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“Seattle Area Transit Authority to Display Pro-Israel Advertisement after Legal Action Threatened” AFLC, July 1, 2013

In a victory for free speech, the King County Metro Transit (“Metro”) announced today that it has agreed to run a pro-Israel advertisement on its public transportation vehicles after facing the threat of legal action from the advertisement’s sponsors.  Metro had repeatedly denied the advertisement until the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) threatened to sue the agency on behalf of the advertisement’s sponsors, the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI), and its executive directors, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.  The proposed advertisement states, “The Palestinian Authority Is Calling For A Jew-Free State.  Equal Rights for Jews.”

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The proposed advertisement is a direct response to an anti-Israel/pro-Palestine advertisement that Metro did not object to running on its public vehicles.  That advertisement states, “Equal Rights for Palestinians.  The Way to Peace.”

David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, commented: “Time and again, government transit agencies censor FDI’s advertisements to placate the anti-Israel, pro-sharia crowd, whose agenda is exposed when our clients use public platforms to break through political correctness to highlight the important issues concerning Israel and the rapid rise of sharia-adherent Islam.”

Yerushalmi continued: “And time again, we have to push back against these unconstitutional restrictions on our clients’ free speech.  However, government agencies, after witnessing our successful challenges in New York and Washington, D.C., are starting to understand the costs of violating the Constitution, whether through losing in litigation or by the negative exposure of their actions.”

Robert Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, added: “There was simply no legal basis for Metro to reject our clients’ proposed advertisement in the first instance.  Indeed, by rejecting the advertisement, Metro was engaging in viewpoint discrimination, which is an egregious form of content discrimination that is prohibited by the First Amendment in all forums.”

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