Tourist ad falls foul of UK watchdog for claiming Jerusalem belongs to Israel

Israeli government propaganda circulated by the UK supermarket Waitrose. 

The UK’s advertising watchdog has banned the Israeli Government Tourist Office from using an ad which implies that Jerusalem’s Old City is part of Israel.

The ad shows a panoramic photo of the Old City with the caption “Israel has it all.” It appeared in a brochure produced by the Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO). 

Last week, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint made by a member of the public against the ad and banned it from appearing again in its current form.

However, this is not the first time that the IGTO’s advertising campaigns have fallen foul of the watchdog.

This branch of the Israeli government has a track record of producing ads which either wipe the occupied West Bank and Gaza off the map or eliminate any trace of Palestinian history, heritage and culture from the land in order to promote Israel as a travel destination.

The IGTO’s latest publication is a glossy 32-page brochure, titled “Taste of Israel,” which was distributed in February by the supermarket Waitrose.

Erasing Palestine

A feature in the brochure is billed as an “Israel A-Z.” The introduction reads: “Heading to Israel? Our A-Z of key Israeli ingredients, foods and favorite tipples will help you live like a local.”

It goes on to list Palestinian and Arab staples such as tahini, zaatar, arak and kubbeh among its “key Israeli ingredients, foods and favorite tipples.”

The feature is a blatant example of Israel’s appropriation of Palestinian culture — in this case, food — as its own, in an attempt to erase the memory of historic Palestine from the land. As well as claiming that occupied East Jerusalem “belongs” to Israel, the brochure negates the history of Palestinian towns and villages within present-day Israel.

A “Five-minute guide to Akko” [Acre] guides the reader through the coastal town’s Ottoman and Crusader history before jumping to its Israeli present.

There is no mention of Acre’s Palestinian history and heritage, nor of the ethnic cleansing of its Palestinian inhabitants during the establishment of Israel in 1948. The Israeli government simply airbrushes the Palestinians from Acre’s long history.

In other sections, “Taste of Israel” goes on to claim the Golan Heights (which is occupied Syrian territory) and the whole of Jerusalem as being in Israel.


The distribution of the brochure by Waitrose — a supermarket which claims to have an “ethical policy” — has attracted fury, much of it being vented on the store’s Facebook page.

One post from Ayman Abuawwad begins: “I am a Palestinian from Gaza. How dare Waitrose promote the theft of my Palestinian heritage, my culture, my food and call it Israeli.”

Last week, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) submitted a complaint to the ASA about the “Taste of Israel” brochure on the grounds that its geographical inaccuracies, airbrushing of Palestinian history and attempts to pass off Palestinian food as Israeli amounted to false advertising.

The PSC has submitted previous complaints to the ASA about the IGTO, which have been upheld.

In 2011, the organization, along with Friends of Al-Aqsa and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, brought the ASA’s attention to a three-page brochure produced by the IGTO, titled “In The Beginning.”

The brochure used maps which gave the impression that Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights were in Israel, while labeling the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria” (names used by Israeli settlers).

The brochure was included as a supplement in national newspapers, including The Guardian, which itself was deluged with so many complaints that it announced it would no longer carry ads from the IGTO.


In March 2012, three months after it received the complaints, the ASA ruled against the IGTO on the grounds that the maps were misleading and “Judea and Samaria” were not legally recognized place names.

In 2010, an IGTO press campaign was banned by the ASA for using pictures of occupied East Jerusalem with the slogan “You can travel the entire length of Israel in six hours” — thereby implying that East Jerusalem was part of Israel.

And in 2009, the PSC successfully complained about IGTO posters displayed on London Underground sites. The posters, part of a long-running “Think Israel” campaign, again used a map in which the boundaries of the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights were so faint as to be invisible.

Even before the ASA ruled against the posters, the IGTO removed them from the London Underground after Transport for London, which oversees that railway system, received nearly 600 complaints.

However, despite these rulings and the banning of the offending ads, the IGTO continues to produce more, attempting to sell Israel to tourists through the appropriation of Palestinian land, culture and history, while ignoring the reality of Israel’s brutal military occupation and apartheid regime.

Sarah Colborne, director of the PSC, said: “As a propaganda arm of the Israeli government, the IGTO has proved that its publications and posters cannot be trusted or taken at face value. It is therefore up to UK companies, including newspapers and supermarkets such as Waitrose, to wake up to the IGTO, see it for the propaganda machine it is, and stop carrying and distributing its inaccurate adverts.”




I recvd this reply after I complained (as did quite a few people I know so it seemed to be a standard reply):

"I am sorry you were upset by the supplement, please note it is no longer in circulation.

Please accept my apologies

Andrew Hirsch
Chief Executive
John Brown Media "


Please confirm you have removed this offensive and inaccurate publication from your shelves


Speaking of Israel appropriating the totality of Jerusalem as it's own, I am reminded of the world map in Foreign Policy Magazine which depicts Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. At our Great Decisions foreign policy study group in Charleston, WV (Kanawha County Public Library) we use this publication as a study guide. I make a point of noting this fallacy at our meetings. The topic for our next session is Russia ant the rascally Putin who shot down the plane. Oh, what ever happened to that story? Any way the flap over Ukraine in the MSM was contemporarneous with its sullied coverage of the devastation of Gaza.


Below is my post which Waitrose deleted and blocked me from posting on their Facebook page for. My ost was not rude or offensive. I find it outrageous that they silence me as a Palestinian while they're giving space for other Apartheid sympathetics and apologists to express their opinion.
I am a Palestinian from Gaza. How dare Waitrose promote the theft of my Palestinian heritage, my culture, my FOOD and call it Israeli?! The very photo at the cover of the disgraceful 'Taste of Israel' brochure makes my blood boil. This is a photo of one of my favourite Palestinian meals. We call it SHAKSHOUKA. We mainly make it for breakfast. I remember my grandmother and mom after her used to make it for us when we were children and now my wife and I make it. It's such a satisfying meal that always puts a smile on our faces. I never thought I'd get angry by seeing a photo of this meal! FALAFEL and HUMMOUS are the FISH and CHIPS of the PALESTINIANS. They are not an Israeli snack. In fact the word HUMMOUS itself means CHECKPEAS in ARABIC. So how can it be Hebrew? How can it be Israeli? Shame on you Waitrose for cancelling a whole nation, a whole culture for profit.


In Israeli minds there never was a place called Palestine. Repeatedly on blogs I see that statement, that there never was a country called Palestine. Israel foresees a day when there will not be a Palestine, just 'greater Israel". It is good to see people resist this makeover by Israel to the reality on the ground.


Irrespective of the Arab talk, Palestine has been a geographic – not a national – term/area, as evidenced by the lack of distinct, cohesive national character of its Arab inhabitants. This lack of cohesion has been intensified by the violent internal fragmentation along cultural (e.g., Bedouins vs. rural vs. urban sectors), geographic (e.g., mountain vs coastal Arabs, southern vs. northern, Hebron vs. Bethlehem, Nablus vs. Ramallah, Nablus vs. Hebron), ethnic, ideological, political (e.g., pro and anti Jordan), historical, tribal/clannish identity. Such turbulent fragmentation was fueled by the multitude of Arab/Muslim migration waves from Bosnia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria & Lebanon.

Thus, the establishment of a Palestinian state/autonomy was not on the agenda of the non-Arab Muslim Ottoman Empire, which ruled the area from 1517 through 1917. The Ottomans linked the area – defined by most Arabs as a region within Southern Syria or theLevant – to the Damascus & Beirut provinces.

The British Empire, which dominated the Middle East from 1917 t the end of the Second World War, did not contemplate a Palestinian Arab state, while establishing a series of Arab countries throughout the Middle East. Moreover, the November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration dedicated Palestine, including Jordan, to the Jewish Homeland. The April 25, 1920San Remo Resolution, formulated by the principal Allied Powers, formalized the Balfour Declaration-based British Mandate for Palestine, which was ratified on August 12, 1922 by theLeague of Nations, eventually transferring 77% of Palestine (Jordan) to the Arabs. The US House &+ Senate approved it unanimously on June 30, 1922. In 1945, the Mandate for Palestine was integrated into the UN Charter via Article 80, which precludes alterations, and is still legally binding.

Jordan & Egypt occupied Judea & Samaria (West Bank) Gaza from 1949 through 1967, but did not ponder the establishment of a P Arab state


That is the same old ugly hasbara that zionists always drag out to justify their existence in and on Palestine.


1. Palestine was not a nation state under the post-world war definition of a nation state but that land (like Persia and Mesopotamia and many other lands) still existed, as did - and do - the people, along with their culture and history.
Just because the colonial-led, white-bred, racist UN did not give Palestine its independence after WW2 (though promised by the UK during WW2...they promised it to both, wanting both sides to support them in WW2), does not mean the people have no rights to the land.

Israel is a settler-colonial state like the US (who stole the land and resources from the indigenous population) and like Australia (who also stole the land and resources from the indigenous population).
As in these two previous cases, Israel is attempting to delete Palestinian culture and history from the world, to pretend like they 'belong' there when in fact they are invaders who are violently ethnically cleansing the land.


Israel is always the most shameful state amongst all. Not that I acknowledge it as a state anyway.
Israeli government, just as desperate as its IDF soldiers and illegal settlers are always chanting the word, "Palestine never exists." continuously, even when the proofs are all there. What's more disgusting is the fact that they claim everything related to Palestinians as their own, because they simply have no culture.

Israel is also the only country who keeps building illegal settlements as a "SELF-DEFENCE" mechanism, when they're not even sure what they'reprotecting it from. Or even why. We ll, we all know the reason : paranoid.

People's awareness are really satiafying. It's increasing significantly. Israel is going down and that's it. No flag's big enough to hide their sins.


Shaksh(o)uka(h) is not a Palestinian dish. It's actually Tunisian and was brought by Tunisian Jews to Israel.

Palestinians can claim falafel and hummus as their own, but not sure Lebanon and Syria would agree.


Dear TNS in case you haven't noticed no one here is talking about Jews. We are saying those foods with the culture and heritage ingrained in them are definitely not Israeli. If you want to talk about the Palestinian Jews then fair enough. Prior to Israeli there was a PALESTINIAN Jewish minority before European Jewish gangs came and colonised Palestine by force and ethnically cleansed its villages and towns. So it is Palestinian/Tunisian/middle/lebanese/Syrian and certainly MIDDLE EASTREN. It can be all of that. But one thing for sure, it CANNOT be and that is Israeli for the simple fact that Israelis are Europeans and westerners. They came not long ago from France, Poland, Germany, Russia etc. That's a fact and it's not far back in history so no point using poisonous language and shoving the word Jews everywhere you make a comment. We are talking about Israelis who came from the west and colonised Paleatine and kicked it's indigenous people, the Palestinians, out by force. Now that those eauropeans established a country on other people's land by force, they want claim their food, culture, heritage and even art and music and call it Israeli. Watch the Israeli TV (channel 2) and see how they even stole the Arabic music and happily pretend it's thiers. YOU WILL NOT HID THE SUN WITH YOUR SIEVE


1. This thread is about Palestinian/Israeli food, not who are the Jewish people, where they came from, who does Israel belong to, etc. Israeli cuisine is actually a mix of cuisines from Europe and the Middle East. I don't live in the UK and never heard of Waitrose and I haven't seen their publication, and don't really care, but now because of this article, I'm very curious to shop there next time I'm in England.

2. If Jews came from Europe, then what about Sepharadic Jews, who lived in Spain (1000 years ago) before North Africa (500 years) ago? And what about Mizrahi Jews such as Yemenis, Iraqis, Iranians, Egyptians, Syrians, Bukharians, etc.?

3. In my previous comment, I used the word "Jews" only once, whereas you're rambling on about them in your reply. If you don't like my word choice, that's your problem.

Amena Saleem

Amena Saleem's picture

Amena Saleem is a journalist and activist. She has twice driven on convoys to Gaza and spent seven years working for Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK.