Following the recent determination by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority that an Israeli tourism ad violates the UK’s sense of ethics and fair play by implying that the Dome of the Rock is in disputed territory (East Jerusalem) and therefore cannot be part of any ads by Israel to promote tourism, I will be canceling any future plans I might have had to visit the UK, and will resist buying anything from there.
You can see a story about the UK’s determination at the following link:
I do have a few thoughts about this, obviously.
1. The Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, which sit almost directly above the Kotel (Western Wall of the 2nd Temple) were built a LONG time after the temple was built, and many historians and biblical scholars believe that their location was chosen to put them directly on top of the remains of the temple. There is also strong speculation that this location corresponds to that of the “Holy of Holies” of Judaism.
What is not in dispute (except in the Muslim countries, which deny any historical connection of Judaism to Jerusalem) is that the Kotel is the most holy place in the world for Jews, and has been for thousands of years.
2. The history of Jerusalem shows that in modern times (about 1500 AD to the end of WWI), it was controlled by the Ottoman Empire, then the British, and then, in 1948, at the conclusion of Israel’s war of independence, partly by Jordan, which annexed East Jerusalem, including the old city (where the Kotel, Al Aqsa Mosque, and Dome of the Rock are located).
During the Jordanian stewardship, Jews and Christians were not allowed access to their holy sites, and many of these holy sites were vandalized or destroyed.
3. In 1967, Israel, after Jordan attacked them, conquered Jerusalem (and the West Bank), and annexed Jerusalem.
The control of the Muslim holy sites is and has been under the control of the Waqf (Muslim organization), with free access for all to their holy sites.
Israel cleared away the Moroccan quarter of the old city to expand the area in front of the Kotel to enable Jews to pray there.
In spite of internal pressure, the Israeli government has never destroyed or allowed to be vandalized any Muslim holy sites, including those built on the Temple Mount.
4. It is clear that any visitor approaching Jerusalem from above, will see the old city, including the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, from a great distance. They are inseparable from the Jerusalem skyline, and to suggest that tourism pictures of Jerusalem must not contain images of these well known sites is beyond ridiculous.
However, in light of the ever expanding Muslim influence in the UK (and other parts of Europe), it is not surprising that the UK’s advertising standards board would bow to the desires of what I believe to clearly be anti-Semitic influences.
What astonishes me, though, is our country’s leadership eagerly trying to both emulate European standards, laws, and culture, while at the same time, working to reduce our uniquely American perspectives on the world.
I, personally, do not want the United States to become just like Europe – I think that we are better, more open, more “free”, and need to maintain what makes us unique.
Obama’s pandering to the European and Middle Eastern leaders, trying to fit in better, can only harm us in the long run.
How long will it be before American advertising boards of standards outlaw this type of image?