Bat­tle of the maps takes a new turn

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE IS­RAEL Gov­ern­ment Tourist Of­fice has been cleared of breach­ing ad­ver­tis­ing stan­dards for a pro­mo­tion of Jerusalem in the lat­est bat­tle over tourism pub­lic­ity.

More than a half dozen com­plaints over ad­verts for Is­rael or the Pales­tinian Ter­ri­to­ries have been ad­ju­di­cated by the Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Au­thor­ity over the past three years.

Only a fort­night ago, the ASA up­held a com­plaint against the IGTO for us­ing “Judea and Sa­maria” to de­scribe the West Bank, and im­ply­ing that the Golan Heights were part of Is­rael.

In the lat­est rul­ing this week, the au­thor­ity con­sid­ered a protest from an un­named “cur­rent af­fairs jour­nal­ist” about a page on Jerusalem in a mag­a­zine in­sert, which showed a small im­age of the Church of the Holy Sepul­chre with some ma­te­rial about the Old Ciry be­low it..

The Old City is sit­u­ated within East Jerusalem, which was cap­tured in 1967, but it is not in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised as part of Is­rael.

In its de­fence, the IGTO ar­gued that tourists would not have up-to-date in­for­ma­tion on the Old City if it were not al­lowed to pub­lish it — and vis­i­tors to holy sites in the Old City would be in­ter­ested to know that the only ac­cess was by com­ing to Is­rael.

Two years ago the ASA caused fury within the Jewish com­mu­nity when

De­cem­ber 2011 – Com­plaint up­held against Pales­tinian Diplo­matic Mis­sion for in­clud­ing Is­rael in a map of Pales­tine in an on­line travel sec­tion

Novem­ber 2011 – Is­rael prop­erty firm rapped for ad show­ing Efrat in the West Bank as part of Is­rael

March 2011 - Com­plaint up­held against Travel Pales­tine ad­vert for in­clud­ing Jerusalem as part of Pales­tine

April 2010Com­plaint up­held against IGTO for ad show­ing Western Wall as part of Is­rael

May 2009 – IGTO re­moves un­der­ground posters show­ing Oc­cu­pied Ter­ri­to­ries within borders of Is­rael af­ter com­plaints to ASA it ruled against an IGTO ad which su sug­gested that th the Western Wall wa was in Is­rael. The AS ASA rul­ing, ef­fec­tiv tively, placed the wa wall in no-man’s lan land.

B But this time the ASA ad­ju­di­ca­tion foun found that the text in th the sec­tion of the inse in­sert deal­ing with the O Old City “made no re ref­er­ence to the state of Is­rael, nor did it sta state im­plic­itly or ex­plic ex­plic­itly that all the things to do, places to eat or places to visit were in one par­tic­u­lar state or an­other…

“Bec “Be­cause we did not con­sider that the in­sert im­plied that all the places to visit were in the state of Is­rael, we con­cluded that the ad was not mis­lead­ing.”

El­iz­a­beth Har­ris-sawczenko, public af­fairs and pol­icy di­rec­tor of the Board of Deputies, wel­comed the rul­ing and the decision.

She said: “It would be ridicu­lous for the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment not to be able to advertise its most pre­cious gem, Jerusalem, and any part of the Old City, par­tic­u­larly when Is­rael wel­comes all re­li­gions to ex­pe­ri­ence the re­li­gious di­ver­sity of its his­tor­i­cal sites.

“It is this kind of good sense that doesn’t al­ways seem to per­me­ate the re­sponses to those whose com­plaints are po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.”

But last month a rul­ing went against the IGTO af­ter the ASA re­ceived 350 com­plaints, in­clud­ing some from the Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign and Jews for Jus­tice for Pales­tine, against a news­pa­per ad­vert for a book on North­ern Is­rael.

Although the “area to which the book re­lated was high­lighted in green and the map showed bor­der lines for the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and the West Bank,” the ASA said, “we noted that those bor­der lines were faintly pro­duced and dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish on the map it­self.”

The ad­vert mis­lead­ingly im­plied “that those ter­ri­to­ries were part of the state of Is­rael”, the watch­dog said. It also re­ferred to his­tor­i­cal place names, such as Judea and Sa­maria which were not “legally recog­nised”.

The ad­vert was also cen­sured for in­clud­ing a claim that pre­his­toric skele­tons found in the Galilee showed that hu­man be­ings de­vel­oped the abil­ity to speak there.

On this, the ad­ver­tis­ing watch­dog said: “Whilst we ac­knowl­edged that the ad was not in­tended to be viewed as a schol­arly ar­ti­cle on the his­tory of hu­man speech, we were con­cerned that the claim pre­sented the in­for­ma­tion as uni­ver­sally ac­cepted.”

The lat­est page in the ad skir­mishes. Cir­cled is an im­age of the Church of the Holy Sepul­chre, while be­low there are de­tails about the Old City

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