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Censorship at the Boston University Daily Free Press

Posted By Sara Dogan On March 3, 2011 @ 12:55 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 37 Comments

The battle for free speech is the front line battle in the defense of the West against the totalitarian jihad being waged by political Islam. This was manifest in the rejection by the ironically named Daily Free Press of a pro-Israel ad from the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Daily Free Press is the “student” newspaper at Boston University and the rejected ad featured the Freedom Center’s “Palestinian Wall of Lies,” a document that refutes the audacious falsehoods that form the jihadists’ case against the Jewish state.

The “Palestinian Wall of Lies” ad was timed to coincide with Boston University’s Israel Apartheid Week, an event organized by Students for Justice in Palestine which is a front group for the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Brotherhood. Among the planned events are the erection of an “Apartheid Wall” featuring the standard lie that Palestine (there has never been such an entity since Roman times) is “occupied” by the Jewish state. In fact, the Jewish state occupies the ruins of the former Turkish empire (the Turks are neither Arabs nor Palestinians). The Boston University hate week also features a speech by Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization, and an event with Noam Lekach and Elinor Amit from a group called “Anarchists Against the Wall” which regularly holds protests against the border fence in the West Bank of Israel which was erected to keep suicide bombers out. It has reduced Palestinian terrorist attacks against Jews by over 90% which leftists at Boston U and other schools evidently want to see resumed. The group also protests what they term “land theft, violence, separation and occupation” – all favored propaganda terms of the left to support the claims of the genocidal terrorists of Hezbollah and Hamas.

The Freedom Center’s ad was designed to counter this outrage – no better than having the Hitler Youth parade on the university quad – by confronting these lies with facts. It was submitted to the Daily Free Press on February 24 and was quickly returned with a terse email stating, “Due to the controversial nature of the ad, the Daily Free Press has decided not to run your ad next week.”  When pressed for a specific cause for the rejection, the Daily Free Press advertising editor Kathryn Palkovics claimed that “it is not a specific phrase or word that violated our policy, but that the general content may be offensive to our readers belonging to certain religious or ethnic groups.” When the Freedom Center asked whether this rule applied to material offensive to Jews (and therefore to the hate week organized by the left), Palkovics failed to answer.

We have submitted a letter to the Daily Free Press protesting this censorship of pro-Israel viewpoints in its pages. The text of the letter and the correspondence with the editors are reproduced below:

Open Letter to the Boston University Daily Free Press:

On February 25th, we submitted an ad to your paper based on our “Palestinian Wall of Lies,” a campaign designed to address and refute frequently-told lies about the state of Israel. The same ad has been submitted to and accepted by other campus papers including the UCLA Daily Bruin.

The Daily Free Press rejected our ad on the spurious ground that it offends the religious and ethnic sensibilities of some of its readers. We know it is spurious because the editors refused to specify any particular phrase or claim in our ad which was offensive, even after we offered to modify the ad.

The “lies” addressed in the ad are factual and should be considered offensive to no one. For instance, the lie that “Israel Occupies Arab Palestine” explains, “There never was an Arab country called ‘Palestine’ or inhabited by ‘Palestinians’” and “The land on which Israel was created…was land that had belonged to Turkey for 400 years.”

Advertising editor Kathryn Palkovics stated in an email, “Our board discussed your new ad last night and we cannot accept your ‘Wall of Lies’ ad for print as it still violates our advertising policy.”  This policy is astonishingly vague and gives the editors leave to reject ads that in their view (however distorted)   “promote discrimination against any gender, ethnicity, nationality, religious group or sexual orientation” or “any content deemed patently offensive to the readership.”

David Horowitz, chairman of the Freedom Center, then wrote to Palkovics stating, “As reported by you, the position of your board appears to be a policy to censor any comment critical of policies and/or positions taken by the terrorist organization Hamas, the government of Gaza, or the Palestinian Authority under a general rule that if you have readers who belong to terrorist organizations that happen to be Muslim or Palestinian your paper will not publish anything objectionable to them. Is this the position of your board?”

Palkovic responded that “The Daily Free Press believes the depiction of a Muslim carrying a gun in the background, as well as the text regarding Arabs as rejecting peace, may be offensive not only to Muslim and Arab students, but to our readership as a whole. Jews and Israelis are not excluded from our policy.”

So apparently the editors of the Free Press object to us stating the fact that the Palestinians have rejected peace—not only once but many, many times. The current position of the Palestinian Authority and the government of Gaza is total rejection of the existence of a Jewish state. How can the Israelis make peace with Palestinians who refuse to recognize their right to exist?

To clarify the issues, we removed the graphic of terrorists holding guns in one hand and Korans in the other in a second version of the ad we submitted, which was also rejected. Despite their claims to the contrary, it is clear that the main impetus behind the editors’ rejection of our ad is that they don’t like our point of view and want to suppress it.  Such censorship is in direct conflict with the openness and free discourse which should exist on a university campus and particularly at Boston University, which is located in the city where the American Revolution began. It shows just how aggressively the left is conducting its war against our founding principles in its zeal to support the Islamic jihad.

Sincerely,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom
David Horowitz Freedom Center

Record of correspondence:

On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 1:53 PM, Elizabeth Ruiz wrote:

Hi Kathryn,

Here is the PDF. We had to send it as a YouSendIt file because it’s too big to attach.

We can either put it on a American Express Card, a Mastercard or you can send the bill to:

David Horowitz Freedom Center
14148 Magnolia Blvd.
#103
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Please let me know which one is the most convenient for you.

Best,
Elizabeth

From: dfpads@gmail.com On Behalf Of Daily Free Press Adv. Dept.
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 3:06 PM
To: Elizabeth Ruiz
Subject: Re: PDF of ad

Hi Elizabeth,

Due to the controversial nature of the ad, the Daily Free Press has decided not to run your ad next week. I have attached our media kit, which includes our advertising policy. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about our decision.

Thank you,
Kathryn

On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 6:37 PM, Elizabeth Ruiz wrote:

Hi Kathryn,

Thank you for getting back to me. Can you please let me know exactly which phrase or word violated your policy?

I am sending a YouSendIt pdf of an edited version of the ad which ran in the UCLA Daily Bruin today. Please let me know if this one works within your policy. If not, can you let me know what we need to change?

Best,

Elizabeth Ruiz

Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2011 2:15 PM
To: Elizabeth Ruiz
Subject: Re: revised ad

Hi Elizabeth,

Our Board of Trustees took a look at your ad, and it is not a specific phrase or word that violated our policy, but that the general content may be offensive to our readers belonging to certain religious or ethnic groups. The edited version of this ad does not comply with our advertising policy.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thank you,
Kathryn

On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 12:44 PM, david horowitz wrote:

Kathryn Palkovics

Dear Kathryn,

I am the president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center which has submitted the ad “Palestinian Wall of Lies” for publication in your paper. As reported by you, the position of your board appears to be a policy to censor any comment critical of policies and/or positions taken by the terrorist organization Hamas, the government of Gaza, or the Palestinian Authority under a general rule that if you have readers who belong to terrorist organizations that happen to be Muslim or Palestinian your paper will not publish anything objectionable to them. Is this the position of your board. Or if this is a general rule, please assure me that you have never published an article critical of Israel that may be seen as offensive to readers who are Jews or Israelis.

Also, please send me a list of your board’s members with their contacts or some authority who can speak for them.

Sincerely,

David Horowitz

From: “Daily Free Press Adv. Dept.”

Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:00:36 -0500

To: david horowitz

Subject: Re: revised ad

Hi David,

Thank you for reaching out to me regarding your “Palestinian Wall of Lies” ad. It is the policy of the Daily Free Press that we will not run ads that “promote discrimination against any gender, ethnicity, nationality, religious group or sexual orientation; or any content deemed patently offensive to the readership.” We try to be fair in rejecting ads promoting any type of political agenda that may be considered harmful or offensive to any reader, regardless of their faith, ethnicity, or beliefs. I have also cc’d our Chairman, Scott McLaughlin (dfpboard@gmail.com) on this email for your reference.

Thank you,
Kathryn Palkovics

On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 1:25 PM, David Horowitz wrote:

My questions are 1) how is this ad offensive to an ethnic or religious group; 2) are Jews and Israelis excluded from your policy; 3) are there any ways we can modify our ad so that it would not seem offensive to your board?

From: dfpads@gmail.com [mailto:dfpads@gmail.com] On Behalf Of Daily Free Press Adv. Dept.
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2011 1:34 PM
To: David Horowitz
Subject: Re: revised ad

Hi David,

The Daily Free Press believes the depiction of a Muslim carrying a gun in the background, as well as the text regarding Arabs as rejecting peace, may be offensive not only to Muslim and Arab students, but to our readership as a whole. Jews and Israelis are not excluded from our policy. We have rejected ads from all types of political and religious institutions in the past in order to protect the integrity of the paper. If you have a copy of the ad with more peaceful undertones, without any violent images or statements of lies, the Daily Free Press would be happy to run that ad.

Thank you,
Kathryn

From: “Daily Free Press Adv. Dept.” <ads@dailyfreepress.com>

Sender: dfpads@gmail.com

Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2011 08:53:55 -0500

To: David Horowitz

Subject: Re: The revised ad

David,

Our board discusses your new ad last night and we cannot accept your “Wall of Lies” ad for print as it still violates our advertising policy.

Thank you,
Kathryn

On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 6:33 PM, David Horowitz wrote:

We made every change from the original ad requested by the editors of the Daily Bruin. What specifically do you find to be offensive to an ethnicity or a religion in this ad that the Bruin editors did not, and also kindly respond to my question about material you have printed that would be offensive to Jews. Also please provide me with the names and contacts of your board members, and in writing the specific policy under which you are refusing to accept this ad.

On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 6:56 PM, Daily Free Press Adv. Dept. <ads@dailyfreepress.com> wrote:

David,

I have reached out to the Board and asked them to reconsider the revised ad material.

I cannot disclose information about past ad rejections and acceptances as this is private information with our clients. The Chairman of the Board is CC’d on this email and can speak on behalf of the Board regarding any questions you have about our Board decisions.

Thank you,
Kathryn

From: “Daily Free Press Adv. Dept.” <ads@dailyfreepress.com>

Sender: dfpads@gmail.com

Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:10:54 -0500

Subject: Re: The revised ad

Hello,

Thank you for sending over your revised ad material. I just took a look over the ad content and because there were little to no changes made to the content of the ad besides the background image, we cannot run this ad. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Kathryn Palkovics


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