Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Talking to a Wall: Correspondence with Britain's Advertising Standards Authority

This is the form response I got from my complaint to Britain's ASA about it's absurd banning of an ad from the Israeli Government Tourist Office, followed by a reply I then sent the ASA, to which they responded with exactly the same form letter.

We are currently experiencing a high volume of enquiries which may affect our response time. We apologise for any inconvenience that this might cause.

ASA Adjudication on Israeli Government Tourist Office

The ASA has received lots of feedback about its decision to uphold a complaint against the Israeli Government Tourist Office. Please note that we cannot respond to everyone who writes to us about this ruling. We have outlined the reasons for our decision in our adjudication and we have the following further statement:

We do appreciate that some people strongly disagree with our decision.

Our ruling does not prevent the Israeli Government Tourist Office from depicting the Western Wall or other parts of Jerusalem in future advertisements. The ruling solely seeks to ensure that future ads do not imply that places in the Occupied Territories are part of the State of Israel.

The ASA is duty bound to respond to concerns raised about advertisements that appear in the UK. Often we have to make decisions about subject matters in advertisements that polarise opinion and where strength of feeling and views are particularly pronounced. We realise our decision will disappoint some people.

If the advertiser disagrees with our ruling then they can seek an independent review. Although it will disappoint you I am afraid we will not, however, be reconsidering our ruling.

Finally we are unable to enter into discussions about hypothetical advertisements for other tourist destinations, i.e. the UK. If you have seen an advertisement that you believe is problematic then please fill out our online complaints form.

Other enquiries

Our website does contain a large amount of general information about the work of the ASA as well as a database of adjudications for the past five years.

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How to complain



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The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice Ltd, Registered Number 5126412

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Reply to ASA:

Thank you for your response.

I have three questions:

1. What portion of the ad implies the Western Wall is in Israel?

2. Between 1948 and 1967, Jordan illegally occupied portions of Jerusalem, after rejecting the United Nations Partition Resolution calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem. During this period, did you ban all ads falsely implying that the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and other portions of the Old City were part of Jordan?

3. Since the Western Wall is in Israel, what's wrong with so implying?

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