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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Government television turns down United Jerusalem ad campaign

The government-funded Second Television Authority has turned down an ad campaign aimed at thwarting Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert's plans to divide Jerusalem by making a United Jerusalem a non-negotiable issue. The ad campaign - which is scheduled to run both in Israel and abroad - is called "If I forget thee - on behalf of Jerusalem's future" and is being chaired by venture capitalist Nir Barkat, who ran for Mayor of Jerusalem against ultra-Orthodox candidate (and current Mayor) Uri Lupolianski three years ago.
Its ads have run in all of Israel's major newspapers - but have been rejected for airing on Israel's Second Television and Radio Authority, a governmental body, because they are said to be "politically controversial." On Wednesday afternoon, the Authority instructed its regional radio stations to remove the ads that were already accepted and not to air them.

The "If I Forget Thee" people say that the Second Authority officials simply don't know Israeli law, and that if they don't change their mind, "we will take them to court."

"Jerusalem's status as a united and complete city," says Jerusalem City Councilman Nir Barkat, a leader of the Association, "is anchored in law. Clause 1 of Basic Law: Jerusalem states clearly, 'Jerusalem, united and complete, is the capital of Israel.' There is nothing political or controversial about this. It appears that the Second Authority has a misunderstanding of the law."

"By relating to us as a political body," Barkat says, "the Second Authority is simply making a grave mistake, bordering on slander. We are simply a group of public figures who love Jerusalem and who are working to strengthen Jerusalem in a totally apolitical framework."

"I do not understand why the Second Authority clerks think they have the authority to determine that Jerusalem's sovereignty is a controversial issue, thereby placing themselves above the Knesset that legislated differently," Barkat concludes. He is currently abroad, raising support and money for the initiative.
I wonder which of Olmert's 'coalition partners' is going to have the courage to stand up and oppose that law's being amended when Olmert tries to divide the city. Something tells me that none of them will. After all, they already paid their lip service to opposing government policy by voting against the budget once they were sure it wouldn't make a difference anyway.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger Ms. Missive said...

Is anything stopping the ad from running on non-government channels?

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Ms. Missive,

There are no non-government channels except on cable, and cable has far less exposure here than in the US or Europe.


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