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Saturday, April 12, 2008

UK forces Israel to remove Qumran picture from tourism brochure

In Londonistan, the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority has forced Israel's Ministry of Tourism to remove a picture of the Qumran Caves from a brochure encouraging tourism to Israel. Qumran - now the site of a national park in Israel - was where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. The Advertising Standards Authority has decided it's not in Israel.
The discovery of the ancient settlement of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls was thrilling to Christians and Jews alike. The Dead Sea Scrolls had sat undisturbed deep in the caves of the Judean Desert for millennia. From the scrolls and the more prosaic material artifacts found in the Qumran area, historians were able to patch together a clear picture of the way of life and manner of thought of the residents of Qumran. Although Qumran likely had no more than 200 inhabitants, it is hard to overestimate the importance of the ideas promulgated by these individuals.

There are a number of parallels between statements attributed to Jesus in the New Testament and chapters found in the scrolls. Paul cites passages written in Qumran in his Epistles and the author of the Gospel According to John expresses thoughts similar to those recorded in the scrolls. The concept of a uniform prayer service recited at set times during the day was an invention of the residents of Qumran that was adopted by the Sages after the destruction of the Second Temple.

The people of Qumram were apparently the Essenes, who were well known even before the discovery of the scrolls. In his description of Essenes and their radically isolationist world view, the historian Josephus Flavius felt compelled to remark that the members of the cult were of Jewish origin, lest his readers not realize this. The Essenes saw themselves as the chosen ones and believed that the Israelites should follow in their path or suffer the consequences. This approach was responsible for the Essenes being set apart from the Jews and their departure for the desert, although there were pockets of Essenes in the cities as well, for instance in Jerusalem.

According to histories written at the time, the residents of Qumran cast off the trivialities of their world, pooled their capital, were forbidden to marry, and refrained from having sexual relations. Women did, however, live in Qumran, if we can judge by the skeletons found in graves near the site.

Despite their pessimistic outlook, it appears that members of the cult prepared themselves for Armageddon. They anticipated being at the core of a social revolution and expected that they would be the elite of the Jewish people at the end of time. They loathed the gentiles and believed that non-Jews would meet their judgment.
And what this has to do with the British Advertising Standards Authority? They decided that the ad which included a picture of Qumran was 'misleading.'
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.
The CAP Code: 7.1;2.6

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.
Qumran is in the State of Israel. Aren't all you Brits glad that your tax schillings are going to such good use?

More pictures of the caves here. ThinkIsrael.com is a Ministry of Tourism web site.


At 5:27 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The caves of Qumran are on the western shores of the Dead Sea within pre-1967 Israel. Unless the Green Line has changed location, that's still within the State Of Israel.

Do the Brits know more about geography than Israelis? There's no deceptive advertising here. But its too much to acknowledge the Dead Seas scrolls site is a part of Jewish and modern Israeli history.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

Why didn't "ThinkIsrael" respond? Did they actually think that it would just blow over? What idiots.
Can someone find out why they didn't defend their choice of an Israeli site?

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Thud said...

I have just writte to ASA to complain and i will report their obviously biased act to various bodies..perhaps others should do.


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