The ZF is today revealing how multiple adverts, designed specifically to promote Israel in the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge, were all rejected by several different outlets – including Transport for London, which branded them “too political.”
The decision to launch the advertising campaign was made in response to the unprecedented level of anti-Israel hostility in the UK following the start of the Gaza conflict. Funding of £12,000 was available for the campaign.
The initial pitch was for adverts that would make the connection between Hamas and other terrorist groups such as ISIS. This would place Israel’s actions in the context of the wider struggle against religious extremism in the Middle East.
When the ZF made an initial pitch to the suppliers for TfL, however, they were informed that the adverts would be unacceptable on the London Underground as the concept behind the campaign was “too controversial.”
Undeterred, the organisation next approached the suppliers for billboards around the country. This time the initial pitch was successful, and so the ZF hired a design company and copy consultant to create several different adverts. After a fortnight, three different draft adverts were presented – but then all three were turned down.
The ZF then began a lengthy process of altering imagery and wording to suit the supplier’s demands, but none of the modified adverts were deemed acceptable either.
For example, one which featured an explosive device on a breakfast table, to symbolise the everyday nature of the terrorist threat Israel faces, was turned down on the grounds that a picture of a bomb was too provocative – but then the supplier stated that one without the bomb would also be unacceptable.
Finally, the ZF were informed that there were no longer any billboards available in London.
Alan Aziz, ZF Director, commented:
“During Protective Edge we heard over and over again from our supporters that they wished there was some way to get Israel’s message out to the general public, given the inability of the media to explain how Israel was doing the best it could to avoid civilian casualties whilst facing a vicious terrorist enemy. This inability bolstered the perception that Israel was committing ‘war crimes’ and ‘massacres’ – misconceptions that directly fuelled the explosion of antisemitism we experienced this summer.
“The ZF decided to take the lead and immediately began working on an eye-catching campaign that would clearly and memorably make the case that Hamas represents the same brand of evil as ISIS, and Israelis therefore have no choice but to defend themselves from these fanatics.
“We are very disappointed that these adverts were rejected, especially given the prominence of DEC’s Gaza Appeal adverts which appeared on the underground and buses, adverts which inadvertently supported the notion that Israel was waging a war on innocent children rather than targeting a terrorist infrastructure.”
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