South African Israel Apartheid campaign 311.
(photo credit: South African Artists Against Apartheid )
South Africa’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on Tuesday turned down a
complaint lodged by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies against a radio
commercial for an organization calling itself South African Artists Against
The commercial in question, broadcast in February, had Dave
Randall of the UK dance band Faithless exhorting listeners to be “on the right
side of history.”
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“Don’t entertain apartheid. Join the
international boycott of Israel,” the ad said.
In its complaint, the
Board of Deputies claimed that the advert was untrue in that there was no
evidence to back up the claim that Israel is an apartheid state.
ruling stated that because “the topic of the Middle East is highly
controversial,” the commercial was not subject to the provisions of the
advertising code relating to misleading claims. The code, it explained, states
that as long as a commercial is “readily recognizable” as an ad and there is no
confusion as to the identity of the advertiser, the ASA directorate was barred
from considering whether or not the advertisement was
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the ruling,” David Saks,
associate director of the Jewish Board of Deputies told The Jerusalem Post on
Thursday. “It sets a precedent whereby very provocative, politically motivated
advertisements putting forward controversial views which are offensive to large
parts of the public have been legitimized.”
In comments to the Post,
Corne Koch, communications manager for ASA, said the authority did not believe
the ad would cause widespread offense because people would realize it’s the
opinion of a particular group shared by the artist in question.
no call to violence and no implication that all Israelis are guilty,” she
“We are not an authority to classify a country as an apartheid
state or not.
Muhammed Desai, a member of the South African Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Working Group, which assisted SA Artists Against
Apartheid with the Board of Deputies complaint, welcomed the
“Israel may have avoided the kind of crude apartheid South Africa
had, with separate benches, water fountains and the like for Blacks and Whites,
But having Arabs here and there in positions of authority is window dressing,”
he said. “Just because there may be a certain level of inclusion doesn’t mean
there’s no apartheid.”
The Board of Deputies has until July 19 to appeal
Saks said his organization was in consultation with its legal
advisers to explore its options.