An Israeli government tourism advertisement, published as a newspaper brochure in the U.K., was banned by the British advertising watchdog for implying that the Old City of Jerusalem is a part of Israel. The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint that the ad, reportedly titled “Israel Land of Creation,” had attempted to mislead consumers.
“The brochure … was accompanied by a photograph of Jerusalem. The ad made further prominent references to the attractions of the Old City of Jerusalem,” the ASA ruling, delivered Wednesday, stated. “In that context, we considered that readers would regard the ad as presenting the Old City of Jerusalem as being part of Israel.”
The newspaper brochure reportedly showed a panorama of the walled Old City, accompanied with the text “Israel has it all.” It also included a photograph showing the Dome of the Rock, and buildings of Western Jerusalem in the background. The text on the image reportedly read: “Everyone falls for the Old City, with its narrow (and car-free) alleys, teeming pilgrims and bazaar-like buzz. Here you can see many of the religious sites, including the Western (Wailing) Wall and Stations of the Cross.”
Israel annexed the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967. However, the region is internationally recognized as part of the occupied Palestinian territories. The disputed status of the area has been a frequent source of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, as it contains places venerated by both Jews and Muslims.
Although the Israeli government argued that the brochure made a clear distinction between Israel and the occupied territories, the ASA ruled that the average consumer reading the ad would not necessarily be aware of the disputed status of the territory in question and would assume that the Old City is a part of Israel.
The ad could mislead consumers “into taking a transactional decision that they would otherwise not have taken,” ASA said, in the ruling.