Formula 1 promo de-Arabizes Jerusalem skyline

Q: If you’re the Jerusalem mayor, how do you market your city to tourists? A: Erase all the non-Jewish landmarks.

By Eldad Brin

Take a second to look at the new logo for the second annual Jerusalem Formula 1 Road Show:

The logo of the second annual Jerusalem Formula 1 event.
Logo of the second annual Jerusalem Formula 1 Road Show.

Let’s put aside the fact that the promotional logo, which was printed and put up in the thousands across the city using the municipal tax money of its residents, and which seeks to promote an event for the good of those very residents, does not include a caption in the mother tongue of 40 percent of them. But we won’t get petty over these details, nor over the fact that Jerusalem has no relation to race cars, or that perhaps it would be wiser to put the money (which does not only come from sponsors) toward matters far more pressing for the city.

Let’s take a look at the logo itself. Somewhere there is a copywriter, obviously Jewish, who is sitting and thinking (or perhaps someone above is thinking for him/her): What symbolizes Jerusalem? What does the typical Jerusalem skyline look like? Well, from left to right we have the Chords Bridge, the Montifiori Windmill, the Tower of David, the Jerusalem City Tower, and all the way to the right we see the new arena – a rather recent creation that by no means constitutes a remarkable architectural icon. What is missing from the skyline? There are no churches, or at least none that we can identify. There is no Al-Aqsa Mosque. And worst of all: Where did the Dome of the Rock, the ultimate Jerusalem icon, disappear to?

Read: The illusion of religious freedom in Jerusalem

Can you imagine a flyer for a “Formula New York” event with no Empire State or Chrysler Building in the background? A “Formula 1 Paris” with no shadow of the Eiffel Tower or “Formula 1 London” without a Big Ben or the London Eye? Here in Jerusalem, where the mayor makes every effort to brand the city as a tourist attraction on the same level as Rome and Barcelona, there is an intentional and conscious denial of its most well-known “trademark.”

But why complain when we have the City Tower?

Eldad Brin is a Jerusalem guide who tries to keep his eyes open and look for God – or the devil – in the details. This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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