So many complaints the ASA can't respond


By rushkin
December 9, 2011
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PSC Patron, Alexei Sayle, had the following letter published in the Guardian:

In last Saturday's Guardian (26th November 2011) there was an advert for travel to Israel featuring a map where Israel appears to have absorbed the entire occupied Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights. The Israeli Board of Tourism has been censured three times for breaches of advertising standards, but seems unable to correct its behaviour. Perhaps you should now just refuse to offer any advertising space to the Israeli government, which repeatedly claims that land illegally acquired by conquest is theirs.
Alexei Sayle, London

The Guardian has confirmed that it has refused to publish the follow-up adverts following complaints

The Advertising Standards Authority have received so many complaints that they warn visitors to their website that they will not respond to further complaints on this issue. However, they add that "receiving complaints will provide us with an opportunity to continue to monitor public response to this ad".

COMMENTS

happygoldfish

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:16

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hmm … this is rather the pot calling the kettle black

only two days ago, the same ASA published a complaint against the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission to the UK (click here http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2011/12/The-Palestinian-M...) …

this concerned a map promoting palestinian tourism!

on five different points, the complaint was upheld:

the ASA determined that the map falsely implied that Haifa and Jaffa were in the OPT, that West Jerusalem was in the OPT, and that as to Hebron and Bethlehem the accompanying advert was misleading to tourists since tourists would need to know "the particular nature of the security arrangements in Hebron and the restrictions on travelling into and within the city was material information likely to affect the decision of a consumer to visit the area as a tourist" and "movement restrictions in Bethlehem were material information likely to affect the decision of a consumer to visit the area as a tourist"

btw, there were only 6 complaints, obviously uncoordinated, since the asa makes it clear that they raised different points

only one complaint is necessary, and the asa obviously doesn't find it helpful to be deluged by identical complaints from a coordinated campaign!

rushkin: The Israeli Board of Tourism has been censured three times for breaches of advertising standards, but seems unable to correct its behaviour.

on the contrary, the igto has adapted to the requirements of the asa

yes, there have been 3 complaints upheld against the igto

the first (9/4/08) did not concern a map, but a photo (of Qumran) accompanying an advert for "4 7 and 10 day itineraries in israel" … obviously the advert should have made it clear that Qumran could be visited from israel, not in israel … see http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2008/4/Israel-Government-...

the second (15/7/09) concerned a map labelled "israel", and because the borders between israel and the opt were "faintly reproduced and difficult to distinguish", it was held that the map misleadingly implied that the whole of the map (labelled "israel") was in israel

since then, i believe that the igto has adopted a policy of not putting the word "israel" on its maps, using only geographical (and not political) regional names … see http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2009/7/Israeli-Government...

the third (14/4/10) was similar to the first … it too did not concern a map, but a photo (of the western wall and the dome of the rock) accompanying an advert for "itineraries in israel" … less obviously this time, the advert should have made it clear that they could be visited from israel, not in israel … see http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2010/4/Israeli-Government...

rushkin: In last Saturday's Guardian (26th November 2011) there was an advert for travel to Israel featuring a map where Israel appears to have absorbed the entire occupied Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights

no, the map was labelled not "israel" but "northern israel" (probably by mistake, see below), and implies that only the golan heights are part of (northern) israel

the map itself (click here) uses only geographical names (golan, galilee, samaria, judea, and negev), but unfortunately for the igto, the heading for the whole 3-page article "welcome to northern israel" appears (unecessarily) above the map and, in that position, obviously implies that it refers to the map

and since the map itself shows galilee and golan in colour (and the rest of israel/opt in grey), there is a clear implication that golan is in northern israel

(since the article itself is, i believe, entirely about galilee (page 2 is here, i cannot find page 3), both the colouring of golan and the title seem to have been pointless mistakes )

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