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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

UK Tells Israeli Tourism Board, REMOVE THAT FALSE AD

On October 15, 2007, I posted this article, "

Letter Campaign to Protest LA Times And Others For Running Ad Inviting People to the Golan Heights, ISRAEL

I did see that ad again but not for a while. They are still running ads in the LA Times Sunday Magazine however, the latest inviting all to come to Israel to celebrate their 60th anniversary, which for those upon whose broken country this "celebration" commemorates, it is the Nakba, the catastrophe, when massive massacres of Palestinians took place, which led to fear and 750,000 Palestinian refugees fleeing. (not being allowed to return which IS their right under international law)

Now the Israeli Tourism association is at it again, running false advertisements. Only this time, the UK advertisement watchdog association has stepped in to remove the ad:

LONDON - 9 April 2008 - 120 words

Holy Land: UK watchdog asks Israel to withdraw misleading tourism ad

Today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered the Israeli Tourist Office to withdraw a advert implying that Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, is in Israel, when in fact it is in the Occupied West Bank.

North London resident Janet Green, said she was surprised when she saw the advert stating: 'You can travel the entire length of Israel in six hours' , with illustrations including an image of Qumran, in the 24 November edition of the Radio Times.

Janet said: "I thought 'that's not right'. I am sure Qumran is not in Israel. Why are they claiming it is. I checked and then I made my official complaint. I was very pleased to see that they have agreed with me.

"This really matters because the lives of Palestinians living in the West Bank are made difficult by the Israeli-run checkpoints and barriers that restrict their day-to-day lives and adversely affect their economy. Palestinians should profit from tourism within the West Bank and the creeping expansion of Israel should be rejected by the UK and the rest of the world."

The ASA upheld Ms Green's complaint and expressed concern that ThinkIsrael did not respond to their enquiries They said: "The ad breached Committee of Advertising Practice CAP Code clauses 2.8 (Non-response) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).

The full text of the ASA decision can be seen at:


Here is the full text of the action taken by the ASA

ASA Adjudications

Israel Government Tourist Office t/a
UK House
180 Oxford Street

Number of complaints: 1
Date:9 April 2008
Sector:Holidays and travel

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

Response 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 to withdraw the ad. We asked CAP to advise its members of the problem with them.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)

UPDATE: I received a comment in the comments for this blog which was GREAT! So, it got me to looking and HERE it is, On the ThinkIsrael website, a reference to...............the Golan, ISRAEL!! Just play with the website and you will find all sorts of FALSE statements! And if the newspaper in your hometown prints one of these false ads, WRITE A LETTER to that paper.

The Golan Heights

The Golan Heights, Israel’s mountainous northern region, is one of the most beautiful and most traveled parts of the country. There are wonderful scenic treasures alongside lovely nature reserves, historic and archeological sites and attractions for the whole family. Some people call this area the Israeli Texas, because of its size, while others see it as a land of plentiful water sources. The beauty of the Golan is so captivating that some visitors return here again and again to enjoy the sights.

The view from the Golan Heights becomes more and more magnificent as you gradually climb from the plains, at 300 meters above sea level in the south to 1,200 meters in the north. The eastern edge of this region is dotted with a chain of volcanic hills, while the south and west border on basalt cliffs that descend to the Jordan Valley Rift, Lake Kineret and the Yarmuk River.

Scattered throughout the Golan Heights are a wide variety of sites that offer a broad spectrum of activities for tourists and hikers throughout the year. In the winter both amateur and professional skiers flock to the top of the snow-covered Hermon Mountain to enjoy its excellent ski conditions, the snow that piles up on the ground and the pure white landscape. In the summer hikers can enjoy a swim in the many streams, in spring the plains are carpeted with multi-colored flowers and in autumn the pleasant weather attracts hikers to the many wooded trails.

The Golan Heights also offers tourists an authentic cowboy experience at a ranch with horses and cattle. Visitors can go out to the orchards and pick ripe cherries, raspberries and other seasonal fruits.
Bird lovers can watch the eagles nesting in Gamla and on the cliffs of the nature reserve, and see the remains of a Chalcolithic Era settlement (from about 5,500 years ago). There are also burial grounds from 4,000 years ago, a 2,000-year-old Jewish city a monastery with a Byzantine church (from 1,500 years ago) and much more.
The summit of Mount Bental offers a panoramic view of the whole area, while the Sa'ar, Zavitan and Meshushim streams gurgle and froth from the waterfalls along their routes through breathtaking canyons.

Odem Forest, in the northern Golan, is the home of a deer reserve, with many different species. Near here you can also see Rujum al-Hiri (Circle of Ghosts), a Megalithic structure about 5,000 years old that researchers believe was used for ritual purposes, burial or as an astronomy observatory.

The Golan Heights is the only part of Israel with basalt stones, originating from long ago volcanic eruptions. Here in the mountains the nights are chilly all year long.

Visitors to the Golan Heights can sleep in any of the hundreds of rural guest houses, tour the archeological sites (Banias, Gamla, Beit Tsida, ancient Katsrin) and the unique nature reserves, enjoy the boutique wineries, taste the delicacies at the wide variety of restaurants, experience Druze hospitality in one of the Druze villages in the northern Golan and much more.

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