I recently ran across an article on JPost.com that inspired me to action. According to this article, he latest edition of the National Geographic's Traveller Magazine has published a "Travel Palestine" advertisement and the Advertising Standards Authority has been inundated with complaints that the advertisement attempts to "blot out" the existence of Israel. These complaints take issue with the fact that the advertisement locates Palestine between the Mediterranean coast and the Jordan river without mentioning Israel, and that it claims that areas under Israeli control, like parts of Hebron and East Jerusalem, are Palestinian destinations.
The article reads:
The Zionist Federation of the UK said the advert was misleading as it gives the “false impression” that Palestine is a country; that Jerusalem is part of Palestine, and that Palestine extends from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.
“The ad would mislead tourists, since on traveling to territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, they would not find the sites and facilities which the advertisement promotes,” the ZF said.
I decided to send the following e-mail to the ASA in defense of the Travel Palestine advertisement:
I'm sending this message in defense of an advertisement that has recently received several complaints. I'm very grateful that the National Geographic posted its Travel Palestine advertisement in this month's magazine because quite simply, Palestine needs to be traveled to. I just visited the West Bank and witnessed the Israeli government's attempt to erase Palestinian claims to the land with concrete walls, Hebrew highway signs, and Jewish-only settlements. The complaints say that Hebron isn't in Palestine because it's in Area C, under Israeli military control. Area C covers 60% of the West Bank. And Arab East Jerusalem is still "in dispute" because Arab residents are in the process of being evicted and surrounded by Israeli settlements. I commend National Geographic for inviting travelers to witness Palestinian culture for themselves, and telling the world that Palestine exists, in spite of Israeli efforts to make it disappear. I ask that you consider the implications of silencing this message in your investigation of this advertisement.
For anyone who wants to counter the complaints to the ASA and defend the Travel Palestine advertisement, I've included the following addresses:
The Advertising Standards Authority of Britain