Watchdog rules over Jewish/Palestinian tourism spat

Watchdog rules over Jewish/Palestinian tourism spat

The UK’s advertising watchdog has stepped in to settle a dispute between a British Jewish organisation and the tourist board of Palestine.

The Advertising Standards Authority said: “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.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews lodged a complaint with the ASA over a magazine advert for Travel Palestine.

The ad stated: “Palestine is a land rich in history with a tradition of hospitality. From the famous cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, and Gaza, the Palestinian people welcome you to this Holy Land ... Starting from the earliest religious pilgrims, the country has seen famous visitors come and go. Palestine lies between the Mediterranean Coast and the Jordan River ... It takes a visit to this wonderful country to appreciate the most palpable facet of its culture: the warmth and humor [sic] of the Palestinian people. Join a long list of visitors over the centuries who have seen the beauty of this land”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews claimed the ad was misleading because it stated that Palestine was a recognised country, suggested the whole of the area described as situated “between the Mediterranean Coast and the Jordan River” was Palestinian-administered territory, suggested Jerusalem was part of Palestinian-administered territory when it was part of Israel.

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The ASA did not uphold the complaint on the first two counts, but did agree with the third.

In its summary, it said: “We noted that the status of Jerusalem was in dispute but that both the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UN did not recognise it as part of Israel and that the UN characterised it as a “corpus separatum,” to be governed by an international administration.

“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.”

It ordered that the ad must not appear again in its current form.