press releases

11 July 2011


The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) wish to clear incorrect statements that it has picked up from particularly international media reports that the ASA has declared Israel an Apartheid State.

The ASA last week dismissed complaints received by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and other consumer complaints against a radio commercial for South African Artists Against Apartheid that was broadcast on the radio station 5FM.

The commercial, features the voice of Dave Randall, lead singer of the group Faithless. He says, “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”.

In essence, the complainants submitted that: The commercial is unclear as to the identity of the advertiser and is untrue and not supported by any evidence to verify the implied claim that Israel is an apartheid state; the band Faithless compares Israel to an apartheid state and that this is factually incorrect and irresponsible.
In considering the complaints the “ASA Directorate acknowledges that the ongoing feud between the Palestinians and Israelis is often the subject of international news and there are two extreme views on the matter”, says spokesperson for the ASA Ms Corné Koch. The first thing to keep in mind is that the commercial voices the opinion of the collective who 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. He says, “I would not have played...”, “Today I refuse...”, and “I support...”. While he may very well be drawing a possible analogy between Apartheid South Africa and Israel he is clearly doing so in his capacity and as the face of a cause”, adds Koch.

She explains further that the request by the complainants that these claims be substantiated is not applicable in this instance. “The implied claim that Israel is an apartheid state cannot be substantiated” (our emphasis).
The ASA is therefore not giving its ‘approval’ that such claims are in order to use, or further ‘declaring Israel as an apartheid state’.

The topic in the Middle East is clearly a highly controversial subject by its nature. Given this, the Directorate is guided by the wording of Clause 2.4 of Section 1 of the Code of Advertising Practice, ...”any advertisement...that express an opinion on a matter which is the subject of controversy; and that controversy involved issues within the areas, broadly defined, of public policy and practice, then that opinion shall not be subject to the provision of the Code relating to misleading claims, providing that the advertisement is recognisable as an advertisement and cause no confusion as to the identity of the advertiser”.

“It is clear to the ASA who the advertiser of this commercial is and that the issues canvassed in this commercial is clearly controversial, and accordingly in terms of the Code cannot be considered by the ASA”, says Koch.

The commercial was clearly expressing personal views, not fact, and calls for the support of like-minded people, who share this view. It is significant in that the commercial is clearly aimed at generating discussions amid the controversy and stands to reason that the people who are likely to be offended by this commercial are likely to hold the view that the current situation and action in Israel is justifiable.

“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” (our emphasis).

For the complete ruling, click here


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