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Friday, May 22, 2009

Fear of Islam strikes Israeli tourism from the UK (again); UPDATE: Syrian embassy behind complaints

Just a reminder to all of you that I am in Boston right now, and therefore I may post things from Boston after the Sabbath starts in Israel. As you all know, I do not post on the Sabbath or Jewish holidays wherever I am.

The Jewish Chronicle reports that the poster at top left, which promotes Israeli tourism in the UK, is to be pulled from some 150 underground stations in London because it 'shows the 'West Bank' as being part of Israel' (Hat Tip: NY Nana)
The Israel Government Tourist Office has decided to remove a series of posters at London Underground stations after a complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority about a map featured in the poster which shows the Occupied Territories incorporated in Israel.

As reported in this week’s JC, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign complained to the ASA about the posters, which are part of the IGTO’s Think.Israel campaign.

The ASA is to investigate the complaint, and expects to have an adjudication within the next few weeks.

Both the PSC and Dan Judelson of Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJP) also wrote to complain to CBF Outdoor, which is responsible for the poster sites, and to Transport for London (TfL) to complain about the poster.

However, before any decision could be made by CBF or TfL, the IGTO decided to pull the poster from the sites.

The poster was due to go up on 150 sites across the London Underground, and that just 108 have so far gone up. The IGTO is investigating the possibility of producing a new poster – without the contentious map – to replace the existing one, and using the new poster on the 42 sites where the poster has not yet been displayed.

In March 2007, a similar complaint was made to the ASA after an IGTO advertisement in the Radio Times used a map of Israel that showed Qumran, which is in the West Bank . At the time, the ASA’s adjudication included a “concern” that the IGTO failed to respond to the complaint.
God forbid it should even be hinted to the British public that the heart and soul of the Jewish homeland is a part of the Jewish state.


For the sake of consistency, I wonder if the ASA would object to the picture at right (from a 'Palestinian' 12th grade textbook cover) if it showed up on a 'Palestinian' advertisement. The UN certainly would not object.

And then there's this reaction from Israel's Ministry of Tourism:
Pini Shani, deputy director of overseas marketing at Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in Jerusalem , believes the issue has been unnecessarily politicised. “We don’t see it as a big mistake. We could have made the map two colours, showing Israel and the Occupied Territories in different shades, but this is a poster designed to encourage tourists to visit Israel . If they want to visit the West Bank as well, we would be delighted, and we hope the citizens of the West Bank benefit.”
My how politically correct we are today.

By the way, they were wrong about Qumran. It's not in the 'West Bank' at all. It's within the 1949 armistice lines.


Here's more from JPost. Apparently the Syrian embassy was behind a lot of the complaints:
Britain's Advertising Standards Authority received more than 300 complaints about the ad, a promotion for the Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat, according to the agency's spokesman Matt Wilson.

The Syrian Embassy and pro-Palestinian groups complained about it because the featured map appeared to show the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war - the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights - within the borders of the Jewish state, according to the Israeli Tourism Ministry and the British standards authority.
I guess they're jealous because there isn't a whole lot of tourism to Syria. I wonder why. Heh.


At 8:47 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


Thanks for the hat tip. I felt like 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' when I read that article.

The Israel Government Tourist Office surrendered before a shot was fired, it seems.

Thanks for the additional information re Syria.

What would Golda Meir ZT"L say?

At 9:03 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

t seems like Israel's Tourism Ministry wants to help the Arabs to falsify history. Is that any way to advance peace?

Oy vey!


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