For King County Violence & Money Trump Free Speech & Human Rights - by Mark E. Smith
When I got an email alert saying that King County had declined a human rights bus ad but had accepted a hate ad, I sent an email to King County officials (much my letter was copied from the alert, with some personal modifications). Their response and my subsequent reply are posted below. Please note that the human rights ad met their criteria and was only declined due to Zionist threats of violence.
|To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Dow.Constantine@kingcounty.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Pamela.Quadros@titan360.com|
To Whom It May Concern:
I'm Jewish and am concerned about human rights for all people,
including both Jews and Palestinians. Did you know that there are
Jewish Holocaust survivors in Israel who have gotten death threats
because they have been protesting that Jews are now treating
Palestinians the same way that the Nazis treated Jews? One Jewish
Holocaust survivor in Israel remembered when Germans wouldn't rent to
Jews and vowed never to be like that, so he rented rooms to Arab
students, but was forced to evict them when his Jewish neighbors
threatened to kill him. The Palestinian Authority has never called for
a Jew-free state, but the state of Israel has proclaimed itself
"Jewish-only" and has blockaded Gaza and maintains many illegal
settlements. Settlers persecute Palestinians mercilessly, destroying
their crops, denying them water, destroying their homes, and
physically assaulting them. Israel is a nuclear power and is in no
danger from anyone. The Torah says not to treat your neighbor in ways
that you would consider hateful if done to you. Jews are people who
follow Torah, and as a Jew I can tell you that Israel is not treating
the Palestinians as Israelis want to be treated, and therefore they
are not following Torah and should not be calling themselves Jews. The
Orthodox rabbis interpret the word "neighbor" to mean "a Jew who lives
nearby," but anyone with a dictionary knows that is an incorrect
meaning. A neighbor is anyone who lives nearby. Some are good, some
are not, but all are neighbors.
King County Metro has plans to place false and misleading ads on Metro
buses that violate Metro's own advertising policy guidelines (Section
6.2.4). The planned ad, paid for by the notorious Pamela Geller and
her Islamophobic organization The American Freedom Defense Initiative,
copies and uses the same photo as SeaMAC's recent bus ad, also used by
the Rachel Corrie Foundation in Olympia, which said "Equal Rights For
Palestinians - The Way To Peace,"changing the text to read: "The
Palestinian Authority Is Calling for a Jew-Free State - Equal Rights
for Jews." It is both false and misleading.
The statement in the planned ad is contradicted by numerous
statements made over the years by representatives of the Palestinian
Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Most recently,
Mahmoud Habbash, the Palestinian minister of religious affairs, told
Politico that a future Palestinian state "will be open to all its
citizens, regardless of their religion. We want a civil state, which
in it live all the faiths, Muslim, Christian and Jews. . . ."
The misleading ad distorts current policy of the Palestinian
Authority. Some Israeli officials have tried to insist that a
Palestinian state should contain military posts for Israeli soldiers
and even special settlements for Israeli settlers with special rights
and privileges. Palestinian officials have stated that this is not
The planned ad falsely suggests that Palestinians are persecutors.
In fact, the Palestinian people are currently stateless with 4 million
Palestinians living under an Israeli military occupation, more than
1.5 million Palestinians living in Israel as second-class citizens
denied equal rights, and millions of other Palestinians still living
in refugee camps and denied the right to return to their homes.
This is not the first time that Pamela Geller has made false
statements meant to incite hatred toward other people and religions.
The respected Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups,
has profiled both Geller and her fellow co-founder of the AFDI, David
Yerushalmi. The Center called Geller the "anti-Muslim movement's most
visible and flamboyant figurehead." Geller has claimed that President
Barack Obama is the "love child" of the late Malcolm X. In April 2010
she accused the President of having "Islamic overlords" and of wanting
"jihad to win." She has slandered the religion of Islam as the "most
radical and extreme ideology on the face of the Earth" and has accused
black South Africans of conducting a "genocide" against white South
Africans. Similarly, the Law Center has noted Yerushalmi's blatantly
racist statements and calls for violence. In 2007 Yerushalmi called
for "WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful" and referred to blacks
as "the most murderous of peoples."
Please rethink what you're doing, as it is completely wrong.
Mark E. Smith
Dear Mark E. Smith:
Thank you for contacting King County to share your concerns regarding the advertisement sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
Metro has contracted with consultants to sell advertising space on its buses since 1973. In 2012, transit advertising provided over $5.479 million in revenue which goes toward funding public transportation in King County. In a great majority of the cases, the advertising that appears on Metro buses is non-controversial. It is acknowledged, however, that each of us will occasionally find text or graphics used in advertising to be offensive or contrary to our own personal beliefs.
The text of the ad you were concerned about states:
The Palestinian Authority
Is Calling For A Jew-Free State
Equal Rights For Jews
PAID FOR BY THE AMERICAN FREEDOM DEFENSE INITIATIVE AFDI.US
I want to assure you that in this and every case we carefully review proposed ads to determine if they comply with King County's Transit Advertising Policy. The policy can be found at http://metro.kingcounty.gov/
After a careful review of the text, graphics, and documentation for the proposed ad sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) we determined that the proposed ad complied with the Transit Advertising Policy and could be posted.
The advertising space on the exterior of Metro's buses is a limited public forum. Speech restrictions in this limited public forum must be both viewpoint neutral and reasonable. As with any complex issue, and especially the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict, there are many statements from different perspectives and viewpoints. Many of the statements are ambiguous, shift and evolve over time, or are subject to interpretation. Your objection appears to focus on the words used by the speaker to express her particular viewpoint. I hope you can understand, as a governmental entity, King County has limited ability to restrict the content of advertising due to the free speech provisions of the state and federal constitutions. King County must remain viewpoint neutral.
It's important to clarify some points about the November 2010 Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) ad that stated:
ISRAELI WAR CRIMES
YOUR TAX DOLLLARS
Paid for by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, P.O. Box 17857, Seattle, WA 98127
Metro approved that ad and was prepared to post it on 12 buses for four weeks starting Dec. 27, 2010. Only after threats of disruptions to service and violence - and on the recommendation of law enforcement - did Metro reverse its decision and decline to allow the posting of those ads.
Ads from different perspectives of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have appeared on Metro buses this year. An ad sponsored by SeaMAC, in addition to the ad sponsored by the AFDI, was determined to be in compliance with Metro's policy and posted on Metro buses for several months.
Please note, the fact that a particular ad appears on a Metro bus should not be construed to mean that the County has, in any sense, approved or endorsed the subject of the ad or the text/graphics chosen by the speaker. Subsection 2.5 of the policy specifically states:
2.5 Disclaimer of Endorsement: The County's acceptance of an advertisement does not constitute express or implied endorsement of the content or message of the advertisement, including any person, organization, products, services, information or viewpoints contained therein, or of the advertisement sponsor itself. This endorsement disclaimer extends to and includes content that may be found via internet addresses, quick response (QR) codes, and telephone numbers that may appear in posted ads and that direct viewers to external sources of information.
To reiterate, we look at whether or not a proposed ad complies with our policy and we must maintain a position of neutrality with regard to who the advertiser is and their viewpoint. I want to let you know that we respect your perspective about this ad, and want to thank you very much for taking the time to express your concerns to King County.
Metro Transit Division
The letter from General Manager Kevin Desmond, copied below, says,
"Only after threats of disruptions to service and violence - and on
the recommendation of law enforcement - did Metro reverse its decision
and decline to allow the posting of those ads."
What you are saying is that unless human rights advocates become as
violent as Zionist war criminals, you will continue to decline human
rights ads and only allow hate speech.
If you had asked the Nazis, they would have told you that the Jews
were criminals and blamed everything they did on their victims, just
as Pamela Geller and her hate group blames everything Israel does on
their Palestinian victims.
That you only respect violence, and nothing else, explains clearly why
you side with war criminals and oppose human rights.
--Mark E. Smith
So there is it. Because the Zionist hate group threatened violence, King County declined an ad that met all its criteria and had been fully approved, and substituted a hate ad. And since human rights activists are not going to threaten violence, and King County respects only violence and has no respect for free speech, the hate ads stand and the human rights ads will continue to be declined. In King County, as in Israel, might makes right and laws count for nothing at all.
After such an easy win, I predict that King County Zionists will soon threaten violence if King County continues to allow US citizens of Arabic heritage to ride their buses, and rather than risk violence, King County will have no choice but to segregate their buses. So folks, is it fascism yet?
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