ASA clarifies its position on ‘apartheid advert’

2011-07-11 14:36

The Advertising Standards Authority of SA (ASA) today clarified incorrect statements by particularly the international media that the ASA had declared Israel an apartheid state.

The ASA last week dismissed complaints received by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and others against a radio commercial for SA Artists Against Apartheid broadcast on radio station 5FM.

The commercial featured the voice of Dave Randall, lead singer of the group Faithless, who said: “Hi, I am Dave Randall from Faithless. Twenty years ago, I would not have played in apartheid South Africa. Today I refuse to play in Israel. Be on the right side of history. Don’t entertain apartheid. Join the international boycott of Israel. I support southafricanartistagaintsapartheid.com.”

In essence, the complainants submitted that the commercial was unclear as to the identity of the advertiser, was untrue, and not supported by any evidence to verify the implied claim that Israel was an apartheid state.

ASA spokeswoman Corne Kock said in a statement that in considering the complaints, the ASA directorate acknowledged that the ongoing feud between the Palestinians and Israelis was often the subject of international news and there were two extreme views on the matter.

“The first thing to keep in mind is that the commercial voices the opinion of the collective artistsagaintsapartheid.com, which has enlisted the assistance of Dave Randall to further its cause.

“It is clear from the commercial that it is the opinion of Dave Randall.”

While he might very well be drawing a possible analogy between apartheid South Africa and Israel, he was clearly doing so in his capacity and as the face of a cause, Koch said.

The request by the complainants that these claims be substantiated was not applicable in this instance.

“The implied claim that Israel is an apartheid state cannot be substantiated.”

The ASA was therefore not giving its “approval” that such claims were in order to use, or further “declaring Israel as an apartheid state”.

Secondly, it was clear to the ASA who the advertiser of this commercial was and that the issues canvassed in it were clearly controversial, and accordingly in terms of the Code of Advertising Practice could not be considered by the ASA.

The commercial was clearly expressing personal views, not fact, and called for the support of like-minded people, who shared this view.
“It is not for the directorate to proclaim as to which political ideas or actions are justifiable, or to base this decision on whether or not the actions in Israel are legitimate,” Koch said.

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