Thursday, January 12, 2006


The Flame Wars – What Kinda Nation is This?

Jeff Blankfort writes:

For many years, that darling of the left liberals, The Nation, has been publishing ads by FLAME which deny the existence of the Palestinian people, their expulsion by the Israelis, the fact of continuing Israeli occupation and the oppression that has accompanied it. I long ago gave up subscribing to the magazine because it defended their running of the ad along the lines that we see below, although they would refuse to run an ad that denied the Jewish holocaust which is equivalent to what FLAME does with the Palestinian experience. Since it is fairly well known that the majority of the Nation's readers are liberal Jews, the magazine's editors are well aware what would be its fate if they would run the equivalent ad denying the Jewish experience at the hands of the Nazis. There would be a boycott. So, under the present circumstances, may I suggest it's time for us to boycott the Nation?

Here is some sample texts of some of these ads:

An unwarranted request. There is no such thing as a “Palestinian people.” That is a concept that, by the drumbeat of incessant propaganda, has been foisted on the world. The so-called Palestinians are the same Arabs that live in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Never at any time in history did the “Palestinians” have a homeland, nor did they ever demand one.

The proclivity to war and to terror on the part of the Arab-Moslems has nothing or little to do with Israel. It is the result of their culture and of their history. It is a symptom of a crisis of identity and of confidence. For centuries, the historical Moslem empires of the Middle East were confident societies, which long led the despised Christian West in terms of science and economic well-being, as well as in military power. But then a lasting reversal and decline set in, in which the loss of Spain and the ascent of the West and its towering achievements in every human endeavor played a key role. This thirst for war against each other and against the hated infidels — foremost among them the Israelis — and the lust for terror will not end until Arab-Moslems come to terms with the West and accept its predominant role. But that may take a very long time – in fact, it may never happen. “… the lust for terror will not end until Arab-Moslems come to terms with the West and accept its predominant role.”

This is what The Nation wrote in response to a complaint:

"I was forwarded your letter regarding the FLAME ad and want you to know that the 1/23/06 issue contains this note from our editors:
The inside back cover ad by an anti-Palestinian group called Flame, which appeared in our January 9/16 issue, sparked a flurry of “How could you! “ (or worse) e-mails from our intelligent readers. The ad, which purports to expose propaganda myths circulated by the Palestinians (the most blatant of which, according to the ad, is that these non-existent Palestinians have a legitimate claim to the land that eternally belongs to Israel), is of course historically inaccurate, mendacious and racist. It purveys one of the most destructive myths of Israel’s right wing, namely that the Palestinians have no legitimate national rights., and they should be ignored rather than negotiated with. This myth has long been a drag on efforts for a peaceful solution. So how, you might ask, can we run such an ad? We run it because The Nation’s policy on advertising acceptability starts with the presumption that “we will accept advertising even if the views expressed are repugnant to those of the editors.” (And let’s be clear: the editors find the views of Flame quite repugnant.) We do impose limits on commercial advertisements, barring, for example, those that are false, lurid or patently fraudulent, illegal or libelous. However, ads that present a political point of view are considered to fall under our editorial commitment to freedom of speech and, perforce, granted the same latitude we claim for our own views. But we do reserve the right to denounce the content of such ads, just as our editorials denounce ideas we abhor. And that is what we do here.

Please do not judge our magazine too harshly as the advertising policy is a very "liberal" one and we re-visit it often to make certain that it is still in keeping with our values as an independent opinion journal.

Ellen Bollinger Vice President Advertising

The Nation

Basem, an activist of Al-Awda writes to the Nation:

A couple of comments: the Nation editors obviously do not consider this ad as false, otherwise they would have banned it under their 'commecial' policy. Although they state it is 'historically inaccurate, mendacious and racist', they still are willing to run it on the grounds that it is a political ad! Now some time ago, by their own admission, the Nation editors rejected an ad denying the Holocaust -- which I am certain they also considered "historically inaccurate, mendacious and racist". Question to be posed to the editors: why the double standards? To my simple mind, the mark of a true progressive is that she/he maintains a single standard.

Over to you, if you are sufficiently enraged by both the ad and the Nation's hypocrisy.


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