Thursday, December 08, 2011

British Advertising Standards Authority forces Palestine Mission to take down map

From TheJC:

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against the Palestinians' diplomatic mission to the UK for displaying a map which included the whole of Israel as part of Palestine.

The map, decked in red, green and black, the colours of the Palestinian flag, appeared on a tourist section of the mission's website called "Discover Palestine".

Barrister Jonathan Turner, head of the Zionist Federation's legal group and one of six complainants to the ASA, said that the authority "should be congratulated on its careful and impartial scrutiny.

"Too often we are on the defensive against attacks on Israel and Israeli organisations. As this ruling shows, those who attack us should pay more attention to failings in their own camp."

The mission - referred to in the ASA report as the Palestinian Embassy UK - argued that the map referred to "historic Palestine" in 1948 and that it had changed the colour coding to demarcate Israel from the Palestinian territories.

But the ASA noted the use of the Palestinian national colours and the lack of any reference to the state of Israel. "We considered that the average consumer would infer from the map and the linked information that the total area represented by the map was the Occupied Palestinian Territories," it concluded.

It also upheld complaints against the website for implying that Haifa, Jaffa and all of Jerusalem were part of the Palestinian territories.

Entries on Hebron and Bethlehem also breached the advertising watchdog's code because they failed to provide information on travelling restrictions to the two destinations that should have been given to potential tourists.

Mr Turner said: "We will examine the revised website as well as other advertising and if necessary make further complaints."
The website used to be called the "Palestine Embassy UK" website - even though there is no such embassy. Now the website is called "Palestine Mission UK" - and while they don't refer to this map issue, they have a headline accusing Israel's tourism board of showing a map of all the territories as Israel. (They don't reproduce it, though.)

I had noted the map in May.

Even today, after the British ASA ruling, it says things like Palestine is "Located in the Levant, surrounded by Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon" - even though "Palestine" does not border Syria or Lebanon, and they don't mention Israel.

But they do mention the fact that "More than 96% of Palestinians are Sunni Muslims and approximately 2% are Christians." Something to be most proud of, given that in 1948 they were some 7% of the population.