transactional decision is “… any decision taken by a consumer, whether it is to act or not act, about whether, how and on what terms to buy, pay in whole or in part for, retain or dispose of a product or whether, how and on what terms to exercise a contractual right in relation to a product”. In this case, we considered the average consumer reading the ad would not necessarily be aware of the status of the territory in question and the surrounding dispute. We considered the existence of such a dispute and the impact this had on travellers would have an effect on consumers’ decisions about whether or not to take action on seeing the ad. We therefore considered the presentation of the ad would mislead consumers into believing that the Old City of Jerusalem was part of Israel and into taking a transactional decision that they would otherwise not have taken.

On that basis, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).

Action
The ad must not appear again in its current form.

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