ASA Adjudication on Israel Government Tourist Office
Israel Government Tourist Office t/a
180 Oxford Street
9 April 2008
Holidays and travel
Number of complaints:
A magazine ad, for a website promoting holidays in Israel. The images depicted well-known landmarks, including Qumran on the Dead Sea; text stated "YOU CAN TRAVEL THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF ISRAEL IN 6 HOURS imagine what you can experience in 7 days VISIT THINKISRAEL.COM NOW FOR MORE 4, 7 & 10 DAY ITINERARIES IN ISRAEL".
The complainant objected that the ad was misleading, because it gave the impression that Qumran was in the state of Israel when in fact it was in the occupied West Bank. She pointed out that the status of the occupied territories and the borders of Israel were the subject of considerable international controversy and that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against travel to the Occupied Territories.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
ThinkIsrael.com did not respond to our enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by ThinkIsrael.coms lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code clause 2.6 (Non-response). We reminded them of their obligations under the Code and told them to respond promptly in future.
We noted the ad promoted a website that made clear that tourists could visit Qumran as part of the itineraries offered. We considered, however, that the image of Qumran, in conjunction with the claim "YOU CAN TRAVEL THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF ISRAEL IN 6 HOURS ..." implied that Qumran was in the state of Israel. We noted Qumran was in the occupied West Bank, not the state of Israel, and considered that the ad was therefore misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.6 (Non-response) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).
We told ThinkIsrael.com to withdraw the ad. We asked CAP to advise its members of the problem with them.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)