Approved by Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA)
Rejected by Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA)
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority approved the display of an anti-Israel ad it had previously rejected – top image. The ad below was rejected. One rips Israel. The other states a fact. But Boston has a very anti-Israel climate – colleges, even synagogues routinely favor the “oppressed” Arabs over the terrorized Jews.
The hate-Israel poster, which features a large photograph of a child, accuses Israel’s military of using US tax dollars to kill 2,000 Palestinian children since September 2000, and calls for the end of US military aid to Israel.
It is one of three ads initially approved by the MBTA in June 2014, but later removed. The governing body of the state’s public transportation system then said the ads violated its policy against language that demeans or disparages individuals or groups.
An advocate of supposed Arab victim-hood by Jews, Richard Colbath-Hess (listing on Google as http://www.rcolbathhess.com/ 79 Amory St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 354-6471), a board member of Palestine Advocacy Project and a Jewish-American faculty member at the University of Massachusetts claimed,
American tax dollars help the Israeli government maintain a brutal military occupation, which has denied the Palestinian people their basic rights for decades.
These ads show what Israel’s occupation and apartheid really look like, and it is important for Americans to see that.
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the initial rejection on behalf of the Palestinian rights organization, Palestine Advocacy Project. The group used to be called Ads Against Apartheid, proclaims that the poster is a form of First Amendment speech and should be allowed in public. (And the pro-Israel poster on top of this page is not?) It does not violate the MBTA policy against demeaning ads, according to Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director of ACLU’s Massachusetts branch. (ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts. 211 Congress Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02110. 617-482-3170)
A spokesman for the MBTA said these advertisements comply with guidelines described as “viewpoint neutral standards for all advertising displayed on MBTA property.”
“To reduce unnecessary litigation which can arise from issue-based ads of this nature, the MBTA is currently considering whether to amend its advertising guidelines and in the future will not accept ads concerning political issues or matters of public debate,” he added.
Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, 126 High St. Boston, MA 02110 617.457.8600, said:
We do not believe that the MBTA nor any other government authority should regularly be in the business of banning speech. However, spreading distortions and inaccuracies about a complex political situation will achieve no positive benefit in the search for a lasting end to the conflict in the region, a cause to which we and all reasonable people are committed.
Jeremy, that’s a weak response to hatred posters for hundreds of thousands to view in Boston and surrounding communities, but weak seems to be the operative word in American Jewish reaction to hate-Israel campaigns. Hiding didn’t work in 1933 Germany, or during the pogroms in Ukraine and Poland, or while thousands were murdered after the 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain. Cambridge is peaceful and sublime, hard for folks there to understand that bowing your head in Israel’s neighborhood, often leads to it being severed.