Saturday, January 12, 2008

Statement of Katherine Spillar, executive editor Ms. magazine concerning AJCongress ad

This response to the criticism about its unwarranted rejection of the American Jewish Congress ad was distributed by Ms. Magazine. Decide for yourself whether it's satisfactory. Some observations made by June Neal follow the statement.

For Immediate Release: January 11, 2008
Contact: 310 556 2500

January 11, 2008

"Ms. magazine has been criticized for not running an ad submitted by the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) featuring the photographs of three prominent Israeli women leaders with the statement "This is Israel". In its press release criticizing Ms., AJCongress has taken the position that Ms. therefore must be "hostile to Israel'. This is untrue and unfair.

"Ms. frequently covers women leaders from around the globe. Indeed, the current issue just now hitting newsstands, features a major story profiling Israel's Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, highlighting her career and accomplishments. Livni was one of the women pictured in the AJCongress ad.

"Ms. magazine's policy, however, is to only accept mission-driven advertisements from primarily non-profit, non-partisan organizations that promote women's equality, social justice, sustainable environment, and non-violence. The ad submitted by AJCongress for consideration appeared to be a political ad, and as such, was inconsistent with this policy. With two of the women featured in the ad from one political party in Israel, Ms. concluded that in accepting the ad it could be viewed as though it was supporting one political party over another in the internal domestic politics of a country."

Katherine Spillar
Executive Vice President
Feminist Majority Foundation
Executive Editor, Ms. magazine
433 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, California 90212
310 556 2500 phone
310 556 2509 fax

The following comments about the Ms. Magazine statement are courtesy of June Neal.

  • AJC is non-profit and non-partisan.
  • There were two political parties represented, so how does that make Ms. appear to favor just one?
  • The AJC's ad is a mission-driven statement that promotes women's equality (words taken from the press release below.) That's exactly why the AJC submitted it to the magazine.
  • Putting Livni on the cover certainly promotes one political party—hers—more than the AJC ad did! I think Ms. felt comfortable showcasing Livni because she's liberal and they looked at her as an individual. But the AJC ad sent the message that in Israel, women are equals and hold many high-level positions.
  • To Ms., the AJC ad was an endorsement of Israel's policies and that is something they didn't like.  It's a direct contradiction to their own mission statement.
  • The Fall, 2003 issue featured Queen Noor on the cover. Does that not promote her political party?
  • The Winter, 2007 issue features Nancy Pelosi on the cover, and ironically, uses the very same language as the AJC ad! "This is What A Speaker Looks Like" Does this not promote the Democratic party?

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Goodness! The more I work with abuse victims (like myself) and see the manipulation laid on them by their abusers - the more I see it when I read statements like this.

Policy that is ok for one, and not for another
Indignation that they are question
Indignation at the truth being put in their faces.

Spillar wins my GOLDEN SHOVEL OF THE WEEK award.