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Stupid ASA decision

The Advertising Standards Authority – supposed to be non-political – has made a very stupid political decision, banning the Israeli Tourism ministry from using a picture of the Wailing Wall (the remains of Herod’s Temple from Jesus’ time) in their brochures.

Dear Sir, I am emailing about the ridiculous decision made by the ASA regarding the Israeli tourism brochure.  Whilst the political situation regarding Jerusalem is complex, there are several points to be made

Regarding Eastern Jerusalem as not part of Israel proper is understandable – however, it seems that the ASA decision in effect pre-empts the final-status discussions regarding the situation of Jerusalem.

The fact that Jerusalem is a disputed city is well known.  However, any brochure that neglected to show the holiest site in a nations ancient history is, as the Israeli ministry contended, itself essentially dishonest and a distortion of truth.  The picture in question is of the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall, the holiest point for Jewish / Israeli life for 3 MILLENIA!

Granted the site is disputed, but surely the fact that it is well-known, dare I say universally known that there is a situation wherein the Jewish Wailing Wall and the Mosques on the Temple Mount are a flashpoint, so anyone looking at the picture is likely to have that understanding in mind, and it is even more reasonable for the Israeli tourist ministry to assume that this would be understood.

So, the situation is that a complaint (a single complaint, I understand) was made, and I am writing because it seems to me that the ASA has upheld a tendentious line of argument.  Given the well-known situation at the Temple Mount site, and the fact that this was not some political assertion about the situation, but a tourist brochure using a photo of an iconic site to advertise the sights of the country, surely a lot more caution would have been in order before the ASA made such a politically charged decision.

The ASA upheld this single complaint, so here is my single complaint against that decision – but I strongly suspect it won’t be the only one.  I strongly urge the ASA to revise this highly flawed decision

Yours sincerely

Nathanael Lewis