The magazine co-founded by Gloria Steinem doesn’t seem to like Jews when they’re Israeli Jews. Or at least, that’s the impression they’re giving after rejecting an ad for Israel that the AJC wanted to place.
The magazine has turned down an AJCongress advertisement that did nothing more controversial than call attention to the fact that women currently occupy three of the most significant positions of power in Israeli public life. The proposed ad (The Ad Ms. Didn’t Want You To See) included a text that merely said, â€œThis is Israel,â€ under photographs of President of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinish, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.
â€œWhat other conclusion can we reach,â€ asked Richard Gordon, President of AJCongress, â€œexcept that the publishers âˆ’ and if the publishers are right, a significant number of Ms. Magazine readers âˆ’ are so hostile to Israel that they do not even want to see an ad that says something positive about Israel?â€
When Director of AJCongressâ€™ Commission for Womenâ€™s Empowerment Harriet Kurlander tried to place the ad, she was told that publishing the ad â€œwill set off a firestormâ€ and that â€œthere are very strong opinionsâ€ on the subject âˆ’ 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.
A Ms. Magazine representative, Susie Gilligan, whom the Ms. Magazine masthead lists under the publisherâ€™s office, told Ms. Kurlander that the magazine â€œwould love to have an ad from you on womenâ€™s empowerment, or reproductive freedom, but not on this.â€ Ms. Gilligan failed to elaborate what â€œthisâ€ is.
I’d be very interested in getting an answer to what “this” is. Because running an ad about three powerful Israeli women saying, “This is Israel,” is an example of women’s empowerment. The magazine ran a cover story on Nancy Pelosi in the winter 2007 magazine, with a headline that seems, well, familiar.
This Is What a Speaker Looks Like
Nancy Pelosi has finally cracked the marble ceiling of the Capitol. Now what will she do with the unprecedented power she has earned?
Ms. is proud to be the first magazine to feature on its cover Nancy Pelosi, the first woman and first self-identified feminist Speaker of the House. This 2002 Ms. Woman of the Year gives Ms. an exclusive interview in our cover story, â€œThis Is What A Speaker Looks Like,â€ by Marie Cocco, in which we focus on her substance, rather than her clothes and jewelry.
The headline is parallel to the title of the ad that the AJC wanted to place: “This is Israel.” Click on the link. Look at the ad.
Of course, Ms. Magazine has published many articles about Arab and Islamic women in power.
Mr. Gordon noted that while Israel was apparently too hot to handle, Ms. Magazine did not extend that taboo to Arab and Moslem women. â€œWhat is even more amazing is that, while refusing to publish a simple ad praising three very notable women, women who embody the ideal that Ms. Magazine seemingly espouses, Ms. has run a cover article in the Fall 2003 issue on Queen Noor of Jordan, has featured a number of articles on Muslim women, and even ran an article in the Winter 2004 issue entitled, â€˜Images of Palestine,â€™ which discussed the Ramallah Film Festival and gave sympathetic reviews to films concerning â€˜the liberation of South Lebanonâ€™ from Israel as well as numerous films which portrayed terrorism as legitimate â€˜revolutionaryâ€™ activity against Israel and miscast Israelâ€™s activities to counter terrorism as â€˜oppressive.â€™â€
And anti-Israel screeds, even at the height of the wave of suicide bombings during the bloody spring of 2002.
Jerusalem Spring 2002–Sharon seems to be our worst nightmare. Since this Intifada erupted, over 1,700 Palestinians and over 400 Israelis have been killed, with some 35,000 Palestinians and 4,000 Israelis wounded.* The terrorist attacks in Israel are horrible, but they have been used by Sharon to carry out deeds far in excess of “destroying the terrorist infrastructure.” The Israeli army deliberately trashed the inside of every Palestinian institution that it did not entirely destroy-schools, charities, health organizations, banks, radio and TV stations, even a puppet theater, [and] all the records of every government ministry. In a few locations, Israeli tanks even rolled over mosques and cemeteries….
(Note that the author glosses over the terrorist attacks, which were sometimes coming at the rate of two and three suicide bombings per day, and immediately attacks Ariel Sharon for sending in the IDF to stop the suicide bombings, shootings, and other attacks on Israelis. The rest of the article is devoted to the plight of the Palestinians.)
The pro-Palestinian side of the conflict is well-represented. Ms. Magazine covers women’s international political empowerment. There’s an article about the first women in the U.K. high court, one about Israeli mothers marching for peace, international legal discrimination of women, women who changed the face of politics in Northern Ireland, a Saudi feminist princess, a boatload of stories on peace activists, a female Israeli conscientious objector, and a ton of stories on Iraq.
But Ms. magazine refused to run an ad with three pictures of Israeli women in high positions: A Supreme Court judge, the vice president of the country, and the speaker of the Knesset, Israeli’s parliament. The American Jewish Congress was told this was going to “set off a firestorm.” Really? Portraying powerful women in a Mideast nation is a bad thing?
Apparently, when that nation is Israel, and the magazine is Ms., the answer is: Yes.
Phyllis Chesler has written and spoken about anti-Semitism in the world of feminists.
Like men, women are not necessarily compassionate or even fair towards other women â€” especially if those other women are identified as “evil racist settlers” and the enemies of a beloved revolution. Feminists are no better but perhaps no worse than other women in this regard.
[…] Many feminists who are quite principled on certain issues (equal pay for equal work, reproductive freedom, gay rights, sexual and domestic violence, childcare, etc.) unthinkingly believe that their critiques of patriarchy and of specific American policies can and must be transformed into a generalized hatred of America â€” the very country in which they practice their dissent â€” and transferred to the Middle East. Many feminists are totally blind to their own Jew hatred and are now more obsessed with the occupation of disputed lands in the Middle East than they are with the occupation of women’s bodies worldwide.
It appears she was not wrong.
When I tell people that I am a feminist, I usually have to make the distinction that I am not one of those feminists. Because I am a feminist. I believe in equal rights and equal opportunities for women. I believe that we have not yet achieved equality in the U.S., although we have come farther than ever before. I believe that most women are feminists like me. But the ones who run the organizations and the magazines—those women are not my friends. And yes, there are a significant number of anti-Israel Jewish women in those organizations. Shame on them.
As always, when it comes to Israel, there is a double standard. If those women were from any other nation in the world, Ms. Magazine would have been happy to run an ad featuring the three most powerful women in that country. But not if the women are from Israel.
What time is it, folks? That’s right. It’s Israeli Double Standard Time. It occurs every day of the week that ends with a y.