New York Times Initially Rejected Anti-Hamas Ad, Only Published Revised Version After ‘Epic Battle,’ Group Claims
The New York Times initially refused to publish an ad from Rabbi Shmuely Boteach’s World Values Network calling out three celebrities for falsely accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, according to Boteach.
The Times eventually backed down and agreed to print the ad in the Saturday, May 22 newspaper, but only after demanding significant changes, Boteach told The Algemeiner.
“It was an epic battle to get it published,” Boteach said in a phone interview.
The original version of the ad is viewable on Boteach’s Instagram page. The headline reads, “Bella, Gigi and Dua The ‘It Girls’ of Terror-Splaining.” It features images of Bella and Gigi Hadid and Dua Lipa, accompanied by menacing terrorists brandishing weapons. Beneath that image are the words, “Meet the new Hamas Influencer Brigades.”
“They had it for a whole week and they told us mid-week there were issues. They would not be specific. And then, suddenly, on Friday, just as the deadline was arriving, they said, ‘no, it’s been rejected,’” Boteach said. After being told at 1:54 pm Friday “the ad is rejected,” Boteach and his team rewrote it and redesigned it into almost a completely new ad. That version was subject to further Times pushback, until minutes before the Sabbath, he said. “They haggled with us — this line, that line. We had to remind them that as the newspaper of record, they ought to believe in the First Amendment and in the right of a nation that experienced a genocide just 75 years ago, to defend itself.”
As it finally appeared in the Times, the headline of the ad says, “Bella, Gigi and Dua, Hamas calls for a second Holocaust. Condemn them now.” The menacing terrorists brandishing weapons have been replaced by an image of rockets being fired through a night sky.
Dua Lipa, a singer with over 66 million Instagram followers, responded to the ad with a statement that said in part, “this is the price you pay for defending Palestinian human rights.” Her comments brought international news attention to the Times ad.
Boteach said he was pleased the Times finally did publish the ad. He said he hadn’t been tracking the three social media influencers until his daughters brought them to his attention.
The World Values Network has been a frequent Times advertiser for years.
Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.