Oct 3, 2010

#BDS: Dutch watchdog criticizes Israeli tourism website

Advertising Code Committee says material distributed by Dutch branch of Israeli National Tourism Board blurs borders between Israel, 'occupied' Arab territories.

The Dutch advertising watchdog has criticized Israel for publishing "misleading" information on its tourism website that blurs the borders between Israel and "occupied" Arab territories.

The Advertising Code Committee says in a nonbinding ruling that material distributed by the Dutch branch of the Israeli National Tourism Board does not "clearly show where the border lies between what is internationally recognized as Israeli territory and 'disputed' areas."

Pro-Palestinian activists complained that the maps gave the impression that parts of the Palestinian West Bank and east Jerusalem are in Israel, as well as the Golan Heights captured from Syria.

The ruling, which can be appealed, has no immediate practical effect, and the committee cannot compel the Israeli tourism board to withdraw the ads. But it contributes to the international criticism of Israel's "occupation" at a time when it is in peace negotiations with the Palestinians over the future status of the territories.

Earlier this month, a group of mayors from Israel canceled a trip to the Netherlands after objections were raised that the delegation included mayors of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

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