How can any group, let alone a county in the United States, pretend its own policies on bus advertising isn’t offensive if the mere verbiage incites hate? This is exactly what’s happening in Seattle’s King County while the fringe group, Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, defends its planned ads that tout, â€œIsraeli War Crimes.â€ The group’s spokesperson, Ed Mast, claims thatÂ the ads â€œare meant to educate people that our U.S. tax dollars are being misspent to support human rights violations overseas.â€
Gee, here we go again with groups that invert and misuse the meaning of those two all-important buzzwords â€œhuman rights.â€ I guess Mast is too shortsighted to realize that the hateful ads he’s referring to are violating the human rights of every Jew, Israeli and pro-Israel person on the planet. Me and my entire family included. If we want to start talking about where U.S. tax dollars are going then lets write the ads in language that REALLY addresses where funds are being misused. Shall we? How about some mega-campaigns that say:
â€œGaza:Â a UN SupÂported WelÂfare Enclave for Terroristsâ€
â€œThe UN Ranks Gaza Among the Top Per-Capita Aid RecipÂiÂents On the Planetâ€
â€œFrom 2000 â€“ 2009, Gaza & the West Bank Pocketed 3.6 Trillion in Aidâ€
Somehow, I think Mast and his people wouldn’t be too pleased about what alternative bus advertising might look like.
Luckily, some sane voices have risen to the forefront. A group I’m a founder of, Act For Israel, is personally thanking King County Council President Peter Von Reichbauer who has stood up for Israel and has stated that â€œthe bus advertising is ‘polarizing political statements,’ and are also sending a message of hate.â€ Thank you Von Reichbauer for making moves to squash ads that constitute antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda as they delegitimize Israel: a country of 7.3 million.
Von Reichbauer’s letter Monday asked Executive Dow Constantine to review how the county accepts advertising for its buses. It’s our hope that the county will take immediate measures and change their guidelines to stem the tide of hate:
In one letter, Von Reichbauer says, â€œI am a strong advocate of freedom of speech and a strong believer of common sense. And I believe very strongly that dangerous language can create dangerous environments in a society. I believe that this proposed bus advertising needs to be reviewed and reevaluated.â€
Act For Israel had much to say about this ad campaign. See our response to the planned anti-Israel bus ads HERE. Write King County and let them know that you will not stand for someone passing off antisemitism as â€œeducationâ€ HERE.
Interestingly enough, while Metro decides whether to do the right thing and pull the anti-Israel bus ads, an American Civil Liberties group is suggesting that Metro run the ads. Not running the ads was even compared in this news article to needing to ban future ads from groups like Boys and Girls Club, Puget Sound Blood Center and United Way. These comparisons are laughable.
Time will tell what King County Metro does. Pro-Israel groups and concerned citizens will not let this one drop. Antisemitism and hate speech are not education. As for me and Act For Israel, we will continue eradicating hate ads, one bus at a time.