US media reject campaign against Ahmadinejad

CNN calls Jewish Agency ad against the Iranian president 'political'.

Ahmadinejad dont mess (photo credit: AP)
Ahmadinejad dont mess
(photo credit: AP)
Leading American news media have refused to sell Internet site ad space to the Jewish Agency for a campaign against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to Jewish Agency (JA) Spokesman Yarden Vatikay. The JA and the World Zionist Organization (WZO) recently approached over 40 of the US's leading news media through Network Solutions, an Internet ad company, said Vatikay. But none agreed to sell banner space. "They claimed the ad was a political statement and, therefore, disqualified," said Vatikay. "I find it unbelievable that a campaign against hatred and anti-Semitism could be considered political." Shlomo Molla, the head of the WZO's Department for Zionist Institutions, who also heads the Jewish Agency's campaign against anti-Semitism, said that he was "deeply disappointed" with America's news media for refusing to sell the JA space on their Web sites. "It seems as if history is repeating itself," said Molla, 39. "People stood by passively when Hitler rose to power also." The only Internet sites that agreed to sell the banner space to the JA and WZO were JTA Global Jewish News, Haaretz's English edition, Google, Network and The Jerusalem Post. CNN, one of the news media that Network Solutions said it approached, admitted that it refused to sell the banner space to the JA and the WZO. "CNN International has for many years had in place strict and broad guidelines in relation to political and advocacy advertising on its international services, in respect to the diverse and often strict advertising laws in the many countries in which it operates," CNN said in an official response. "These mean that CNN does not accept advertisements that are deemed to fall into this category." The Jerusalem Post contacted several additional media outlets that appear on a list supplied by the JA - including ABC News, the Boston Herald, Cox news, and Clear Channel for responses. All denied knowledge of the JA ad campaign. Rob Klein, vice president of Integrated Sales at the Village Voice, who also said he knew nothing about the campaign, said his paper reserved the right to reject advertising at its discretion for a variety of reasons. "It could be because of the way something is written or the political content," said Klein. "It goes on a case-by-case basis. Each one has to be reviewed." Michael Cohen, publisher of the Village Voice, said he hadn't heard of any advertisement being rejected, including the JA's ad. He said it was "highly unlikely" that the ad had been rejected without his knowledge because "sales representatives work based on commission and it is in their interest to sell as much ad space as possible." The ad, which was designed by Arad Communications, pictures Ahmadinejad with subtitles of his most virulently anti-Zionist statements flashing in red letters. "As the imam said, 'Israel must be wiped off the map,' and "Anyone who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury" are some of the quotes. A recording of Ahmadinejad addressing a cheering crowd is played over and over. The site also invites viewers to sign a petition censuring the Iranian president for his anti-Semitic comments. The banner with an AOL link to the site shows flies buzzing around a light bulb. "When you ignore the risks you get burned," states the banner.