Nissan orders Israeli ally to pull commercial

JERUSALEM (Kyodo) Nissan Motor Co. has ordered its Israeli business ally to immediately stop airing a television commercial depicting Arab oil barons angered at the high fuel efficiency of a Nissan car, officials of the automaker said Thursday.

“The commercial was produced by a local automobile distributor based on its own judgment, and Nissan Motor has nothing to do with the commercial,” a Nissan spokesman in Japan said.

The commercial depicts wealthy Arab oil barons becoming so enraged at a fuel-efficient Nissan Tiida that one of them kicks the car, bangs on the hood and windshield and heaps abuse on the vehicle.

The major Israeli paper Haaretz, in its online edition, showed video footage of a news program on Saudi Arabia’s MBC TV that quoted a Saudi representative as saying that Persian Gulf states may boycott Nissan unless it apologizes.

Another major Israeli paper, the Jerusalem Post, quoted a public relations official working for Nissan in Israel as saying the commercial was a humorous one and should be enjoyed by both Israelis and Arabs.