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Ms. Response:

The Jewish Telegraph Agency reports, apropos the "This is Israel" ad controversy:

Ms. magazine's executive editor, Kathy Spillar, disputes [the AJC's version of the story, which is that the AJC was told the ad "would set off a firestorm" and that "there are very strong opinions" on the subject], telling JTA the ad showed political support for one of Israel's parties and thus violated magazine standards.

"We only take mission-driven ads," Spillar said. "Because two of the women in this ad were from the same political party," that showed favoritism, and the magazine's policy is not to get involved in the domestic politics of another country.

Gordon noted that the magazine in its Fall 2003 issue ran a cover story on Jordan's Queen Noor, and the Winter 2004 issue contained an article on the Ramallah Film Festival called "Images of Palestine."

Spillar responded that "ironically" this month's issue, just coming to newsstands now, has a two-page spread profiling Livni.

I'm happy that Ms. is willing to profile Israeli politicians; but the question remains just why they rejected this particular pro-Israel ad -- and my tentative thought is that the Ms. claim is a bit implausible. It just seems pretty odd for an American magazine distributor, which I imagine has few readers outside the U.S., to see this clearly pro-Israel ad as somehow advocacy for the party to which two of the three women belong. But in any event, I'm glad to pass along the magazine's side of the story. Of course, if anyone has facts supporting or rejecting its side of the story (e.g., prior references to this policy), I'd love to hear them.

Matt Tievsky (mail):
That purported rationale set off my bullshit detector as well.
1.11.2008 11:58pm
Just Saying:
So, if they evened it up and had two women from each political party, then they would run the ad, right? Right???
1.11.2008 11:59pm
Randy R. (mail):
Well, there's no excusing the stupid excuse.
Likewise, there's no excusing all the other bloggers in the previous post who accused Ms. of knee-jerk anti-Israeli viewpoints. If they are set to profile a ranking Israeli official, kinda blows the wheels off that truck, eh?
1.12.2008 12:01am
Solomon II:
We shall then split one of the two women in half, so to offer her to the other party.
1.12.2008 12:01am
Randy R. (mail):
Well, there's no excusing the stupid excuse.
Likewise, there's no excusing all the other bloggers in the previous post who accused Ms. of knee-jerk anti-Israeli viewpoints. If they are set to profile a ranking Israeli official, kinda blows the wheels off that truck, eh?
1.12.2008 12:01am
Randy R. (mail):
Apologies for the double posting....
1.12.2008 12:02am
pgepps (www):
It seems that Solomon II split Randy in half, so perhaps that will suffice.

The rationale does seem a bit odd, but it may be an honestly odd decision (people rationalize their reactions, or those arising from a committee's fuddling, in peculiar ways) and . . . well, it's theirs to make. As it is yours (ours) to criticize. I don't think the rationale immunizes them against considerable criticism, though.

If I were the advertiser, I believe I would add a fourth, from another party, and submit it.
1.12.2008 12:29am
Volokh advocates genocide and apartheid (mail):
While you're posting garbage, millions of Palestinians are living under occupation without any freedom or hope. Their children are dying of malnutrition and lack of healthcare. Their adults have nothing to do but to fight the evil Israeli occupation.

Their suffering on your health, you vile scum.
1.12.2008 1:15am
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
This is the pigeonhole principle: Whenever you have three women, either two or three of them will be from the same party if you have a system with (broadly speaking) two parties. Therefore, no ad featuring exactly three women (more precisely, no ad featuring three woman politicians from a foreign country with a de facto two-party system) can ever be acceptable to Ms. magazine!
1.12.2008 1:37am
certainly not 1:15:
Now on to the merits .... The fact that one of the three is a member of a different party undermines Ms. Spillar's excuse. As far as lame, after-the-fact pretexts go, this one was even more lame than usual.
1.12.2008 1:43am
TerrencePhilip:
They should've stuck by the earlier excuse: the current one is absurd, and if it were really their reason they would not have failed to emphasize it last time.

How many Ms. readers, despite being better educated and informed than most Americans, could even name two Israeli political parties, much less (a) know the differences between them, (b) have a strong preference for the policies of one over another, (c) instantly recognize these three women by party affiliation (or at all), and (d) imagine that the magazine was trying to stack the deck politically by accepting an advertisement which on its face promoted Israel as a pro-feminist country?
1.12.2008 1:46am
LM (mail):
Is there a reason not to filter out at least some of the most egregious trolls by requiring actual, verifiable e-mail addresses for posting comments?
1.12.2008 2:08am
glangston (mail):
Women high up in both parties? That seems to be a statement Ms. could run with if they were prepared to think outside the box. Diversity must be a slogan and not a reality or else diversity has nothing to do the mix of conservatism and liberalism
1.12.2008 2:09am
A. Zarkov (mail):
About a dozen years ago I warned my liberal Jewish friends to cool it on their campaign against South Africa because the next target would be Israel. Sure enough this has come to pass including the charge of apartheid and the call for a boycott. It's funny how the liberals always tell me that boycotts don't work except of course for South Africa and today Israel.
1.12.2008 2:31am
kcoc0609 (mail) (www):
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.hycgq.com" title="光电开关">光电开关</a>
1.12.2008 2:58am
fishbane (mail):
That excuse seems dumb, but I actually tend to believe it. I worked for a (nonpolitical) magazine back in the early '90s, and some of the contortions our editorial policy enforced on ad sales tended to look really odd from the outside. The policies were made for specific reasons, and yes, they occasionally caused us to bar ads that really shouldn't have been seen as objectionable by a common-sense standard. Some of them were ad-hoc, to avoid the appearance of favoring certain advertisers, some of them were mroe carefully crafted for liability reasons. The sum-total of the rules made very little sense to first-time advertisers, which made me very, very glad I was working production rather than ad sales at the time.

I imagine attorneys can think of analogous ways that, just for instance, rules of evidence can cause some situations that look completely absurd to laymen, but nonetheless have a lot of serious thought behind how they work.

So it wouldn't surprise me in the least if this sort of policy were really fact, even though it seems absurd.
1.12.2008 3:02am
Lonetown (mail):
They are simply afraid to say what they really believe because they know how bad it would sound, but it is their magazine.

Its ironic that a magazine purportedly founded on principles.
1.12.2008 7:14am
DSM:
Randy R: "Likewise, there's no excusing all the other bloggers in the previous post who accused Ms. of knee-jerk anti-Israeli viewpoints. If they are set to profile a ranking Israeli official, kinda blows the wheels off that truck, eh?"

I don't see how that follows. Someone with a knee-jerk anti-Israeli viewpoint might find a detailed profile of an Israeli politician -- which could offer both praise and criticism -- acceptable but reject something which simply suggests that Israel has good features and doesn't qualify it. In fact, that's exactly what I would expect. I suppose if the profile is pro-Israel that would suggest that if there's anti-Israel sentiment at the magazine then it's not uniform.

How does intending to discuss an Israeli official blow the wheels off the truck of suspicions of anti-Israel bias? Those with the strongest anti-Israel views often discuss little else.

(I take fishbane's point, but can't make myself believe it.)
1.12.2008 8:12am
Gary Anderson (mail):
Even tho Israel is an ally, this seems like an appropriate refusal to run to me. It's no a political magazine, it's a woman's magazine. Why accept "pro" ads for Israel, unless you're willing to accept, say, "pro" Iran ads, or "pro" Mexico, Cuba, Canada or Haiti ads? How many countries need to use advertising to plug their country's legitimacy anyway? And is this how the AMerican-Jewish thinks the best use of their funds?

Glad y'all are backing off on the anti-Semitism charges tho; crying wolf won't help your goals and aspirations.

And most folks can distinguish between informative profiles in the editorial part of the magazine, and vague paid advertising that doesn't fit in with other ad content. They were free to refuse to crack open the door to international political posturing, and they did.

Imagine a picture of dead Palestinian civilians, women or little girls, and the caption, "THIS TOO IS ISRAEL."

Let's not start that divisiveness over here... refuse to run such paid endorsements of one country's moral goodness, or else you have to accept all comers.
1.12.2008 8:30am
Gary Anderson (mail):
I want to know... how much time have the Volokh boys spent reading Ms. magazine anyway.

Is this just a knee jerk reaaction to all things Israel here on the Conspiracy?

What about... Highlights magazine? Vogue? Glamour? Must petty politics from other countries's unresolvable disputes begin to affect everybody's magazine copy?

Sports Illustrated? THIS IS ISRAEL! Who the hell that reads these magazines cares about consuming such propaganda?

Excellent call by the advertising department; even if they had to claim the "unequal party" reason because the truth is you'd claim they were "anti Semites! anti Semites! if they gave the real reason: we don't want to open the door to having to run international propaganda favoring one territory over another.

THIS IS IRAN.
THIS IS IRAN.

Advertising is different than story copy. Keep reading your women's magazines fellas and you'll figure it out. Heh!
1.12.2008 8:37am
Simon Spero (www):
Israeli politics has rarely been cited by experts as a classic example of a two party system...

The three women pictured are the highest ranking women in what roughly corresponds to the three branches of government in the US: President of the supreme court (head of judicial branch); Deputy Prime Minister/foreign affairs (~3rd highest in executive); and speaker of the Knesset (not as powerful as the equivalent position in Congress, but somewhat more influential than the Speaker of the House of Commons).

Since Israel does not have separate elections for prime minister and for parliment*, the highest ranked female officials corresponding to executive and legislative branch are at least going to be members of the governing coalition.

I'm not sure what was going on in the editorial offices; I expect that there are going to be some full and frank exchanges of views when the matter is reviewed.

Simon
1.12.2008 8:41am
Gary Anderson (mail):
Someone with a knee-jerk anti-Israeli viewpoint might find a detailed profile of an Israeli politician -- which could offer both praise and criticism -- acceptable but reject something which simply suggests that Israel has good features and doesn't qualify it.

As a non-Jew, I'm still not exactly sure what that vague ad propaganda was selling... But I do know that "good features" is the farthest thing from my mind after looking at pictures of those 3.

Really, to my thankfully uninitiated mind on all things Israel, I thought it was something urging women reader of the magazine to support Hillary Clinton for President.

It's the vagueness of the message that got it rejected, fellas.
1.12.2008 8:41am
Gary Anderson (mail):
The three women pictured are the highest ranking women in what roughly corresponds to the three branches of government in the US: President of the supreme court (head of judicial branch); Deputy Prime Minister/foreign affairs (~3rd highest in executive); and speaker of the Knesset (not as powerful as the equivalent position in Congress, but somewhat more influential than the Speaker of the House of Commons).

Who cares?
OUtside of Israel, what does this have to do with readers of Ms. magaize who don't share the preoccupation of some with the survival of their homeland?

Lots of places have women leaders. And lots of places don't have checkpoints for non-qualifying ethnicities and religions either. YOU GO ISRAEL is not an appropriate ad for this magazine -- if indeed, that's the message you're all seeing.
1.12.2008 8:44am
AF:
Whatever the reasons for rejecting the ad, it is hard to see prima facie evidence of anti-Israel bias unless similar ads from other countries were accepted. The fact that there were stories on Muslim politicians doesn't establish that, particularly since there were also stories on Israeli politicians.
1.12.2008 9:42am
Randy R. (mail):
DSM: " Someone with a knee-jerk anti-Israeli viewpoint might find a detailed profile of an Israeli politician — which could offer both praise and criticism — acceptable but reject something which simply suggests that Israel has good features and doesn't qualify it. "

Perhaps. But if you read some of the comments under the previous post, you would find quite a few people who are ready to find hysterical anti-semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments at Ms. People used as evidence that they will profile Arab or Palestinian women, BUT NOT ISREAELI women. At the least, by running such an article, it shows that they are not totally and unrationally biased.

Guess we'll have to pick up an issue of MS. magazine and decide for ourselves.

Oh wait. We're men. And we are sure of our opinions, so no need to actually check facts when our opinions are already validated by Fox News. (Okay, I'm being a little sarcastic here, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar folks).
1.12.2008 9:52am
James Grimmelmann (mail) (www):
I'm calling in a "clearly" alert on "this clearly pro-Israel ad."
1.12.2008 9:53am
mikeh (mail):
I'm afraid Gary is just a more genteel version of "Volokh Advocates Genocide . . .", barely hiding his hatred of Israel. Perhaps the purpose of the ad is not to "plug [Israel's] legitimacy," but rather to convey to business women wondering whether to invest in Israel's economy that Israel is hospitable to enterprising women. When Saudi Arabia or Kuwait take out full page ads or place inserts in the NYT, I suspect Gary does not say, "Who cares?" or wonder why they have to plug their legitimacy.
1.12.2008 10:20am
Elliot123 (mail):
Randy R:""Likewise, there's no excusing all the other bloggers in the previous post who accused Ms. of knee-jerk anti-Israeli viewpoints. If they are set to profile a ranking Israeli official, kinda blows the wheels off that truck, eh?"

The official they are set to profile belongs to a political party. Ms says they can't run the ad showing three women because the political party affiliations are unbalanced. Affiliations would also be unbalanced when profiling a single person belonging to a single party. According to Ms, that would show favoritism and involve the magazine in the domestic politcs of another country.

So, Ms has articulated a policy under which they cannot run an article about any single foreign person who belongs to a political party.
1.12.2008 10:27am
Tony Tutins (mail):

Affiliations would also be unbalanced when profiling a single person belonging to a single party.

Have you never heard the expression "warts and all"? An article profiling an individual is seldom advocacy, unless it's about Hillary Clinton in the New York Times. :)

What I'd like to know now is where else the AJC attempted to place this ad. There are a ton of women's magazines and political magazines. Is it running in the Atlantic Monthly? How about Ladies Home Journal?
1.12.2008 10:47am
Gary McGath (www):
Almost any group of three politically adults in the U.S. would contain either two Democrats or two Republicans. I suppose Ms. would reject all such ads.
1.12.2008 10:49am
Steve2:
This whole thing's weird to me. I thought Ms. stopped running ads altogether back in the 80s and had magazine sales as their sole source of revenue.
1.12.2008 10:56am
Bob Leibowitz (mail) (www):
Wouldn't the editorial policy they put forward preclude them from a similar ad showing the progress of women in the U. S. government?

Three branches, three most senior women: Nancy Pelosi, Ruth Ginsburg, Condi Rice. Another two out of three imbalance. It seems to me that any description of power in a two party, three-branch government will be unbalanced by definition, either 2-1 or 3-1, as there are only so many ways to slice a cake.
1.12.2008 11:06am
Elliot Reed (mail):
"A bit implausible" is way too kind to Ms. Who would interpret a depiction of Secretary Rice, Secretary Spellings, and Speaker Pelosi as a statement of support for the GOP? Not precisely analogous, but I'd say this line of argument is absurdly implausible, not just a bit implausible. But admitting that although the ad is innocuous they were concerned that it would piss off the vehemently anti-Israel element of their subscriber base would be impolitic, so they're using a transparent lie instead.
1.12.2008 11:18am
Gary Anderson (mail):
I'm afraid Gary is just a more genteel version of "Volokh Advocates Genocide . . .", barely hiding his hatred of Israel.

Um, not at all mikeh.
If you read my thread on the other post, I am suggest that this is a wise move by Ms. to reject this vague international politics ad.

Because just like schools that ban all writing on t-shirts regardless of the content, once you crack open the door to ads like this, then surely someone will submit other ads that will make some of us retch: such as running pictures of dead Palestinian women and girls, or a bulldozer running over Rachel Corrie saying "THIS TOO IS ISRAEL".

See, once you open the door to political posturing, then surely you must permit those other ads in too.

The best policy -- and there's really nothing un-semitic about it -- is to steer free of accepting pro-Israel ads by groups like this, even if they are AMerican-Jewish groups.

Such political posturing has no place in a magazine of this type, and just because you might see this one as innocuous, I am suggesting you might take objection to them running ads intended to be complimentary under the captions "THIS IS IRAN" or "THIS IS IRAQ" or indeed, "THIS TOO IS ISRAEL".

As a non-Jew, I wish y'all would admit that some of your earlier hysterical cries of anti-semitism in this ad acceptance policy are propaganda also. "Poor Israel... again."

Just consider what would also be run, if the magazine started promoting other countries, other international political parties, etc. Private magazine, absolutely have the right to reject this vague message. Cry all you like, and misrepresent the positions of others if you think you must, but Ms. is right to stick to their guns and not play host(ess?) to these types of manufactured "controversies" by those with definite propaganda purposes in mind.

And yes, I am sorry if that hurts your delicate and overly sensitive feelings about your beleagured homeland, assuming that is the case. But there's no special treatment for Israel here, just as there is no special discrimination either.
1.12.2008 12:35pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I went to the AJC website, unsuccessfully to find out where else they placed this ad. Running an ad in Ms. apparently is a real departure for them; usually they just run them in the New York Times.
1.12.2008 1:12pm
Cenrand:

"As a non-Jew, I wish y'all would admit that some of your earlier hysterical cries of anti-semitism in this ad acceptance policy are propaganda also. "Poor Israel... again."

As a non-jew, I wish some of ya'll anti-Israel types would have the decency to admit that just maybe the last anti-semite did not die on may 14, 1948. Although i'm guessing, like so many posters before him, Gary Anderson is more interested in arguing against a strawman than in taking a principled position.
1.12.2008 1:12pm
Randy R. (mail):
A person can say that Ms. isn't necessarily anti-semitic AND also not be anti-semitic. Ya'll should chill and realize that sometimes the world isn't always fixated on things as much we think they are.
1.12.2008 1:45pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Have you never heard the expression "warts and all"? An article profiling an individual is seldom advocacy, unless it's about Hillary Clinton in the New York Times. :)"

I have indeed heard the expression. I note it wasn't used by Spillar. I wonder if Ms will accept any ads for candidates in the upcoming US elections. Will they hold an ad for the democrat until they have also booked an ad from the republican?
1.12.2008 2:43pm
mikeh (mail):
"I am sorry if that hurts your delicate and overly sensitive feelings about your beleagured homeland"

My homeland is the USA, beleagured, I'm afraid, by such as you, Gary. But your assumption says so much about where you're coming from. In any event, your analysis misses my point. There's nothing controversial or inflammatory about posting an ad in a feminist magazine extolling Israel's receptivity to its women's ability to rise to the top of its political system. There would be something inflammatory about a photo of Rachel Corrie with a caption, "This, too, is Israel." I know you can't see the difference, but I'm not sure what a rational person can do to explain it to you. Even though I'm not a big fan of Hanan Ashrawi, I wouldn't see any objection to an ad with her photo over a caption, "This is the Palestinian Authority."
1.12.2008 2:46pm
Michael B (mail):
"... and my tentative thought is that the Ms. claim is a bit implausible."

A wee bit, if the irony can be appreciated.

But they have no choice than to provide a superficially vaunted facade and cover for what is, ultimately and substantively, venal, in every sense of the term.
1.12.2008 3:20pm
A.C.:
Gary Anderson -

The difference between this situation and the school t-shirt situation (or the office political bore) is that Ms. readers aren't trapped. If they hate the editorial policy, they can cancel their subscriptions. Schoolchildren and cubicle dwellers are stuck in close proximity whether they like it or not, so they need a higher level of restraint (ideally self-restraint) to prevent problems.

Ms. CAN have whatever editorial policy it wants, including about political matters, and we are free to judge them accordingly.

I suspect that part of the judgment here has a "there they go again" quality, not just about anti-semitism on the left but about cultural relativism and the tendency of western feminists to beat up on western cultures while letting cultures that are far worse for women off the hook. We all know this happens.
1.12.2008 3:24pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
There's nothing controversial or inflammatory about posting an ad in a feminist magazine extolling Israel's receptivity to its women's ability to rise to the top of its political system.

So we've all decided that is what the vague ad is about... because that is the way YOU interpret it.

The problem is... not everyone sees things through your eyes. It is vague, and purposely unclear. Is it promoting tourism? Immigration for more women to Israel? Urging American women to vote for more women candidates themselves?

You may disagree with my reasoning -- as clearly you are allowed in this country to do -- but I fully support Ms.'s policies to reject any ad for their magazine if they don't want to get into the international propaganda game.

Maybe to YOU it's fine to run the THIS IS ISRAEL ad, and clearly you would reject the Rachel Corrie bulldozer "THIS IS ISRAEL TOO" ad. But see, just like those content-neutral dress codes, most understand that once you open the door to one, you must leave it open to others if you want to remain credible as a neutral ad-accepting magazine.

This ad -- as it stands with no accompanying text other than THIS IS ISRAEL -- is much much too vague for propaganda purposes. Just because you see distinctions, does not mean that the average Ms. reader will.

Private magazine. Free to set their own ad policies. Those here are free to "condemn", whip out the anti-semitism card and play it, of course. And the rest of us are free to sit back and sigh, or laugh at the propagandizing once again. Why? Because THIS IS AMERICA, and just because you interpret something one way, does not mean that is the only way...

Capiche, my fellow countryman?
1.12.2008 3:36pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
I also disagree with popular thought that:

Hillary's recent "emotional" moment can be in an accurate way characterized as "weeping" or "crying"...

That the "emotional" moment was responsible for his slight win in the numbers game, despite what the pundits have concluded...

And that Barack Obama and his past -- or lack of one substance-wise -- gives him a free pass in this election because of his race.

For far too long -- no doubt to due the freshness of the Holocaust and those who would have us all assume collective guilt -- Israel was off limits too for criticism, and the anti-semitism card could be traded freely effectively shutting down dialogue.

It's a neutral policy -- open the door to "THIS IS ISRAEL" then you have to open the door to those who would want to present other images, or plug other nations via such propaganda materials.

They didn't want it in their rag. Go, cry and whine how everyone just hates Israel and the Jews. Luckily, not everyone is buying that **** nowadays.

If you want to be treated equal, you have to forgo the special treatment and learn to be independent. I don't care if they have 3 or 20 or 3,000 elected officials; the idea that Israel is some beacon for women's rights is clearly -- in my mind -- countered by her treatment of other non-Jewish women.

And see, if Ms. allows this one viewpoint in, then according to American ideas of fairplay, they should then admit the Rachel Corrie "THIS IS ISRAEL" too ad... which no doubt would counter with "Yeah but... all those civilian women's deaths that Israel is accountable for... were indeliberate! We didn't mean to take innocent life like that!! Not our fault!!! No blood on our hands!!!! Look see -- we've got 3 major women leaders here; y'all should be supporting us!!!!!! REMEMBER THE HOLOCAUST!!!!!!"

Sadly, playing to emotions is not going to win the day, or is Ms. magazine entitled to open her pages to such international propagandizing that would no doubt come if they cracked open that door by accepting this ad. Which is absolutely their right, as it is yours to whine anti-semitism can be the only answer. I applaud Ms. for not being party to that kind of game, and telling the AJC to take it elsewhere because frankly, the magazine's mission is not to promote and have to more fully examine one country's record of their treatment toward ALL women.

It's much easier to play the anti-semitism card (or the racist one, for example, in deliberately misunderstanding the "fairy tale" line) than to dig in on the issues of substance and examine Israel's treatment of ALL women. Which is the major concern of Ms. as far as I know. Not to promote Israel as any kind of false shining beacon of hope for women worldwide.
1.12.2008 3:47pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
The difference between this situation and the school t-shirt situation (or the office political bore) is that Ms. readers aren't trapped. If they hate the editorial policy, they can cancel their subscriptions.

LOL! ANd praytell, what "duty" or obligation does Ms. have to Israel that would justify the risk of offending even one subscriber and costing them a subscription. It's a business decision, not a charity as AJC presumably is. Take your business elsewhere like big girls, and don't gang up as Jews as the Volokh brother are doing here trying to make a controversy where there simply is none.

The ad does not fit the aims of the magazines, because many people understand that Israel really is no innocent, nevermind a "victim" except perhaps of her own actions. Go find another magazine willing to support the vague message enought to risk losing subscribers.
1.12.2008 3:52pm
Gary Anderson (mail):

Ms. CAN have whatever editorial policy it wants, including about political matters, and we are free to judge them accordingly.

I suspect that part of the judgment here has a "there they go again" quality, not just about anti-semitism on the left but about cultural relativism and the tendency of western feminists to beat up on western cultures while letting cultures that are far worse for women off the hook. We all know this happens.


Let me know when the PLO submits and has a vague propaganda ad accepted or reject by Ms. and we can have that conversation here.

Otherwise, you've exactly proved my point that this rejection is just an attempt by the magazine not to get pulled into such propaganda discussion. Or "Keep that game out of our pages, where it clearly has no place."

Remember Rachel Corrie! (lol -- you love criticizing and playing the propaganda game; guess what -- I can play too.)
1.12.2008 3:55pm
certainly not Gary Anderson, either:
I can't believe people are arguing over this. The magazine's explanation doesn't even pass the laugh test. Not even close.
1.12.2008 4:05pm
Michael B (mail):
Gary Anderson,

The finer distinction being, one can interpret any ad about any country - or for that matter any entity - in the manner you're suggesting. It's the choices made that are revealing, the actions and not the words, however refined their apologetics and however susceptible some publics are to those rationales, whether that susceptible is due to financial concerns, ignorance, or some other factor.

"So we've all decided that is what the vague ad is about... because that is the way YOU interpret it.

"The problem is... not everyone sees things through your eyes. It is vague, and purposely unclear. Is it promoting tourism? Immigration for more women to Israel? Urging American women to vote for more women candidates themselves?

"You may disagree with my reasoning -- as clearly you are allowed in this country to do -- but I fully support Ms.'s policies to reject any ad for their magazine if they don't want to get into the international propaganda game."

Firstly, your use of the term "vague" serves to obfuscate rather than clarify. The ad, however it might also be characterized or spun, is a statement of both fact and social/political substance. (Do you prefer multi-page glossies, say of Dubai's Palms resort?)

Using your reasoning what doesn't fall under the category of "propaganda"? Anything at all? Or perhaps we're to be concerned that Israel receives a too favorable PR in the world press? (The irony in that last query is pungent.) Likewise, few (any at all?) are arguing they are not private and therefore not lawfully enabled to set their own editorial standards - though the very term "standard" itself is probative of this issue, which is itself indicative.

"Let me know when the PLO submits and has a vague propaganda ad accepted or reject by Ms. and we can have that conversation here."

One thing - and in a primary sense this is the most illuminating factor and backdrop of all - we won't be seeing is such an ad attempted by Fatah or Hamas, for the entirety of their history, from the Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini to Arafat and currently, has reflected summary executions and similar forms of "judicial activism," to ensure any and all dissent is properly "dealt with."

Such are the multiplicity of ironies that inform the press, the propaganda, Israel receives. And fails to receive.
1.12.2008 4:36pm
LM (mail):
Elliot Reed (mail):

Who would interpret a depiction of Secretary Rice, Secretary Spellings, and Speaker Pelosi as a statement of support for the GOP? Not precisely analogous [...]

A better one might be Rice, Pelosi and Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, which, likewise, nobody would mistake as a plug for the Democrats. In any event, count me as a "virtually implausible."
1.12.2008 4:44pm
hattio1:
A previous Commenter notes;

What I'd like to know now is where else the AJC attempted to place this ad. There are a ton of women's magazines and political magazines. Is it running in the Atlantic Monthly? How about Ladies Home Journal?

This gets back to a question I posted in the other thread...any possibility the ad was submitted knowing it would be rejected for the purpose of the publicity surrounding the rejection? Once again, I'm throwing it out as a possibility based on (originally) the lack of sophistication in the ad and that it was submitted to a very liberal magazine. The fact that it was apparently ONLY submitted to one magazine makes me even more suspicious.
1.12.2008 5:05pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Has even one single commenter here ever read MS. magazine? I haven't but an Infotrack search will tell you that, over the past few years, there have been about an equal smattering of articles devoted to Israeli, Palestinian, Iranian, Iraqi, Saudi Arabian etc. etc. feminists. If you submit "muslim" you'll see that they've been particularly critical of Islamic societies. And yes, the articles are pretty much of the "women against the big bad men" ilk.

All this gnashing of teeth and baseless accusations of anti-Israeli bias and so on and so forth blah blah blah is just a bunch of horseshit. Then someone pins them to the wall about not running an ad from AJC, so their forced to fumble around for some excuse that won't offend, when there's simply nothing for them to apologize for. And meanwhile all those slobs who usually bitch about the "PC Police" are out in force, with a big hard-on for bashing a women's magazine.

Eugene, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. If you've ever picked up a copy of MS. in your entire life, I'd be surprised. You admit the ad is "pro-Israeli," i.e. political in nature, then put the editors through the ringer for not having the "right" excuse for not accepting it.

I've never read MS. myself and couldn't care less what they do or don't advertise or write about, but your little witch hunt here is ridiculous. Use your bandwidth and your brain for something that really matters.
1.12.2008 7:38pm
certainly not Gary Anderson, either:
The fact that it was apparently ONLY submitted to one magazine makes me even more suspicious.

The is nothing suspicious about this. Ms. is a feminist magazine with a long history of feminist political activism. The ad's fairly obvious purpose is to point out the relatively high status of women in Israel, vis-a-vis the neighboring countries that treat women ... umm, not so well. The ad is uniquely relevant and appropriate for a feminist magazine in a way that it is not for the other publications you mentioned.
1.12.2008 7:40pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"The ad's fairly obvious purpose is to point out the relatively high status of women in Israel, vis-a-vis the neighboring countries that treat women ... umm, not so well. The ad is uniquely relevant and appropriate for a feminist magazine in a way that it is not for the other publications you mentioned."

As I pointed out in my previous comment, they already do exactly that in their articles and editorials. They don't need to run ads to make this clear, and they don't need to violate whatever advertising policy they have to do it.
1.12.2008 7:47pm
Randy R. (mail):
Thanks, Grover. You expressed my feelings exactly and better than I could.

I agree that there is groups out there that are stupidly "PC". But there are also groups out there who are stupidly "anti-PC". And then there are the groups out there that find stupid "PC" in every corner of the world, and some of those people have commented here.

It's time we find a real subject to talk about....
1.12.2008 7:50pm
Adam J:
Eugene, thanks for posting the response and letting us conspiracy readers hear the other side. I agree that Ms. has a wierd rationale, but businesses make decisions for odd reasons all the time, especially media businesses. It's a little scary how quickly everyone has been to assume antisemitism/anti-israeli sentiment by Ms. with so little evidence.
1.12.2008 9:54pm
mockmook:
It seems that even most of the people defending Ms. find "her" excuse (balance of parties) to be unconvincing.

So they provide the explanations that Ms. would make if "she" were honest.

But, they don't seem concerned that Ms. would put out a dishonest explanation.

Puzzling.
1.12.2008 10:17pm
mockmook:
For those who have read Ms., does "she" ever carry ads by Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, PETA, or the like?

If "she" does, that undercuts the Ms. is "staying out of controversy" argument.

Of course, people who read Ms. are probably puzzled by how an ad by Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace or PETA would be controversial; those are "good" groups.
1.12.2008 10:26pm
Adam J:
Mockmook- what I find far more puzzling is how you can assume dishonesty without any real justification other than because it was decision was one that you don't like and merely because you find their "excuse" unconvincing. Tell me Mockmook, do you have any expertise whatsoever with magazine's editorial decisions regarding advertisements to explain to us why their answer is likely to be untruthful? If people are going to start making insinuations of antisemitism, they should probably have a little to more to go on what I've seen so far.
1.12.2008 10:30pm
Adam J:
Mockmook- "For those who have read Ms., does "she" ever carry ads by Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, PETA, or the like?" Ah yes, because if they are a liberal magazine then the choice not to have a israeli ad MUST be antisemitic.
1.12.2008 10:36pm
Ronald D. Coleman (mail) (www):
As I pointed out in my previous comment, they already do exactly that in their articles and editorials. They don't need to run ads to make this clear, and they don't need to violate whatever advertising policy they have to do it.
They don't "need" to run ads for anything like an editorial reason. They run them to make money. So when they reject one, and dish out a preposterous explanation for why they rejected it -- I mean, a seriously impossible-to-take-seriously explanation -- it's only rational to ask what the real reason is.
1.12.2008 10:43pm
David Matthews (mail):
According to poster Lior on the other thread:

"Some facts: Itzik and Livni are not from the same party (Itzik belongs to Labour, Livni to the right-wing Kadima [and formerly of the Likud]). Beinisch is certainly not a politician — in Israel judges may not express political opinions."

I don't know if this is accurate, and I really don't care whether or why Ms might refuse any particular advertisement, but if it is true, it sort of makes Ms' professed reason out to be pretty lame (and, actually, I doubt that anyone reviewing ad copy would know Israeli politics so well as to immediately say, "Hey, two of these women are from the same party! We can't have that!")
1.12.2008 10:44pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"So when they reject one, and dish out a preposterous explanation for why they rejected it -- I mean, a seriously impossible-to-take-seriously explanation -- it's only rational to ask what the real reason is."

Maybe you can fill us in on what's so "preposterous" about their reason for rejecting the ad.

"Of course, people who read Ms. are probably puzzled by how an ad by Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace or PETA would be controversial; those are 'good' groups."

I see you've already established that they carry ads for PETA and Planned Parenthood, even though two sentences before that you indicated you had no frickin' idea. So why don't you buy a copy and let us know?
1.13.2008 12:07am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"They don't 'need' to run ads for anything like an editorial reason. They run them to make money."

Yes, but virtually every magazine or newspaper has an advertising policy that dictates what sort of ads they'll accept or reject. MS. has one, they stated what it was. Maybe they were wrong about the ad, or misunderstood it, or whatever. Doesn't matter. Unless you can show us that they're inconsistent, there's simply no grounds for criticism here.
1.13.2008 12:12am
Grover Gardner (mail):
What's preposterous is AJC's charge that they are "hostile to Israel." As I said above, a search of back-issue content will show that they've devoted as much coverage to women in Israel as they have to women in other Middle Eastern countries. The fact that they feature articles about women in politics in various countries does not mean that they endorse that woman's particular party. If this were true, every feature in every magazine or newspaper about a current candidate for the presidency would constitute an "endorsement."
1.13.2008 12:35am
Grover Gardner (mail):
If you haven't bothered to read the original article, here's what AJC's Richard Gordon said about the magazine:

"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?"

and

"The only conclusion that one can reach from this behavior is that Ms. Magazine feels that an ad highlighting the accomplishments of three incredibly talented and dedicated women would offend their readership. Since there is nothing about the ad itself that is offensive, it is obviously the nationality of the women pictured that the management of Ms. fears their readership would find objectionable. For a publication that holds itself out to be in the forefront of the Women's Movement, this is nothing short of disgusting and despicable," stated Mr. Gordon.
1.13.2008 12:54am
Adam J:
Just to put some perspective, I think these accusations against Ms. are about as credible as if I were to accuse Professor Volokh of being misogynistic for making an attack against a women's magazines. Obviously such an accusation would be far-fetched, but it is one possible reason why he would make antisemitic insinuations against Ms. Of course, there are many other possible reasons... and therefore such an attack on his character would be unjustified, just as these accusations of antisemitism on Ms. appear to me to be completely unjustified. I'm sure many people here feel that the "race card" is played many times without any real justification, well I think many of the posts here are playing the "anti-semitism card" without a whole lotta justification. I've yet to here a reasonable argument why this is antisemitism other then a israeli ad got pulled and uneducated explanations of why their excuse sounds a little fishy. These "gosh that is a strange reason, it must be BS" posts have come from people who don't have any clue (like me)why or why not a magazine makes its ordinary decisions to pull ads.
1.13.2008 2:06am
homunculus (mail):
This is the pigeonhole principle: Whenever you have three women, either two or three of them will be from the same party if you have a system with (broadly speaking) two parties. Therefore, no ad featuring exactly three women (more precisely, no ad featuring three woman politicians from a foreign country with a de facto two-party system) can ever be acceptable to Ms. magazine!

I don't think the Ms. rationale--as stated--necessarily supports this kind of unqualified conclusion. Though it may be the case, it's not clear to me from the Ms. statement that no advertisement containing pictures of woman politicians from a foreign country w/ de facto 2 party gvmnt could be properly called "mission driven."

However, granting that this position accurately describes the principle that Ms. is relying on here...how is it a criticism of the policy that one of its consequences would be to disqualify all ads which contain exactly three female politicians from a foreign country w/ a de facto two party system?

Certainly, this isn't the object of the editorial rule.

(I'm not taking a position w/r/t the substance of the debate...this criticism just struck me as a bit odd)
1.13.2008 2:32am
Gary Anderson (mail):
But, they don't seem concerned that Ms. would put out a dishonest explanation.

I think it's because most accept that unfounded and numerous charges of anti-semitism and racism over time has so poisoned the well that no one is free to give "honest" reasons anymore, so we have leaned to tiptoe through these minefields employing politically correct excuses.

If you will be crucified by saying, "We don't want to open our magazine up to a major debate of Israel's role of women -- Palestinian civilians as well as these 3 leaders who have done well for themselves; plus, we don't want to crack open the door to such vague ads that really are propaganda pieces for international issues designed to boost support of a country without a fuller examination of issues in the past" ... then the, "We don't endorse foreign political parties; 2 of the women here belong to the same party, so out it goes" without addressing the other issues, it all makes sense.

This is why, for such a strong American First Amendment supporter, EV and his brother do harm to honest public discourse when so quickly whipping out the anti-semitism charges such as this.

I'm sure it's meant more as a joke though -- like the volokh CONSPIRACY -- which makes it all the more sadder for the "cry wolf" charges to solicit the banal responses that Ms. magazine has put out, in a C.Y.A. politically correct statement.

Luckily though, these "anti-semitism! anti-semitism!" complaints are becoming less numerous as more and more they closely examined and rejected, as in these threads.

Ditto with the "racist! racist!" labels for those who would examine more closely say, the candidacy of Barack Obama and his current qualifications for Commander-in-Chief.
1.13.2008 8:26am
Gary Anderson (mail):
leaRned to tiptoe
1.13.2008 8:27am
Ken Arromdee:
I think it's because most accept that unfounded and numerous charges of anti-semitism and racism over time has so poisoned the well that no one is free to give "honest" reasons anymore, so we have leaned to tiptoe through these minefields employing politically correct excuses.

Which translates to "if they tell us why they rejected the ad, that decision might be criticized".

There's nothing wrong with your proposed reason, and nothing bad would happen if it was given in neutral terms and applied evenly. "We don't want to discuss the status of women leaders in a country because half of all people are women and we'd have to discuss how it treats people in general". "We don't want to run ads promoting a country since they may not discuss both sides of the issue".

But if Ms. gives such an excuse, they'd be forced to abide by it. If they didn't want to discuss female leaders because they didn't want to bring up the issue of other females under the country's control, it would get very embarrassing if they *did* let the issue be brought up by pro-Palestinian leftists. If they didn't want to run ads promoting a country, the next ad promoting a leftist-friendly country would be a blatant double standard.

That's why they won't give the reason you suggest. Not because it subjects them to random accusations of anti-semitism, but because it's probably as fake as the one they did give.
1.13.2008 12:31pm
mockmook:
Well, well, well...

Supposedly, MS. ad policy is to stay out of foreign politics.

"...send a message to...Iranian officials demanding the immediate release of the remaining three women's rights activists."

The "ad" accompanying this article is for a march in solidarity with women's rights in Iran.

Granted, the "ad" is from the FMF (the owner of MS); but I still think that undercuts MS's explanation regarding the Israel ad.
1.13.2008 1:09pm
Gary Anderson (mail):
But if Ms. gives such an excuse, they'd be forced to abide by it.

Let us know when they accept a vague, wordless ad consisting only of 3 pictures of women and "THIS IS CUBA" or "THIS IS PAKISTAN" or "THIS IS VENEZUELA".

And the ad must be run in Ms. magazine, not related publications.

Funny how in your fears of all things "anti-semitic" some of you don't realize that until that situation occurs, there's absolutely nothing anti-Israel about this judgment call.

(Anybody ever hear the story about crying wolf? Or being afraid of shadows of things that aren't really there? Overcome the fear gene -- with pills or by educating yourselves? Cuz these types of anti-semitic charges are quite the stretch... )
1.13.2008 1:33pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"The 'ad' accompanying this article is for a march in solidarity with women's rights in Iran."

As your quote marks indicate, this isn't an ad. There is no paid advertising here. This is entirely editorial content. Care to explain how this is similar to the ad AJC demanded they run, and why this editorial obliges them to run it?
1.13.2008 1:59pm
Yankev (mail):
Gary says

the idea that Israel is some beacon for women's rights is clearly -- in my mind -- countered by her treatment of other non-Jewish women.

Such as allowing them to vote on the same basis as men. (The first middle eastern nation to do so), own property on the same basis as men, and instituting free compulsory education for girls at the same level as for boys. Not to mention affording them sanctuary from honor killings, and punishing those who assault or rape them. In short, shocking insensitivity against the culture of the region.
1.13.2008 3:04pm
mockmook:
"As your quote marks indicate, this isn't an ad. There is no paid advertising here."

The article mentions nothing about the march. The box beside the article is an ad advocating political change in Iran, "paid for" (perhaps, with only space, but who knows) by FMF.
1.13.2008 4:04pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"The box beside the article is an ad advocating political change in Iran..."

It's a link to the site that owns MS. magazine. Do you know that they "paid" for the space? Why would they? There are links to MS. magazine on the FMF site. Are they paid for?

Explain to me how this link to the parent organization's web site violates their advertising policy, or obliges them to host an ad from AJC.
1.13.2008 4:36pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
This is wrong, but this thread makes me think of the (Mordechai Richler?) story where one of the characters hums to himself, while getting ready for a date with an AJC employee, "I'm going to have congress, with a girl from Jewish Congress."
1.13.2008 5:04pm
Milhouse (www):
Actually Lior was wrong, both politicians are officially from the same "party", Kadima. But that doesn't matter, because Kadima isn't really a party, it's more a random collection of politicians from all over the spectrum, who joined together for the purpose of winning an election. They don't agree on anything much except holding on to power. As it happens, Livni came from the center/right Likud (itself a bloc of several right and center factions) and Itzik from the left-wing Labor Party, so there's balance right there.

And Beinisch is officially nonpartisan, because she's a judge so she has to be. Though it's no secret where her political views lie: firmly on the left.
1.13.2008 6:43pm
Ken Arromdee:
Let us know when they accept a vague, wordless ad consisting only of 3 pictures of women and "THIS IS CUBA" or "THIS IS PAKISTAN" or "THIS IS VENEZUELA".

That's only marginally better than saying "you can't prove they're hypocritical unless they accept an ad containing exactly 567 words, including 5 occurrences of the letter 'Q'."

You've so narrowly defined the parameters of "similar ad" that of course it's very unlikely they'd have rejected, or even been given, a similar ad.
1.13.2008 7:06pm
Yankev (mail):
By the way, Gary, AJC and some of the comments suspect that Ms. acted out of anti-Israel bias, not out of anti-Semitism. Neither AJC nor (as far as I noticed) any of the posts have accused Ms. of being anti-Semitic. It is you who repeated the tiresome smear that anyone who criticises Israel is immediately and falsely branded as an antisemite.

Do your kncukles ever itch from punching all of those straw men?
1.14.2008 9:17am