Part of an anti-ISIS ad censored by The New York Times. Photo: Shmuley Boteach.
“America reinforces its values and thus its security by being transparent about even the worst abuses of those values, not by hiding the evidence deep in a file drawer.”
This sentence is from a New York Times editorial on Aug. 30, 2014. The editorial was written in response to a decision by Federal District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein forcing the Obama Administration to justify why it will not release approximately 2,000 photos that allegedly document abuse by the American military and investigators in Iraq and Afghanistan, which begs the question of why The New York Times forced us to remove a photograph of a hooded ISIS executioner holding a knife while standing by American journalist James Foley. A copy of the ad is available here.
We were forced to remove the photograph and replace it with one without a knife in order to have the ad appear this Tuesday, Sept. 2, in The New York Times.
Why did the Times condemn the American government from trying to suppress images of alleged abuse on the part of the American military while seeking to suppress the horrors of the world’s most monstrous terror organization which decapitates Americans?
But even that was a lot better than the Los Angeles Times, which demanded the removal also of a second image that depicted Hamas terrorists standing alongside hooded “collaborators” they were about to execute. The Telegraph in London demanded the same in order for the ad to be published.
Even The Wall Street Journal demanded the picture with the knife be replaced.
The only publication that accepted the ad as is was The Washington Post, where it will also appear on Tuesday.
Strangest of all, however, was the Los Angeles Times. The publication first told us that we could not use either image and they would have to be replaced, only to later tell us that they would publish the ad as is if we reduced the images by 2/3.
As of this writing, we have not acceded to their request.
We found all of these demands to be mystifying. The New York Times will publish the most awful Abu Ghraib photos – as they should – but will not publish a picture of an ISIS terrorist holding a knife standing alongside an American. The Wall Street Journal, whose excellent editorial page has been consistently supportive of Israel and has advocated strong military action against ISIS, also objected to the image.
The purpose of our ad was to demonstrate the symmetry between the two terrorist organizations ISIS and Hamas, both of which are bloodthirsty death cults that glorify their public executions of innocent individuals.
Even the Nazis tried to hide their crimes, detonating the gas chambers at Auschwitz just days before its liberation by the Red Army in January 1945.
Likewise the Sonderkommando, the Jewish inmates charged with disposing the bodies from the gas chambers in the crematoria, were labeled by the Nazis Geheimnisträger — bearers of secrets — and were therefore warehoused apart from the other camp inmates. The Nazis did everything to ensure that the Sonderkommandos’ knowledge of genocide did not reach the outside world. So they gassed the Sonderkommando approximately every four months, replacing them with new Jewish inmates who would shortly receive the same fate. Almost no Sonderkommando survived the war.
ISIS and Hamas are different, regularly posting pictures and videos of their monstrous crimes on the Internet as pride in their brutality, to instill fear in their enemies and as recruitment tools for other barbarians to join them.
Yet rather than educating their readers as to the vile nature of these groups, the Los Angeles Times told us they could not publish the photos because it might upset their readers and provoke a backlash.
Still, most of these publications published gruesome pictures of Palestinian children suffering from what they said were Israeli military strikes against the Hamas terrorists. Why would they not also publish pictures of Palestinians who were about to be executed without trial by Hamas?
Even stranger is the fact that the Los Angeles Times rejected the images of Foley and the knife-wielding terrorist in our ads yet used the exact same image on their website twice: once in a picture gallery and the second time in a video.
The Times of London rejected our ad with Elie Wiesel accusing Hamas of child sacrifice, and also rejected our subsequent ad detailing new UN chief Israel investigator William Schabas’ relationship with Ahmedenijad and Iran. The Guardian courageously published our Wiesel ad but then succumbed to huge pressure and complaints. In the days after our ad appeared they published a public letter, written by notable British Israel-haters, that read in part:
“We write to condemn the decision to print a wildly inaccurate and inflammatory advert from supporters of the state of Israel branding the Palestinian resistance as ‘child killers’.”
Apparently an online UK petition against our ad was signed by over 100,000 people, which just goes to show the impact that a single pro-Israel ad can make in a country that is now experiencing a tsunami of anti-Semitism.
Needless to say, both The Times and The Guardian rejected our anti-ISIS ad, which is also curious given that Foley’s terrorist executioner is widely believed to be British-born. A senior UK government source told The Sunday Times that the leading suspect is Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 23-year-old rapper-turned-terrorist who is known to fellow militants as “Jihadi John.” Recently, Bary posted a gruesome online picture of himself holding a severed head.
The people of the UK deserve to know the horrors that are allegedly being perpetrated by their citizens.
And that’s what makes the rejection of our ad by so many publications even more bizarre. Over the last few days there have been countless beheadings perpetrated by extremist Islamic organizations all over the Middle East. There was the beheading of Lebanese soldiers by ISIS the videos of which were posted on the Internet. It was one of the most horrible things I have ever watched and immediately called to mind the savage slaying of Daniel Perl. Then there was the decapitations in Egypt of four alleged Israeli “Mossad spies” in copycat videos that echoed the vile ISIS postings.
Through all this, rather than convey to Western audiences the extent of the danger posed by these barbaric groups, the world’s leading publications instead contort themselves with Victorian prudery around our ad and the image of a terrorist holding a knife.
People deserve to know the extreme danger civilization faces from monstrous, stone-age groups like ISIS and Hamas that are visiting new brutality on an increasingly vulnerable world.