By Daniel Chejfec
According to an April 15 report on the Jerusalem Post, The ASA (British Advertising Standards Authority), with the traditional British cynicism, determined that it was “misleading” for the Tourism Ministry to include pictures of the Western Wall in a promotional ad encouraging Britons to visit Israel:
“The ASA noted the [travel] itinerary image of Jerusalem used in the ad featured the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, which were both in East Jerusalem, a part of the occupied territories of the West Bank... and considered that readers were likely to understand that the places featured in the itinerary were all within the state of Israel...The ad breached Committee of Advertising Practice Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness),” the ruling stated.
By British law, broadcasters are obligated by a condition of their broadcast licenses to enforce ASA rulings. If they don’t, Ofcom, Britain’s communications authority, can force them to.
One has to wonder why the British felt it necessary to issue this ruling considering that the Western Wall is the holiest site in the world for Jews, a remnant of the Temple Mount as existed in the times of Herod the Great. This ruling also comes a few days before Israel's celebration of 62 years of Independence, an anniversary that this year unfortunately coincides with the 121 anniversary of Hitler's birth in Branau, Austria, an anniversary often used by Nazis and neo Nazis to try to vindicate the image of the German dictator.
One also has to wonder if the same standards applied to the Israeli brochures are applied to the brochures of the Palestinian Authority that often promotes Christian tours including Nazareth, in the Galilee, and well within the so-called green line (pre-67 Israel)
What is happening in Britain (I will NOT say "Great" Britain) is a reflection of the changes happening in European society in general, where political expediency is taking precedence over common sense and truth. Since Israel administers the Old City, members of all three religions had free access to their holy sites, in contrast to the 19 years of Jordanian ban on Jewish visits to the Western Wall.
The Muslim population in Europe today is significantly larger than the Jewish population, and European countries depend on Muslim immigrants and their taxes to maintain their retirement systems. Plainly put, the Euro is more powerful apparently than freedom of religion, and banning Israeli advertisement of the Western Wall more important to British legislators that enforcing British law in the Muslim areas of London. In truth, there has always been, as well, a native anti semite segment in British society, but because of the nature of this particular ban, my bet goes on politicians trying to attract the Muslim vote.
A Birmingham Alabama resident reacted by sending a letter to the British consul general for the Southeastern United States vowing not to set foot on British soil again in protest for the ruling. He also copied his Senators and Representatives. His initiative is inspiring and shows an opportunity for involvement in making our voices heard. Congratulations to Dr Alan Siegal from Birmingham Alabama for speaking Truth to Power, and may the list of those following his example grow from day to day!