The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Reader survey: Google's Israel ads

For a while now, I've been somewhat uneasy about the presence of pro-Israel ads on this site. I don't choose them, the near-sentient megacomputer at Google does. (In the future, it will send a robot back in time to kill me.) While I don't think many of this site's readers want to send flowers to Israel or pizzas to IDF soldiers, I keep receiving emails complaining about this and that ad. I've even gotten in touch with Google minions and asked if there's any way to filter these ads. They said that basically no -- although the adsense program does allow you to specifically filter certain ad sites, but you have to know the site URL to block it. While I think that surely the technology to run keyword filters can't be that difficult for a company like Google, I'm more or less stuck with it.

It's not like I make much money from the ads anyway (although it covers hosting and a little more) -- especially compared to the money I lose by blogging rather than working -- so I could just take down the ads. Or someone can suggest a better ad service than Google's. My question to readers is, how much do you really care? My feeling about it is that a pro-Israel ad on this site amounts to a waste of money for the advertisers -- money that they won't be spending on perpetuating the occupation of Palestine. So I'm inclined to just ignore the ads, much as I do on any other website. I've adopted this reasoning the hard way: a few years ago, I was a regular reader and occasional contributor to Eric Alterman's blog, Altercation. I once emailed Alterman about the conservative ads that appeared on his blog (for instance plugging Ann Coulter's new book) and he tersely answered in a one-line email:

Grow up. They're wasting their money.
He later explained why exactly this was a waste in a post. I think he is right.

If you really care about this, leave a comment and let me know what you think.