ASA rules against Israel Tourism

An Israeli Government Tourist Office poster campaign that implied the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights were internationally recognised as part of Israel has been ruled misleading by the advertising watchdog.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 444 complaints regarding the ad with Jews for Justice, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and members of the public among those challenging its facts.

The ad had the headline “Experience Israel” and the text “Few countries pack so much variety into such a small space as Israel” with an accompanying map that included the occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights within Israel’s boundaries.

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism defended the campaign saying the map was “a general, schematic tourism and travel information map, rather than a political map”.

The ministry argued that the complaints regarding whether some areas on the map were internationally recognised were “political in nature and not relevant to a tourism ad”.

The ASA noted the ad’s aim was to promote tourism to Israel but pointed out that the border lines for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were “faintly produced and difficult to distinguish” and ruled the ad could not appear again in this form.

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