Media Blog

UK Watchdog Bans Israeli Western Wall Tourism Ad

In recent years, Israel-bashing has become something of a national sport among Britain’s chattering classes, but a fresh development today might just mark a new low.
The UK’s official Advertising Standards Authority has banned an Israeli tourism advert showing the Western Wall, saying it is “misleading” since (in the British government’s eyes) the wall should not be part of Israel.
In fact the Western Wall, which (together with the Temple Mount) is Judaism’s holiest site, is the number one tourist destination for visitors to Israel.

The advert (above) coupled a picture of the wall with a picture of surfers in Tel Aviv. It reads: “You can travel the length of Israel in six hours, imagine what you can do in four days.”

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism (which yesterday announced records numbers of tourists visiting Israel in March) said it was flabbergasted by the decision. “It is entirely accurate to assert that a visitor to Israel could visit Jerusalem as part of a short visit,” it said in a statement. “The advert provides basic, accurate information to a prospective UK visitor.”
One gets the feeling that there are some people in Britain who not only want to keep visitors from going to Israel, but wish there was no Israel to visit.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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