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The Schmooze

Variety Kills Ad Denouncing Israel Trip in Oscars Swag Bag

Jewish Voice for Peace is denouncing Variety magazine for rejecting its ad urging Oscars nominees to shun a free trip to Israel that was included in a $55,000 “swag bag” of goodies.

According to JVP, Variety initially accepted payment for the #SkiptheTrip ad, but later informed the organization that they could not publish it unless it had a softer tone.

“This is a clear and disturbing example of the constraints on public debate about Palestine and Israel,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, which cosponsored the ad with the Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Variety did not return calls for comment.

But JVP says Variety’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Patrice Atiee told the group that “The topic is too sensitive at this time and we will not be in a position to add it to next week’s edition.”

In 2011, Variety published an ad from the Emergency Committee to Protect Israel, which stated that Obama treats Israel like a punching bag. It detailed specific circumstances in which Obama did not show support for Israel. The ad also appeared in The New York Times and The Miami Herald.

The swag bag for nominees is provided by the marketing agency Distinctive Assets. In an unrelated dispute, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sued Distinctive Assets for promoting the bag as official Oscar swag, even though the Academy did not approve any of the items.

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