56 thoughts on “Seattle Metro Bus Ad Controversy: King County Suspends Free Speech – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. i do not believe that the the metro chose to pull the ads solely because of the protests, which have been going on for the past 2 weeks.

    i believe the ads were pulled as a result of other groups attempting to buy responding political ads, some of which were pro israel, and others which were to be anti islamic terror.

    as accepting one ad opens the doors to all ads, the metro is rethinking its policy.

    question is, will mast take the metro to court.

    1. You don’t know what you’re talking about. The campaign against the ads is beyond intense. The Jewish community has pulled out all the stops to get these ads taken down & they’ve succeeded.

      They already accepted the ad hence the door has already been opened by them. They signed a contract & then reneged on it. They’re not “rethinking their policy.” They’re renouncing the ad they formally accepted. Now they’re merely trying to figure out how to make it all kosher in retrospect.

      1. They are not denouncing free speech, they are preventing hate speech. They are attempting to prevent crime, a function of good government. They are forbidding the use of public property for the expansion of hatred.

        1. they are preventing hate speech. They are attempting to prevent crime

          Stuff & nonsense. No hate speech law in any nation that has one would prohibit that statement. Crime? What crime? You mean the imagined crime of someone killing a Seattle Jew because there is a bus ad that says Israel committed war crimes? What planet are you on?

          They are forbidding the use of public property for the expansion of hatred.

          Gee, now here I thought that a nation that made war on a virtually defenseless population & killed 1,400 in 3 weeks time of whom 1,100 were civilians–I thought that such an act of war would much better be described as “expansion of hatred.” A response to such a massacre claiming an injustice was done to the victims it seems to me is legitimate political speech protected by the U.S. Constitution. Interesting how you have yr priorities so completely screwed up.

    1. Do I have to? Ugh, I guess I better. Thanks for sending me the link. I better take some Pepto Bismol before I read this nonsense.

      Just read it & it made my blood boil. I added a few new paragraphs to the post denouncing it. Conservatives like to decray the Nanny State. Well, we have a Nanny Metro here in Seattle. Protecting us fr. the bad, bad things we shouldn’t have to hear or read.

      1. will you now take back your assertion that i have no idea what im talking about?

        “Metro sells advertising to raise revenues to provide transit service. Metro’s existing policy restricts advertising that can be reasonably foreseen to result in harm to, disruption of, or interference with the transportation system. Given the dramatic escalation of debate in the past few days over these proposed ads, and the submission of inflammatory response ads, there is now an unacceptable risk of harm to or disruption of service to our customers should these ads run.”

        and i think that mast and his ism related org should sue…and all ads should run

        1. I don’t care what Metro claims is the reason. Every reasonable person knows what the real reason was & it was fully articulated in Jane Sprague’s nonsense statement parroting the local Israel lobby talking pts. There is no possible way that this ad will result in harm or disruption to the bus system & such a claim is simply not credible. There isn’t even a credible claim that David Horowitz’s Islamophobic drivel will result in danger to the precious equilibrium of Seattlites. We can handle it & our political leaders don’t need to protect us from it.

          1. Read down to comment #43 here by Colin Murray


            Stand with Us played a LOUD role in this incident. I have personally witnessed what these people are capable of doing when they wish to disrupt something when they sent their members to a talk by Hedy Epstein almost four years ago at the Beverly Hills Library. Women in Black had hosted the event. The room was rather small. They arranged the seating so that the SWU people sat in the back rows. My daughter who was 16 at the time and I were sitting in the row directly in front of them. As Hedy was speaking there was a gentleman mumbling vile obscenities so that my daughter and I heard them clearly. I cannot tell you how uncomfortable and SCARY it was. I turned around several times to ask them to be quiet only to be told in a tone from hell to f–k off “jew hater”. I chose to ignore the retort. As soon as Hedy finished speaking the man JUMPED up and started in. His venom permeated the room and the tension was THICK. Several persons came and forced him to sit down. No sooner had that occurred than a woman with SWU-jumped up and started shouting. I’m telling you all reading here, there was no telling what was going to happen because they brought about 15-20 people with them. The shouting was EXTREMELY uncomfortable.

            Read again:

            “Metro’s existing policy restricts advertising that can be reasonably foreseen to result in harm to, disruption of, or interference with the transportation system”

            I’m just putting it out there…….. King County CAVED to threats of disruption to their transportation system in my humble opinion.

          2. Now is it safe to say that any political party rallies or activism should be shut down because it could be potentially disruptive or could cause someone to become so angry that they may become violent? With this type of reasoning no protest should be allowed in America ever. The Tea party movement,activist against war? Pro life/choice? Censorship of any kind is more dangerous than hurting someone’s feelings. If someone is prone to violence they are going to be violent no matter what we do. Freedom of speech is dieing.

          3. Richard and Jo, I agree with both of you. While StandWithUs (funded by the Israeli government via the Jewish Agency) was heavily involved, the result is- yet again- the deafening silence about all things Palestinian. (As you mention, Richard, it’s not a complete loss, seeing as so much noise was actually made over a form of protest that has to do directly with the Palestinian issue.) Though the advancement of Palestinian freedom is my main activity, I have to say that Metro’s behavior worries me much more in the vein of “more traditional” leftist issues- capitalism. Because of a highly “inflammatory” political event, the company will now abandon any public responsibility, and bombard us solely with doughnut ads. touche for the numbing of minds that keep us thinking that 21 flavors is the epitome of our freedom, when brown people are bombed to death and seek refuge in our “enlightened countries”, where we’ll be kind and let them clean the McDonalds toilet, and in 2 generations, when they still don’t have equal opportunity, we’ll say “see? It’s because they’re savage Arabs”.
            And by the way, Zionism IS capitalism. You can see it in Netanyahu, you can see it with manifestos of Zionist orgs, such as the Reut Inst, and you can see it through hundreds of pages of the magnificent whoprofits project.

  2. With some issues, the simpler they appear, the tougher they really are. This is a simple issue of a factual statement in the ad, a simple statement of the so-called Free Speech that we all talk about supporting and a simple issue of bringing facts to the public arena.
    Simple, but really difficult.

    It is pretty impossible to fight the collective power of the Blindly pro-Israeli groups, they have more money individually then the entire wealth of the ad campaigners.

    It is also easy to see how a politician…any politician who wishes to be able to run for office ever again, to oppose the Blindly Pro-Israeli groups (who often include right-wing Chrurches for some preverse reasons).

    As for “Free Speech “, it is only the privilege of those who hold power; the weak are not permitted “Free” speech unless they toe the line drawn by those with power. This message would not have been allowed even if the bald wording were replaced with less harsh wording for, ANY wording that criticizes Israel, is immediately tarred.

    The truth is that the US should stop funding repression everywhere and that includes Israel, Egypt and the many other darlings of the United States; the fact is that it will not happen. Unfortunately, that is also the only path to peace…anywhere.

    THe actions of Israel (as opposed to “Jews”) are repugnant to humanity and have been a continuous series of war crimes from Day One. Israel has flagrantly violated Geneva Conventions on Occupation, on war, on human rights and on just about every other area…without any consequences. Yet the rhetoric from the Blindly pro-Israeli sides is all about destroying Iran for things we are supposed to fantasize, it will do.

    How to undo this Gordian Knot?

    There needs to be a civil discussion about the wrongs committed, there needs to be a just resolution to the wrongs and then, the there faiths need to live on in that blood-soaked land in peace.

    Don’t tell me it cannot be done; that answer lives only in the mids of the mean-spirited and the narrow-minded.

  3. The group should obtain an injunction against the Kings County Government and the Mayor to force the ads back up. If that fails, it can be appealed all the way through to the Supreme Court, where it will be impossible for the Justices to rule against a stare decisis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stare_decisis) that outlines what inflammatory speech is (not this) and what viewpoint discrimination is (this).

    By trying to stifle the truth, the Lobby has amplified it ten fold. The continued denial in the face of damning evidence will only lead to increased and undue hostility against Jews instead of against Israeli policies. The appropriate action would be for the Lobby to step aside so that other Jewish voices can be heard that speak against Israel policies as well (to unequivocally indicate that Jews and Israelis are not interchangeable terms). Instead, they continually press this solidarity and do not understand that they are turning the masses against themselves and others who do not deserve it.

    Anyone can can even Google Image search for the term “Gaza” and count MORE UNIQUE pictures of DEAD PALESTINIAN BABIES than there were EVER Israeli deaths from rocket fire. Not women, not men, not boys or girls, but infants — just babies.

    Not to mention that one medium sized forest fire killed 42 people who did not deserve to die (due to Israel’s policies and mismanagement once again), which is roughly 4-5x the amount of Israelis EVER killed by 10,000 or more supposed “rockets”.

    Rocket fire was a prevailing reason for invading Gaza and initiating Operation Cast Lead. Indeed, this is the reason the government of Israel maintains today for their incursion.

    BT’Selem’s Casualty Figures for those interested: http://www.btselem.org/Download/20090909_Cast_Lead_Fatalities_Eng.pdf

    What is uncivil about telling the truth? How can we sugar coat the facts above to please the Lobby’s spin?

    1. Rocket fire was a prevailing reason for invading Gaza and initiating Operation Cast Lead.

      Which, of course, was a typical bit of Israeli dishonesty. In fact, as most of us realize, the success of the cease fire made it impossible for Israel to justify its planned assault on Gaza, so they had to create a pretext by egregiously and provocatively breaking the ceasefire in a set of escalating aggressions, forcing a response from the Gazans. This pattern of behavior has been well documented since the earliest days of the State, and during the pre-state period as well.

      1. Richard,
        Thanks for great article. Shirin, great post. Thank you.

        My wish for this Christmas is simple: May God give our elected official the backbone to stand for what is right and not be intimidated by the Israeli apologists.

  4. I would guess that the regulation will withstand a constitutional challenge since it’s content neutral. And I have a hard time seeing a federal judge ordering a public transit company to display offensive advertisements.

    As far as breach of contract goes, I be very surprised if the contract does not limit the transit company’s liability to the price paid for the advertising. So the original advertiser is going to get a refund and I doubt it will require a lawsuit. Probably they already mailed the guy a check.

    ” I am a Jew, not an Israeli.”

    For better or for worse, this distinction is rather blurry for a lot of anti-Semites. Also, a lot of the criticism of Israel out there is informed by anti-Semitism. I would guess around 75% of it.

    1. # sabril)
      “Also, a lot of the criticism of Israel out there is informed by anti-semitism. I would guess around 75% of it”.

      Yeah, I guess you’re right. Personnally I would rather go as high as 99,99% !! The members of my family (my mum included) who had to leave Palestine because of Zionism, and the ones still living there as second-class citizens, have always told me that they are against the ethnic cleansing, the stealing of their property and the daily discrimination ONLY because this is done by JEWS.

      If the occupiers had been Japanese or Maoris, they would just have loved it. They would even have received them with flowers, makhlouba and a Debka !

    2. a lot of the criticism of Israel out there is informed by anti-Semitism. I would guess around 75% of it.

      I would guess you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about & I find it offensive that you would once again repeat the calumny at this blog that criticism of Israeli policy, in which I engage, is anti-Semitic. Stop substituting yr own ill informed opinion for truth.

      1. I agree with Richard.

        Sabril you really do not know what you are talking about. This ad has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. the Zionists and the Israeli apologist have used this term to scare every attempt of criticism toward Israel. For what is worth, Israeli apologist in the USA and everywhere else are doing a disservice to Jews. Just remember what Ariel Sharon (the most extremist murderous Zionist terrorist around) said: ”
        “the lowest form of scum on earth is the Christian Zionist but don’t tell them that we need them”

        “Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons. They’re usually fought for hegemony, for business. And then of course there’s the business of war.”

    3. Sabril did you read some sort of layman Internet opinion on this and throw out some terms figuring no one would be the wiser about your assessment of Constitutional validity?

      You’re completely on Mars with what you just stated. The challenge would be against the administrative ruling germinated by a misbehaving government actor that has impeded a full right under the First Amendment. Even if we were in a different situation where your argument would be more grounded, we’d still be on the moon.

      Let me guess, they don’t teach Con Law in Israel because Israel doesn’t have one. Do they teach anything there that is real or just delusion upon delusion, never thinking that you can’t control people’s minds like Joseph Goebbels forever??

      Richard was correct, you’re completely talking out of your tukhus.

    4. a lot of the criticism of Israel out there is informed by anti-Semitism. I would guess around 75% of it.

      And what dark, moist part of your lower anatomy did you pull THAT out of (rhetorical question – no answer needed)?

      In fact, I would bet that Zionism and Israel have received more support than criticism from anti-Semites. Many active European supporters of Zionism, including Lord Balfour, were known anti-Semites who hoped that the creation of a Jewish homeland or state somewhere outside Europe would result in a significant out-migration of Jews.

      And these days you have as your strongest and most passionate supporters the so-called Christian Zionists who are using Israel to forward their crazy end-of-days scenario which will result in the complete obliteration of the Jewish People. With friends like that who are bent on the complete destruction of Jews and Judaism Jews really don’t need any enemies at all.

  5. “The members of my family (my mum included) who had to leave Palestine because of Zionism”

    I will respond to your point shortly, but first can you tell me exactly why your mother had to leave Palestine because of Zionism? Where in Palestine was she and when did she leave?


    1. This is not the topic of this file. I was only responding to your crap about antisemitism being the main reason for anti-Israeli feelings.
      My Mum was 3 years old in ’48 so I guess she doesn’t really know why she had to leave – “Precocious Antisemitic Disorder”, I guess.

      And by the way,
      ‘Aîd al-milâd as-sa’îd to all the Christians around the world, and a special thought for those in the Holy Land.

    2. By the way, sabril, I happen to have been acquainted in my life with a number of Jews who left Palestine because of Zionism, so it was not just the million or so non-Jewish Palestinians who were forced to leave Palestine, but a significant number of native Palestinian Jews who found that Zionism ruined their lives in their homeland.

  6. It is only a matter of time before criticizing Israel is illegal. The recent FBI raids on peace groups targeted Individuals who had visited Palestine, so for practical purposes it has already begun.

    1. Paul, You are correct.the list of the peace activist has been compiled, especially against the Israeli atrocities. We should not be discouraged or else, we will have a complete police state (we are half way but not complete).

  7. “It is only a matter of time before criticizing Israel is illegal.”

    You wouldn’t guess this by watching the UN. Or Human Rights Watch.

  8. What this new policy means is that there can be no non-commercial advertising on Seattle Metro buses. That not only impacts the justice movement for Palestine, but it also means no ads, for example, from environmental groups (but an ad from BP will be considered commercial), no ads for any kind of political advocacy. This can spread like a cancer, and further erode what democratic freedoms we have.

    We must not let this stand, and now this battle must be joined by all groups who will be impacted adversely by this new anti-free speech policy.

    1. That’s easy to fix: simply open a for-profit business for the sole purpose of running the ad. Let them taste their own medicine.

    1. Now that ad is not only out of date (there hasn’t been a bus bombing in years), but simply a lie. How can that idiot w. a straight face claim that U.S. taxpayers are financing Palestinian terror?? Horowitz is really pathological. Off his nut. But thanks for proving it. Truly.

        1. Mahmoud `Abbas is not the head of a state, and his persecution of political enemies does not fit the definition of terrorism, therefore it cannot realistically be described as state terrorism.

          This is not to be interpreted as a defense of the sell-out Mahmoud `Abbas.

      1. Richard, though I am not a Jew, I often participate in the Jewish Voice for Peace vigil in downtown Chicago. There is an opposition group that shows up across the street from us and they invariably have a banner advising passersby to stop U.S. taxpayer support of Palestinian terror. So, crazy as that is, it is a theme used by some supporters of Israel. These folks love to display two huge flags, one Old Glory and the other the blue and white flag of Israel.

        BTW: re your comment about no daylight – I call my blog Daylight Between America and Israel and I aim it at Americans, whether Jewish or not.

  9. “America is not a place in which Jews will be blamed for Israel’s alleged crimes. I reject this notion.”

    I’m glad you do. I would also like if you could back this rejection up with data. Does the Arab-Israeli conflict has any influence on antisemitism in America? I don’t know. I did, however, find this:

    A report by the ADL from 2002 about antisemitism in America:
    Here’s a quote:

    “We have said that anti-Israel feelings are linked to anti-Semitism, and the responses from Americans in this poll make this connection clear,” said Mr. Foxman. “Anti-Israel sentiments are used in this country to fuel, legitimize and rationalize anti-Semitism.”

    1. Do you think I credit anything the ADL has to say that relates anti-Semitism to anti-Zionism? Not at all. They are entirely untrustworthy on this subject.

      How can I prove a negative. There is no violence against Jews because of Israeli crimes. The closest it came to that was Islamists addressing an alleged bomb to a Jewish institution in Chicago. But this was an act by Islamists in Yemen & not by Americans. As I said, Americans don’t maintain this belief.

    2. Ah yes, the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-discrimination organization that led the charge against Park51, and has been caught with many spies in the US.

      I’m convinced.


    3. Yakov,

      Do not let them speak on your behalf. The ADL, AIPAC, Stand with Us and even John Haggy are misleading the everybody and I would not trust any of them to be accurate with one ounce of accuracy. They are using the good name of Judaism and Jews to promote the American expansion and control all over. Jews in Israel (aside from the nut cases) are as victim as the Palestinians. Think about it. Ask Jews who lived in Palestine prior to the creation of the Zionist State of Israel. http://www.nkusa.org/

        1. Have you ever seen or read one of those Israeli Jewish ‘humanists’ telling how hard it is for them, to be obliged to do what they do to the Palestinians, how much it is agaist their moral ethos. I’m sure they consider themselves as THE victims. I don’t know why, but Shimon Peres – who’s of course not even close to being a humanist – comes to my mind.

          1. Remember the odiously narcissistic remark made by Golda Meir about never being able to forgive the “Arabs”, not for killing Israelis’ sons, but for forcing Israelis to kill “Arabs'” sons?

          2. That was exacly what I was thinking of, but I couldn’t remember who said it. Good old-“the-Palestinians . . . Such-People-Don’t-Exist”-Golda, “the only man in the government”.

        2. Shirin, What I said is “They are using the good name of Judaism and Jews to promote the American expansion and control all over. Jews in Israel (aside from the nut cases) are as victim as the Palestinians”.

          The complete sentence.. please.

          1. Are you seriously blaming the United States for Israel’s crimes and its twisted society?!

            Jews in Israel are not the victims here.

  10. Shirin,

    Yes, that is what I meant. I blame the USA for the Israeli’s crimes. The USA supports Israel politically in the International arena, financially with $10 billion/year, military with all the ammunition & spare parts needed (sixth fleet), economically with the free trade agreements. In addition, supplying with the nutcase settlers from Boston, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and else where. When Israeli attack on one of its neighbors is immanent, thousands of Zionist Americans leave their families, jobs, schools and go joined the Israeli military, ask the former chief of staff, Rham Emmanuel.
    Israel spyed and stall the USA militeary secrets more than any other country including the former USSR. The US Congress is an Israeli occupied territory.

    Happy Holidays and New Year.

    1. I see. So, by helping the Israelis to realize the Zionist dream, the United States is victimizing Israeli Jews. Interesting take on things.

  11. Shirin, I appreciate your interest in the subject and would love to discuss the matter further. Do you live within the Puget Sound Area?. It would be great idea if we can meet over a cup of coffee and invite Richard and few others supporters.

    It is a big experiment executed by the Israeli Government, supported and paid for by the Israelis. The West Bank and Gaza are a testing ground for a long term experiment. The Palestinians are being used as gunny pigs. Look at what the Palestinians have been going through for the past 62 years! The American are implementing the same tactics and technology in Iraq and Afghanistan and so on.

    1. Sorry, Mr. Zaytoon, but no, I do not live in the Puget Sound area, though it is very lovely there (but too cold for me!).

      In any case, I just don’t buy your conspiracy theory, nor is it supported by reality. It is true that as occupiers in Iraq (and to a much lesser degree in Afghanistan) the Americans have taken quite a few pages from the Israeli playbook in their attempt to control the Iraqi population. However, the goals and purposes of the Americans’ occupations are entirely different from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and please, please, please let us stop leaving the Golan Heights out of the discussion.

      It is not all part of some grand American plan for which the Palestinians are being used as guinea pigs, it is far simpler than that. Try applying Occam’s razor and you will have a far more likely explanation than your current theory.

  12. I loved your piece, Richard Silverstein! Yes, the “security concerns” are embarassing nonsense. But my first and last question on the matter is, though: should public transport really be a battleground to exchange blows of sloganistic political messages? Rather than “inflammatory”, if one wants to get by in daily life with some healthy escapism, these kinds of ads might be a little too much “in your face”. But my first and last answer to that is: what the hell, at least it’s more entertaining that commercial ads! Yeah, bring on Horrorwitz’s ads, that’d be a laugh!!!

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