SFMTA Will Donate Proceeds From “Support Israel” Ads
Photo via @volksmenner
Update (Wednesday, 7:53 a.m.):
“The city of Saint Francis has a long history of tolerance for all, and while we honor a person’s right to self-expression, there are times when we must say ‘enough.’ The recent ad has no value in facilitating constructive dialogue or advancing the cause of peace and justice. While this ad is protected under the First Amendment, our ad policy and our contractual obligations, we condemn the use of any language that belittles, demeans or disparages others. Going forward, we will review our policies with regards to ads on the Muni system.”
The SFMTA will donate its proceeds from this advertisement to further the educational activities of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
Original post:You might have noticed the ad above on the side of several Muni buses. It has sparked a backlash from many who see it as racist and hate speech. A further problem is its political nature. SFMTA has a policy against running ads of political nature.
According to KQED, these ads were purchased by a pro-Israel woman in response to what she feels were anti-Israel ads that ran on BART some time last year. She tried to get the same ads on New York City buses, but NYC’s transit agency refused. She sued in federal court, and won. The same day she got that ruling, SFMTA approved her ads in San Francisco.
Paul Rose, Muni spokesman, says the agency’s hands are tied due to the court ruling, but that they’re exploring options. In the meantime, The Council on American-Islamic Relations wants people to sign a petition asking SFMTA to remove the ad before its contractual term (until the end of the month) is up.
For more on the controversy, read KQED.
Racist? no. hate speech? maybe. Free speech? yes. And no matter my position on the issues raised, I am not interested in having a transit agency decide my free speech rights.