Monday, January 14, 2008

Ms. Magazine and Israel

Bravo to Ms. Magazine for making the right decision. It is a decision that will bring them unjustified criticism, but I hope they will not back down.

The American Jewish Congress submitted an ad to Ms. featuring the photos of three Israeli political leaders, President of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinish, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik. The text underneath the photos reads "This is Israel."

Ms. was right to reject the ad. The ad would be seen as a statement of support for the Israeli government. The Ms. mission of promoting women's rights around the world would be tainted if the magazine began making statements of support for Israel or any other government. The ad implicitly does just that.

Of course, the AJC wasted no time in saying that the ad rejection showed "hostility to Israel." They also created a straw man by pointing out that Ms. has featured articles about Arab women and about Nancy Pelosi's leadership in Congress. The AJC would have a good point if they were referring to the acceptance of similar ads, but that is not the case. Instead they prove the flimsiness of their argument by comparing the apple of articles to the oranges of advertisements.

The real reason the AJC has its collective pants in a twist is because Ms. has written critically about Israel's foreign policy and about the plight of Palestinian women living under Israel's occupation. That is the true cause of the bogus outrage.

By the way, if the AJC is so eager to put the lives of Israeli women in the spotlight, they should submit an ad about Moshe Katsav. Katsav is the former president who resigned after being on the verge of indictment for raping two female employees. In return for sparing the government embarrassment, he was allowed to plead guilty to sexual harassment. His accusers now have no legal recourse.

Perhaps Ms. should help shed light on Israeli politics and its treatment of women by profiling Katsav. That attention should make the AJC very happy.

"Moshe Katsav. This is Israel."