Ms. Magazine Fends Off Charges of Anti-Israel Bias

By Staff
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Two unlikely foes have been trading barbs of late: the feminist magazine <i>Ms.</i> and the American Jewish Congress. The AJCongress, whose mission is to “defend Jewish interests at home and abroad,” took the first public swing by <a title=”harshly criticizing <I>Ms.</I>” href=”″ target=”_blank”>harshly criticizing <i>Ms.</i>
</a> for its refusal to run <a title=”an AJCongress ad” href=”″ target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>an AJCongress ad</font>
</a> (PDF) featuring photos of three women who occupy high-level positions in the Israeli government. In a statement on the AJCongress website, Richard Gordon, president of the AJCongress, accused the magazine’s publishers of being “hostile” to Israel; similar charges of anti-Israel bias soon popped up <a title=”across” href=”” target=”_blank”>across</a>
<a title=”the” href=”″ target=”_blank”>the</a>
<a title=”blogosphere” href=”″ target=”_blank”>blogosphere</a>. “For a publication that holds itself out to be in the forefront of the Women’s Movement,” Gordon said, “this is nothing short of disgusting and despicable.”</p>
<i>Ms.</i> responded to the organization’s criticism with <a title=”its own statement” href=”” target=”_blank”>its own strongly worded statement</a>, explaining that the ad was rejected for being “inconsistent” with the magazine’s ad policy, which accepts “only mission-driven advertisements from primarily non-profit, non-partisan organizations that promote women’s equality, social justice, sustainable environment, and non-violence.” She also points out that the Winter 2008 issue of <i>Ms.</i>, which hit newsstands a few weeks ago, includes a <a title=”profile” href=”” target=”_blank”>profile</a> (PDF) of Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, one of the women pictured in the AJCongress ad. And Clare Kinberg, the editor of <i>Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal</i>, defended <i>Ms.</i> in <a title=”the Forward” href=”” target=”_blank”>a letter to the<em> Forward</em>
</a> a few weeks ago, accusing the AJCongress of “playing on fears of antisemitism.”  </p>
<p>On the other hand, it’s possible that <i>Ms.</i> is vetting its ads too cautiously. The magazine’s editors should expect that their readers can differentiate the viewpoint of the magazine from those presented in advertisements. Or <i>Ms.</i> should simply establish an “accept all” policy to avoid these types of traps, <a title=”as Katha Pollitt suggests in a column for the<I> Nation</I>” href=”” target=”_blank”>as Katha Pollitt suggests in a column for the<i> Nation</i>
</a>. Pollitt writes that by accepting all ads, as the <i>Nation</i> does, “You don’t have to explain why you rejected this ad last week when you accepted that one three years ago, you don’t get embroiled in ideological flash fires over words you didn’t write, and you don’t get enmeshed in other people’s agendas.”</p>
<p>(Thanks, <i>
<a title=”New York Sun” href=”″ target=”_blank”>New York Sun</a>
<a title=”Sarah Pumroy” href=””>Sarah Pumroy</a>

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