Israel, Apartheid, and American Journalism

Feel free to take this as yet another occasion to discuss “cancel culture,” or as an invitation to activism, but below the fold you’ll find a letter from Jewish Voice for Peace of Northern New Jersey to the publisher of The Jersey Journal over placement of this ad in that paper. 

JVP Spring campaign

Dear members and friends,
In early March, Northern New Jersey JVP attempted to place the [preceding] ad in the Jersey Journal, a Hudson County daily newspaper[.]

Placement of this simple but powerful statement, for which we would have paid the Journal $770 for both digital and print ads, was going along smoothly until we received the following brusque statement from the paper’s business department: “Per the publisher of The Jersey Journal, we will not accept your ad for either print or digital.” When one of our members wrote a polite letter requesting an explanation, the publisher, David Blomquist, sent a personal response, peremptorily stating that the ad “was not a good fit.”

We are indignant and have written the following response to Mr. Blomquist, which we hope to have signed by a great many of our members and supporters.

Dear David Blomquist,
We are appalled by your recent refusal to publish an ad by Jewish Voice for Peace of Northern New Jersey publicizing and supporting the Amnesty International report condemning Israeli apartheid as a crime against humanity. When asked for an explanation, you said only that it wasn’t “a good fit.”

While you have a legal right to reject any ad, we think you betray the fundamental principles of honest journalism: to expand the information available to the public and spur open discussion of important issues. By refusing to publish a legitimate ad that represents the views of an increasingly large number of Jewish New Jerseyans, and then refusing to discuss your reasons for doing so, you are negating the most basic tenets of good journalism.

This incident reveals that Jersey Journal/NJ.Com cannot be relied on to be a trusted source of information; rather it is a propaganda outlet, at least as far as issues affecting Israel/Palestine are concerned. And if it is not reliable on this issue, what is its reliability on other issues?
JVP would be delighted to debate you in any forum on the facts behind the Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B’Tselem reports describing Israel as having instituted a system of apartheid against Palestinians within its own borders and in Gaza and the Occupied Territories, as well as on the responsibilities of the press in a free society.

We hope that as members and friends of JVP you would be willing to add your name to the letter above to Mr. Blomquist. If so, please send an email to <jvp.nnj@gmail.com> saying you would like to sign the letter to Blomquist and telling us exactly how you would like your name to appear. (eg. Name only, Name and State, Name, State and Affiliation) Please let us know by March 25th whether we may add your signature to this important response to an overt attempt at censorship.

You may be interested to know that a version of the ad has been accepted on the website of the Montclair Local. https://www.montclairlocal.news/

Best to all,

Wendy Fisher and Steve Shalom

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