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Censoring History: The American Historical Association Censors Ad for Book on the US and the Creation of Israel

By Alison Weir
The American Historical Association (AHA) has refused to publish a paid advertisement for my book, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

This type of action demonstrates how the history discussed in my book has, in fact, so often remained hidden. It follows an incident a few years ago in which the largest chain of history magazines in the U.S. refused any advertisement by the Council for the National Interest, based on the accusation that CNI is “anti-Israel.”* CNI is a 20-year-old organization that works for policies that represent American interests and principles.

The AHA was founded in 1884 and chartered by Congress in 1889 “to serve the interests of the entire discipline of history,” according to its website. It is the largest professional history organization in the U.S. and publishes two journals, American Historical Reviewand Perspectives on History. The organization says the latter is “the principal source for news and information about the historical discipline.”

According to AHA Executive Director Jim Grossman in a phone conversation with me, AHA would not publish the ad for several reasons: The book “does not fall within the scope of the mission of the AHA, the book is “advocacy not scholarship,” it “has not been peer reviewed,” and it “has not been reviewed by the mainstream press.”

None of these objections – even if they were accurate – seem relevant to a paid advertisement, and none violate AHA’s published advertising guidelines in any way. In fact, AHA guidelines particularly make clear that advertising in an AHA publication “does not necessarily constitute endorsement or approval of any product or service advertised.”

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