Photo Credit:
Pamela Geller

But it would be wrong to conclude that while AFDI may have won the (legal) battle, it lost the war, because AFDI’s ad was specifically created to counter anti-Israel ads.  If there is an MTA policy that constitutionally prohibits AFDI-like ads, presumably it will also cover anti-Israel ads.  If not, AFDI will surely respond with another counter to any such permissible anti-Israel ads.

AFDI’s ads began running today, as the MTA conceded that under its “existing ad standards as modified by the injunction, the MTA is required to run the ad.”  However, there were numerous reports that the MTA is planning on revising its standards in an executive sessions scheduled for this week.

Advertisement

San Francisco, August – September, 2012

The San Francisco Bay Area Transit system also played host last year to ads that called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, claiming Israel to be unfair and unjust.  AFDI’s anti-Jihad ads began running on the sides of buses in San Francisco on August 7, at least in part based on the New York federal judge’s July 20 decision.

However, two things have since happened.  First, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced it will give all of the proceeds from AFDI’s ads to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission to support “educational activities.”  Secondly, although the Muni is apparently convinced that banning AFDI’s ads would violate the First Amendment, yesterday it began running a disclaimer ad next to every one of AFDI’s ads, which is, according to Geller’s website Atlas Shrugs,

a first in outdoor advertising history, next to our pro-freedom, anti-jihad ads. Their disclaimer reads: “SFMTA Policy Prohibits Discrimination Based On National Origin, Religion and Other Characteristics and Condemns Statements That Describe Any Group As Savages.” Really? Were the Nazis savages? The Taliban? Hamas? Al Qaeda? Boko Haram? Daniel Pearl’s beheaders? The Fogel family’s cold blooded murderers?

Never one to rest on her laurels, Geller’s AFDI immediately responded with ads placed on the sides of San Francisco buses stating: “Why is the city of San Francisco enforcing Sharia law?  San Francisco is running disclaimers next to our pro-Israel ads. Why didn’t they run them next to vicious anti-Israel ads? Stop Anti-Semitism in San Francisco government.”

Washington, D.C., September 2012

Washington, D.C. is another transit system in which anti-Israel ads ran last year.  AFDI chose to run its anti-Jihad ad in the District, and on September 6 entered into a contract with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to run the ad beginning on September 24. However, on September 18, Geller was contacted and informed that “due to the situations happening around the world at this time, we are postponing the start of this program to a future date to be determined.”

The “situations happening around the world” are the violent riots by Muslims which were set off, some claim, by the airing on YouTube of the video, “The Innocence of Muslims.”  That video depicts the Islamic prophet Mohammed as a pedophile and a violence-loving man which is considered blasphemy by strict Muslims.

Although the WMATA is refusing to run the ads, out of “concern for public safety,” the New York City police department spokesperson Paul Browne told a reporter that they “were not anticipating adding any security” to the subways while the ads are up, and that they had “not received any threats or reports of violence relating to them.”

On September 20, AFDI brought a lawsuit seeking an injunction action by the federal district court in Washington, D.C. to require the transit authority to run her ads now, during the time period in which they were contracted to be run. Once again, AFDI’s attorneys are claiming viewpoint discrimination, a classic violation of the First Amendment.  AFDI’s Complaint against the WAMTA states:

The WMATA’s speech restriction is based on the perceived negative response that Plaintiffs’ message might receive from certain viewers based on its content and viewpoint. However, a viewer’s reaction to speech is not a content-neutral basis for regulation. This is known as a “heckler’s veto,” which is impermissible under the First Amendment.

When asked for a comment on the controversy, Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University Law school and an expert in constitutional and international law, had this to say:

The DC Metro is obviously trying to avoid trouble by granting foreign extremists a veto on American speech. They also seem to be using the flimsy pretext that anti-American riots are linked to particular speech by Americans to try to override the First Amendment.

So here is the lineup on Monday, September 24, 2012.

Advertisement

1
2
3
4
SHARE
Previous articleA Muhammed Cartoon a Day
Next articleU.S. Graduates Seek Work in Israel
Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. Charlie, to those who believe falsehood, truth is offensive. Geller speaks the truth. Our Jewish sage, apparently not yours, Rambam, spoke the truth about Muhammad centuries ago, 1172, that he is a false prophet and insane. How would you like to have this truth posted on buses and in subways throughout the world?

    “Time to wake up, smell the coffee and see the writing on the wall.”

  2. Pamela Geller on CNN: Erin Burnett cuts segment at Hamas-CAIR description, AUDIO secretly taped.
    This video is an interesting exercise in interviewing and response.

    A CNN interviewer , Erin Burnett, certainly has a prepared agenda and certainly she got more pushback than she bargained for.

    Pamela Geller on CNN: Erin Burnett cuts segment at Hamas-CAIR description, AUDIO secretly taped.

  3. Rambam literally saved the Sephardic Jews from great persecution by giving them advice which they followed…without an IDF. All Jews everywhere need to learn and follow his advice even today.

    Charlie, go study and learn before you open your mouth against Rambam.

  4. I agree that the wording of this ad could benefit from some professional Madison Av packaging. The wording is not strategically astute. It isn't too hard to make out a case against Islam and societies based upon the Islamic belief system because of their inherent deprivation of civil and human rights as such rights are ordinarily defined by western democratic values.

    In all societies which are based upon the Islamic belief system and sharia law, there is no freedom of speech or freedom of and from religion. Blasphemy and apostasy are serious, even capital, crimes. Misogyny and homophobia are endemic to all Islamic socieites together with female genital mutilation, child brides, honor killing and Koranic justification for wife beating. In Morocco, for example, the law allows a rapist to go scot free by offering to marry his victim.

    Islamic governance is repressive. Premarrital, homosexual and extramarital sex are serious, even capital, crimes. There is no separation of state because unelected clerics are given authority to trump the decisions of elected officials. Just a day or so ago Egyptain President Morsi, great secularist he, stated publicly that in his view neither a Christian nor a woman was fit to be president of Egypt, but that, ultimately, it was a matter for the religious authorities to decide.

    I support the work of those who struggle like PG and Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch.org to out the civil and human rights abuses of Islam and shria law, but, like the wording of this ad, their struggle is often undermined by unwise strategy. This is especially true when such blogsters expand their criticism of the Islamic belief system to a criticism of American domestic and foreign policy in general. They often shoot themselves in the foot by adopting some very questionable positions, positions that can be reasonably argued to be "rightwing." In the process they alienate liberals and progressives who would otherwise be much more supportive of them.

    They may win the legal battle to have this ad published, but I wonder how much good it will do to their cause in the long run.

  5. WHEN RIFQA BARY RAN AWAY FROM HOME TO SAVE HER LIFE, PAMELA GELLER STOOD UP FOR HER. SHE IS A WOMAN OF GREAT COMPASSION AND LOVE FOR "RIGHT", WHICH SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS ANYMORE. PEOPLE WHO MURDER THEIR DAUGHTERS, PEOPLE WHO BEHEAD THEIR WIVES, PEOPLE WHO POUR ACID ON LITTLE GIRL'S FACES, PEOPLE WHO ATTACK THE INNOCENT AND MURDER ENTIRE FAMILIES, PEOPLE WHO THREATEN TO MURDER HALF OF THE WORLD POPULATION IF THEY DO NOT BOW DOWN TO THEIR "GOD", PEOPLE WHO THREATEN TO WIPE THE JEWS OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH—-THESE PEOPLE ARE SAVAGE, SAVAGE, SAVAGE, SERVANTS OF HELL AND NEED TO BE LABELED FOR WHAT THEY ARE. PEOPLE WHO CANNOT SEE THIS SAVAGERY FOR WHAT IT IS ARE MINDLESS HYPNOTIZED, PROGRAMMED ROBOTS WHO HAVE NO WORKING CONSCIENCE LEFT. HOORAY FOR PAMELA, THE IRON LADY WARRIOR FOR GOOD!!!

  6. " SHE IS A WOMAN OF GREAT COMPASSION "

    Her Randian ideology denigrates compassion!

    In addition to being an anti-Muslim bigot, Geller is also a nativist. Bary was an illegal immigrant and Geller would have had her rounded up and deported along with her family!

Loading Facebook Comments ...