Not only have some tourists been stranded by a volcanic ash cloud in recent days but their trauma has been multiplied by the revelation that they weren’t even holidaying in Israel, their destination of choice. According to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, an Israeli tourism ad breached rules on truthfulness due to the misleading implication that sites such as the Western Wall could actually be in Israel.
How could so many have been misled for so long? After supplying HR’s Yarden Frankl and Pesach Benson with maps and compasses, we sent them into Jerusalem’s Old City, seeking out confused tourists to find out which country they thought they were in.
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We tracked hundreds of your e-mails to the ASA, which has, so far, refused to reconsider its ruling. Despite the obvious inversion of reality, the ASA has stated:
Our ruling does not prevent the Israeli Government Tourist Office from depicting the Western Wall or other parts of Jerusalem in future advertisements. The ruling solely seeks to ensure that future ads do not imply that places in the occupied territories are part of the State of Israel.
How can Israel advertise the Western Wall without the implication that the site is in Israel?
Furthermore, the ASA said:
If the advertiser disagrees with our ruling then they can seek an independent review. Although it will disappoint you I am afraid we will not, however, be reconsidering our ruling.
Finally we are unable to enter into discussions about hypothetical advertisements for other tourist destinations, i.e. the UK.