January 23, 2008–New York, NY–MADRE supports the decision of Ms. Magazine to decline a paid ad from the American Jewish Congress (AJC) featuring three prominent Israeli women along with the text, "This is Israel."
The mission of Ms. is to report on US and global struggles to combat sex discrimination and oppression and to provide feminists with the information they need to take action to win equality for women and girls. The AJC ad does not further this mission and the magazine only accepts advertisements that do so. In fact, the AJC (formerly a liberal organization) today espouses hardline neoconservative politics that are clearly at odds with the rest of Ms. Magazine's mission "to promote women's equality, social justice, sustainable environment, and non-violence."
The AJC claims that Ms.' rejection of its ad amounts to "hostility to Israel." But longtime readers of Ms. know that the publication has long provided a platform for Israeli women. Indeed, the last 16 issues have included 11 articles about prominent Israeli women and the feminist movement in Israel. In fact, the issue in which the AJC ad was to run includes a two-page article on Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, one of the women featured in the ad.
Women in Israel, Pakistan, India, the UK, and other places where a few women occupy positions of power know that women leaders don't necessarily achieve - or even support - gender equality for the majority. Yet, the AJC's portrait of three high-powered Israeli women accompanied by the text "This is Israel" perpetuates that very fallacy.
By featuring photos of Israeli Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, and Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, the AJC ad carries an implicit statement of support for the Israeli government. It is not the role of Ms. to endorse Israel or any other government.