I Wonder Why, Dubai

The promo brochure for the Dubai Lynx Awards sets a real haughty tone for the new awards show, as written by Jonathan Harries, the global Creative Director of Draft/FCB:

What if we had an awards show where we took all the good things from other awards shows, and none of the bad?
If we said to people, “Bring your great ideas, your brilliant layouts, your mindblowing copy, your wonderful sense of design and editing, your awe-inspiring digital and, of course, your imagination.
But please, those of you who wish to enter, leave behind the scam and the hype and the dull and the dreary and most of all, your delusions.
If we could say all of that then we would truly have one of the best advertising awards shows in the world.
The good news, as I see it, is we can. This is the inaugural. The first ever Dubai Lynx Awards show.
It’s one of the greatest opportunities we will ever have.

It goes on to say: “The launch of the annual Dubai Lynx Awards in the Middle East and North Africa brings with it a great opportunity to establish standards of creative excellence in advertising throughout the region. The Dubai Lynx Awards is organised and presented by the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.”
OK, so far, so good. Then you get to the rules section:

All entries must be conceived and created in one or any of the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Islamic Republic of
Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, West Bank and Gaza, Western Sahara, Yemen.

Hmm…notice anyone left out? Let me just say this, that when you ban Israeli advertising agencies (which include subsidiaries of every major global ad agency you can name, including Mr. Harries’ own Draft/FCB) from entering an awards show honoring creative excellence in the Middle East, then you’ve blown one of the “great opportunities” to do something positive in that part of the world.
Certainly it isn’t a language barrier, as many of the winning ads seem to have their share of English (the print work does, and at least some of the tv commercials are subtitled that way).
Not to start a jihad here, but can anyone tell me the reasoning behind this? ‘Cause if there’s a legitimate reason, I’d like to know.

About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.