Ms. Magazine refuses to publish ad about Israel’s most powerful women

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, “This is Israel,” 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.

“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.

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.

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.

An excerpt:

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, “This Is What A Speaker Looks Like,” 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. “What 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, ‘Images of Palestine,’ which discussed the Ramallah Film Festival and gave sympathetic reviews to films concerning ‘the liberation of South Lebanon’ from Israel as well as numerous films which portrayed terrorism as legitimate ‘revolutionary’ activity against Israel and miscast Israel’s activities to counter terrorism as ‘oppressive.’”

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 — 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 — the very country in which they practice their dissent — 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.

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23 Responses to Ms. Magazine refuses to publish ad about Israel’s most powerful women

  1. plum says:

    Didn’t know there still was a ‘MS’ magazine. Wonder what their circulation is?

  2. Herschel says:

    Probably less after their attitude towards Israel gets publicized!

  3. Karen says:

    I also believe in equal rights and opportunities. But I stopped calling myself a feminist long ago. I don’t want to be associated with the feminist’s hatred of men, America, and now, obviously, Jews.

  4. clyde says:

    Thanks to the internet, the ad will be seen by a whole lot more people than Ms subscribers. A triumph for Israel and the AJC; a terrible exposure of Ms magazine. One can only hope that subscribers will distance themselves from this editorial decision.

  5. Sue says:

    Whatever made anyone think that Ms. Magazine was “fair”, “balanced”, “interested” in anything other than their tinfoil hatted looniness? Please, what they think is so irrevelant it is funny!

  6. Roger says:

    Thanks for linking this: MS magazine continues its slide into obscurity. It seems to me Israel is much more enlightened about women’s equality than is Ms Magazine. The old line feminist movement has finally achieved what males did: create a age and wealth based division between the old guard and non-baby boom women.

  7. DADvocate says:

    I’m sure MS. has its reasons. Just like every anti-Semite, racist, and bigot has had their reasons throughout history. It’s more than a double standard. The left is rife with anti-Semitism.

  8. The title “feminist” might as well be a descriptor for a political box anymore. If you agree to stay within the confines of this arbitrary set of political boundaries, you are a feminist. Pity that those boundaries keep getting smaller and the accomplishments of those within so circumscribed.

    It’s as if women were in need of liberation from the tradition bound sexists who keep them in their place…didn’t we do that thirty-five years ago?

  9. Anonymous says:

    They are not feminists but Leftists – there is a difference. They tend to align themselves with the worst oppressors of women throughout the world.

  10. Passerby says:

    That JDC ad screams for a photoshopping contest.

    Like, say … this
    (beefcake advisory – safe for work at any non-Puritan run workplace.)

  11. Passerby says:

    and, by JDC I meant to type AJC. I’m breaking in a new pair of fingers.


  12. Noga says:

    Such an event was thoroughly predictable, after the WH feminist-in-chief decided to enact a little segregationist policies at Annapolis, when she insisted, upon the behest of the Saudis, that the Israeli delegation enter the conference hall through a different door to the Arab and the rest of the delegates. Surely no one imagined that such a blatant gesture of exclusion would not soon be emulated somewhere by someone. The MS editors must be a fast learner.

    The magazine’s action is reminiscent of book burning practices in the past.

    I have lost my respect for feminists when I saw them succumb to cultural relativism, and abandon the women and young girls of the Islamic world to the brutalities of Sharia.

  13. Franita says:

    The agenda behind the MS magazines refusal to accept the advertisement depicting 3 successful Israeli women when they have no qualms about promoting arab women is patently obvious.
    I live in Australia and have not read or seen this magazine but as a feminist and Zionist I encourage all those Americans of similar inclination to boycott the magazine, by not buying it of not placing their advertisements with it. This would surely give them the message that their behaviour is unacceptable and also signal other pubications with anti Israel bias from following in their footsteps.

  14. LynnB says:

    Noga (#13)–

    There was no separate entrance at Annapolis. That story has been acknowledged as false by both the US State Dept. and the Israeli foreign ministry as well as the journalist who originally reported it.

  15. Alex Bensky says:

    I used to insist that I was still a liberal, Meryl, until I finally realized that terms do change meaning and it would be confusing at best for me to insist to people that I was a liberal. I wonder if the same thing hasn’t happened to “feminist.”

    After I stopped calling myself a liberal I used to say that I was part of the Joe Lieberman wing of the Democratic Party. So much for that.

  16. Karen says:

    While the magazine has the right to decide what goes into their magazine, this reeks of blatant hypocrisy. If Queen Noor (Jordan) and Nancy Pelosi(American) are featured why not Jewish successful women also? I would think they’d want anyone who would show how important women affect the world. These women will be noted in history. Will MS. magazine even be remembered?

  17. Herschel says:

    For someone to demonize Israel at every opportunity is classic anti-Semitism, and that to me, is the litmus test of whom, and what organizations, I will support.

    Unfortunately, the left wing has corrupted liberal Democrat ideology so much that I can no longer support any of the Democrat’s candidates. The other sad fact is if they are this wrong about Israel, what other long held liberal beliefs are also bogus?

  18. Alex Bensky says:

    The magazine’s line now is that two of the women in the ad were from a particular party and it’s not the magazine’s policy to get involved in the domestic politcs of another country.
    Pull the other one, ladies, it’s got bells on it.

  19. m shoag says:

    best response is to cancel subscriptions to this piece of garbagew and tell them why.

  20. Passing By says:

    4,000 years of jealousy and Jew-hating. Nothing new here. The liberals, anti-Semites and Islamists have become boring and predictable with their recycled and rehashed expressions of hatred for the Chosen People.

  21. Noga says:

    LynnB (#14):

    Thanks for correcting me on this.

  22. Laura SF says:

    I subscribed to Ms. for 12 years – from its inception to when it got bought by an Australian firm and redesigned as a glossy women’s magazine. It flopped badly and was bought up by Robin Morgan, who put it out as a no-ads “news-oriented” magazine. At that point, I gave it another chance – but I ended up canceling after about 2 issues, because of its grotesque anti-Israel slant (courtesy of Ms. Morgan, Ms. Dworkin, et al). I wrote them a long letter about it… from which they dishonestly quoted 2 lines that made it sound like *I* was criticizing Israel. They’ve long since lost any credibility… they’re just another far-left organ.

  23. Elisson says:

    If I had a subscription, I’d cancel it.

    Oh, wait: I have the first issue down in the basement somewhere. Maybe I’ll pull it out and urinate on it.

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