UK Bans Israel Tourism Ad for Implying Jerusalem Is Part of the Country

AP Photo/Bernat Armangu
AP Photo/Bernat Armangu
Washington, D.C.

Britain has banned an Israeli government tourism advertisement for implying that the Old City of Jerusalem is part of Israel, AFP reports.

The newspaper ad shows a picture of the walls outside of the Old City of Jerusalem with the caption, “Israel has it all.” The text on the image read, “Everyone falls for the Old City, with its narrow (and car-free) alleys, teeming pilgrims and bazaar-like buzz.”

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rejected the ad on the grounds that it was misleading. The ASA said that the title of the advertisement, “Israel Land of Creation,” and its references to the historical sites in the Old City was “misleading” in insinuating that the lands were part of recognized Israel.

The ASA explained in a statement: “We understood that the status of the territories in question was the subject of much international dispute. 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.”

However, Israel’s Government Tourist Office denied that the tourism campaign ever implied that the Old City was entirely part of the modern State of Israel.

Today’s Old City is divided into four quarters: the Jewish Quarter, Christian Quarter, Muslim Quarter, and Armenian Quarter. During the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War in 1967, in which Arab forces failed in their attempt to annihilate the early Jewish state and its people, Israeli troops successfully retook possession of the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian forces.

The ASA ruling added, “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 traveling to Israel.”