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ASA Adjudication on Israeli Government Tourist Office

Israeli Government Tourist Office

UK House
180 Oxford Street
London
W1D 1NN

Date:

14 April 2010

Media:

National press

Sector:

Holidays and travel

Number of complaints:

1

Complaint Ref:

114921

Ad

A press ad, for holidays in Israel, stated “YOU CAN TRAVEL THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF ISRAEL IN 6 HOURS Imagine what you can experience in 4 days … DAY 1 TEL AVIV & JAFFA DAY 2 JERUSALEM … VISIT … NOW FOR MORE ITINERARIES IN ISRAEL”. Each day of the itinerary featured an image of the destination.

Issue

The complainant, who said the photograph featured for Jerusalem was of East Jerusalem, challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that East Jerusalem was part of the state of Israel.

CAP Code (Edition 11)

Response

The State of Israel Ministry of Tourism (SIMT), replying on behalf of the Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO), said the ad provided basic, accurate information to a prospective UK traveller who wanted to know what to expect in Israel. They maintained that it was entirely accurate to assert that a visitor to Israel could visit Jerusalem as part of a short visit. Furthermore, they believed that, had the ad omitted a reference to a visit to the city of Jerusalem, it would have been incorrect and potentially misleading.

The SIMT maintained that Israel took responsibility to support the religious sites of all denominations, a commitment which also formed part of the obligations of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority signed in 1995. They pointed out that the agreement placed the upkeep of holy sites and the determination of tourist visiting hours under Israeli jurisdiction. The SIMT also maintained that the present legal status of Jerusalem had nothing to do with the point at issue. They said it 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.

Assessment

Upheld

The ASA noted the itinerary image of Jerusalem used in the ad featured the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, which were both in East Jerusalem, a part of the occupied territories of the West Bank. We noted the ad stated "YOU CAN TRAVEL THE ENTIRE LENGH 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. 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 ad breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

We told IGTO not to imply that places in the Occupied Territories were part of the State of Israel.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)

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