The American Jewish Congress submitted this understated advertisement about the status of women in Israel to Ms. Magazine. Underneath the attractive photographs of Israel’s foreign minister (Tzipi Livni), Supreme Court president (Dorit Beinish), and speaker of the Knesset (Dalia Itzik), the ad reads: “This is Israel.” I think it is fair to say that in most parts of the United States it would be deemed an utterly innocuous ad.
Ms. rejected the ad. Yesterday the AJC issued this press release with the following comments:
“What other conclusion can we reach,” asked Richard Gordon, President of AJCongress, “except that the publishers — and if the publishers are right, a significant number of Ms. Magazine readers — are so hostile to Israel that they do not even want to see an ad that says something positive about Israel?”
When Director of AJCongress’ Commission for Women’s Empowerment Harriet Kurlander tried to place the ad, she was told that publishing the ad “will set off a firestorm” and that “there are very strong opinions” on the subject — the subject presumably being whether or not one can say anything positive about Israel. Ms. Magazine publisher Eleanor Smeal failed to respond to a signed-for certified letter with a copy of the ad as well as numerous calls by Mr. Gordon over a period of weeks.
According to the press release, the powers-that-be at Ms. provided advice on the kind of ad that might pass muster with them:
A Ms. Magazine representative, Susie Gilligan, whom the Ms. Magazine masthead lists under the publisher’s office, told Ms. Kurlander that the magazine “would love to have an ad from you on women’s empowerment, or reproductive freedom, but not on this.” Ms. Gilligan failed to elaborate what “this” is.
Please read the whole thing and draw your own conclusions.
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