Banning the Kotel
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Banning the Kotel

Banning the Kotel

Outrageous: UK advertising watchdog bans Western Wall from Israel tourism ads.

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As we in Israel gear up to celebrate our 62nd year of Independence, the last 43 of which have been led from an undivided capital city, the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) seems intent to burst our balloons and take down our strings of flags.

In response to a complaint about an Israeli Government Tourist Office-issued UK advertisement depicting the Western Wall (with bits of the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock in the background), the ASA has ruled that the ad is in breach of their clause 7.1, “Truthfulness,” since the locations pictured are not in Israel, but instead are located in East Jerusalem, which the ASA considers part of “the occupied territories of the West Bank.”

It is rare to encounter such an obvious example of misplaced intentions. Usually such anti-Israeli drivel gets the benefit of a slightly thicker veil. Set aside the obvious fact that travelers to Israel can, in reality, expect to visit the Western Wall and all of Jerusalem – both east and west (this was one of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism’s responses to the ruling). And set aside that the ASA, in turning a perfectly innocent advertisement into a political podium, has discredited its legitimacy as the UK's independent regulator of advertising and revealed its ulterior entity as a political unit. The argument on which their ruling is built is far from sound.

Jerusalem in its entirety has, since Israel liberated it in 1967, been the undivided capital of the Israeli sovereign state. Not to mention that the Western Wall, the remains of the Second Temple, at the center of the “problematic” image, is a site that has connected Jews to Jerusalem for the last 2,500+ years before that. It is the icon of Israel.

The ASA’s choice to politicize the ad’s image of Jerusalem – and to ban from the UK all future Israel tourism ads with similar images – raises another interesting question. Has the ASA opened similar cases against the UK’s World Travel Guide for including Jerusalem’s Old City and the Temple Mount in their Palestinian National Authority Sightseeing guide? What about the two largest Palestinian tourist websites, the Official Website for Tourism in Palestine and Visit Palestine, which both advertise Jerusalem on their front pages?

Unfortunately, we have come to expect this not-so-thinly-guised anti-Israel stuff from the UK, which over the last six years has given us academic boycotts and arrest warrants against Israeli officials including former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter. But, if what the ASA website says is true, that their authority is recognized by the Government, the courts, and other regulators such as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Office of Communications (Ofcom), then we can’t let this incident go uncontested.

Hopefully British common sense, justice, and truth will triumph over special interest complaints like the one filed by the single complainant to the ASA. But it’s up to us to do our part to make that happen.

A recent posting to the ASA site indicates that they have received a lot of complaints about the ruling, but have decided to stick to their guns. You can still appeal to them at: enquiries@asa.org.uk. And/or join the Facebook petition at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105445376164602&ref=mf

Published: April 18, 2010


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Visitor Comments: 45

(45) Lyzzh, November 29, 2010 10:24 AM

How about No

I am not Jewish nor an Israelite. I say NO!. This wall is part of Jerusalem as East Jerusalem is. Hashem in His word said he would put His name in Jerusalem. Jerusalem belongs to Israel, not anyone else. I feel compassion for all involved, I do not want to see anyone suffer, but the Palestinans need to understand once and for all that area does not belong to them. If there is a way that people can live in peace and harmony helping one another Great! I am all for this but. Israel belongs to the Jewish people. His Word is clear about His anger being stirred at anyone dividing His land. This is the one thing I wish my country USA would stay out of it. People need food, meds and help we should be there. But for us to say give them this land or that, NO! Jerusalem is not to be an international city. I am a born again christain. Yhsua is who He says he is. But as I christain I am neither entitled to, or deserving of imposing our will over Israel. I think people need to adopt this thinking. When I hear these things it makes me crazy. I did a study of Mt Moriah in the Bible. Abraham sacrifced there, David bought it! Solomon dedicated there. Ha Shem has His name there! NO WAY, NO WAY NO WAY.

(44) samir S. Halabi, September 2, 2010 6:10 PM

The Kottel will remain in israel's hands for eternity

I the international community so stupid as to believe that Israel would ever surrender east jerusalem including the Kottel (Al-Buraq. The last remaining wall of the 2nd temple) to the Palestinians to be their future capital of palestine. Jerusalem was never the capital of palestine. The Romans in order to humble the jews even more changed the name of jerusalem to Aero-Capitolina, Judea and israel was renamed as palesrina, after Philistia the philistines whom were conquered by the hebrews in biblical times, they were a greeco-island people who originated possibly from crete and lived on the coast as they were a seafaring people.

(43) Anonymous, August 30, 2010 10:33 PM

Keep in mind that Britain did in 1290, drive out of the country Jewish people. Bigotry once again rears its ugly head. It has always been there and it has just surfaced again. Further, Jerusalem is and will always be a huge part of Israel. If it were not, why is there a kotel that used to be Beis ha Mikdash? Ignorance is bliss and Britain is blissful again. I choose to not forget about these kinds of things and pray for a united Israel and the return of all Jews to Israel.

(42) Robert, April 23, 2010 4:56 AM

What would Sir Winston say

Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world." -- Winston Churchill

(41) SusanE, April 22, 2010 4:39 PM

The Iceland Volcano?

How did some Advertising banned in England become responsible for the Iceland volcano? OMG people, there are volcanos erupting all the time, and there are earthquakes shaking the world since time began. Mt. St. Helens was a killer too. Surely Iceland and England each have 10 good men. ---------- Matityahu #26 makes good points in his comment, and I think though that the western wall is also for Gentiles as was part of the great temple area designated for Gentiles. Truthfulness in advertising could be unerstood in this way too....The Vatican and St. Peters is another huge tourist attraction within Italy but separate from Italy, and is beautifully pictured in thousands of tourist advertisements, but never pictured with a synagogue in the background.

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