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ISRAEL: Critics should be able to buy bus ads

Letter by Lawrence Beck, Carnation on Dec. 22, 2010 at 8:53 am with 36 Comments »
December 22, 2010 8:53 am

Re: the “controversy” surrounding the King County Metro Bus ads, “Israeli War Crimes – Your tax dollars at work” (TNT, 12-22):

Not all Jews in King County are as thin-skinned as the ones making all the noise. I tend to agree with the premise of the advertisement, but more importantly I believe these individuals have the First Amendment right to express themselves so long as they are not threatening public safety.

Freedom of speech should not be restricted merely because some people may be offended by the content. Contrary to the Anti-Defamation League’s statement, stifling this advertisement will lead to a one-sided representation of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. fbergford says:

    Wow dude really!? I heard a ruling on this last night on KIRO radio, they said if the add instigates hate or violence against another Metro has the right to revoke the adds such as the ones on the bus. That’s why you see pro-life adds encouraging the mother to keep the child and not encouraging people to go out and beat down abortion doctors. I suggest to this letter writer to do a little more research on this topic before sending in a letter!

  2. freakwater says:


  3. Funny, I’d bet the writer has a different opinion about the first amendment regarding content he fells is offensive.

  4. Seriously Lawrence…? You’ve thought this all out now. How WOULD you feel about anti-gay slogans on the side of the bus, or posters that suggest our enemy is Islam?

    You sound like one of those utopian characters who love propaganda that serves your purposes and burns everything else.

  5. Criticism of Israel and/or US support of Israel is not antisemitic. The ads, while strong, are not hate speech and, contrary to fbergford’s assertion do not “instigate(s) hate or violence against another”

    Resorting to accusations of antisemitism of any and all criticisms of Israels is, unfortunately, one of the first resorts of many pro-Israel folks. This tactic, while initially effective, is completely counterproductive as its repeated usage has tended to diminish their legitimate concerns as supporters of Israel AND, more disconcertingly, undermines accusations of actual antisemitic behaviors.

  6. MarksonofDarwin says:


    I agree to a point.
    When the rhetoric employed is simple minded and meant to shock rather than open minds, then you get what you get. When the conversation is started with open hostility to any opposing view, you would be a fool not to expect someone to push back. When sophistry is employed, and the thin gruel of hyperbole is served up, you will find yourself mocked and marginalized.

    And….you just can NOT be surprised that the anti-semitic among us will give you a big **smooch** and loudly repeat these ridiculous assertions, identifying your position as hateful by association.
    Tone down the rhetoric, and you may just find these disturbed souls will find you repulsive. Until then….any over the top, sensationalist, dishonest, and spiteful gutter speak you employ will bring the undesirables to your camp like fleas.

    I say let them put these dishonest posters everywhere.
    The answer to stupid speech is not to ban it, but let it breath out in the open for all to smell it as they pass.
    The answer to stupid speech is to answer it with smarter and better speech.
    In this case, that shouldn’t be so very hard.

  7. OK, so if someone wanted to highlight the failure of the Arab world to curb hate-filled extremists in their midst (who have caused much more suffering and death than the State of Israel), then that would be alright. Or would the namby-pamby crowd cry foul?

    I am not opposed to the billboard and bus ads condemning Israel – on the basis that this is America and too many brave soldiers have died for it’s principals, among them freedom of speech. But to ignore the failures of the Arab world to pull itself out of the middle ages and help itself and control the religious fanatics in their midst (rather than always crying and playing the blame game) only belies the hyperbole and hypocrisy of this ad campaign against Israel.

    One has to wonder where the funding for this campaign originates as well.

  8. fbergford says:

    NO SERIOUSLY! THis came up on KIRO talk radio last night and the Attorney General’s office commented on it because Metro was recieving lots of negative feedback from the add that ran on some buses. Metro went and got advice from the AG. Just look it up on mynorthwest.com and you’ll see an answer.

  9. sozo – to compare an anti-Israel ad to an anti-gay ad is absurd. Israel is a nation that is involved in controversial policies – gays are a class of people. Your comparison would be more accurate if you compared the bus ads to anti-same sex marriage ads or ads in support of DADT.

    Your analogy would be more accurate if you compared anti-gay or anti-Islam ads to anti-Jewish ads but that equates antisemitism with criticism of a nation rather than bigotry based in ethnic/religious background.

    MoD – I agree that the ads were inflamnatory and do not support a reasoned, reasonable discussion. But……..they got far more impact through subsequent coverage on the news and letters to the editor than a simple, well-reasoned discussion would……so, for the people who took out the ad, their tactic was successful. Will it change minds/hearts? Doubtful, so I don’t think it was the best approach.

  10. BlaineCGarver says:

    Gubment subsidized Bus System. NO political or religious BS.

  11. MarksonofDarwin says:

    Yes bB, the ads have worked just as the spokesman said he wanted them to.
    This very same tactic has been used by PETA for a very long time. Remember PETA? They used to conjure images of abused and abandoned animals….now they are associated with the freaks on the fringe.

    There is still plenty of room on the sidelines for pro-palestinian groups, and I’m afraid that’s just where they’re headed.
    Pity, that, but it’s not my problem. It’s a bit frustrating because this is an important conversation that needs to be heard.

    I guess you will just have to cringe when you see these types of ads, and I will cringe when someone invokes armaggedon and the end of times…

  12. I wonder what would happen if it were a cartoon of mohamed were talking about.

  13. johnearl says:

    Metro is a government agency. Metro sells ads on the sides of it’s buses. Government may not discriminate based on the content of speech (no matter how objectionable someone may find it.) Therefore Metro is constitutionally prohibited from rejecting ads based solely on the content of the speech in those ads.

    While some lower court judge may rule that Metro is allowed to control what is said on the side of it’s buses, I’m confident that the final decision will clarify that once public agencies choose to embrace advertising, they open them selves up to having to accept all comers.

    The only constitutionally valid way to reject these ads is to stop accepting advertisements altogether.

  14. Just trying to make the point about free speech. bB.

  15. Roncella says:

    northsc, If there was an add that portrayed extreme Muslim terrorist’s blowing up markets where innocent women and children were shopping, or bodies falling from the top floors of the twinn towers, You Bet Your Life, holy heck, would break out and the adds removed immediately.

  16. lardogbeck says:

    I wrote the original letter and am responding to some of the comments. I am a strong believer in our Constitution and the protections it affords everyone. Free speech is not free if we only allow it when it is convenient or inoffensive. When I find myself in disagreement with some form of public expression, I use my First Amendment rights and express my viewpoint as I did in this case.

    As another writer indicated, expressing disagreement with Israels’ policies towards the Palestinians is not antisemitism. The blurring of this distinction makes it nearly impossible to publicly side with the Palestinians on any issue without immediately being called a Jew-hater.

  17. MarksonofDarwin says:

    Mr. Beck,

    I don’t see anybody calling you anti-semitic.
    In fact, not ONE post here calls you or anybody else that slur.

    Why do you even bring that up?
    You’re not trying to “pre” discredit those that disagree with YOUR position are you? I ask, because that’s become the favorite fallback in these discussions from both sides….

  18. lardogbeck says:


    I didn’t claim anyone called me anti-Semitic, which would have been pretty funny as I am Jewish. The analogy of the Metro bus ads to anti-gay ads made in other comments above seemed to be indicating that the Metro bus ads were somehow anti-Semitic. beerBoy made the initial observation earlier that criticizing Israel is not inherently anti-Jew and I was agreeing with his point.

  19. MarksonofDarwin says:

    Then we all agree on at least that point!

  20. BlaineCGarver says:

    I’ll bet a beer that they would NEVER run a Christmas/Pro Christian message on a Gubment Transit Bus, but will do Islamic or Jewish…..Oy Vey.

  21. Well, maybe “criticizing Israel is not inherently anti-Jew”, but precendents of late indicate, it is definately Israeliaphobic .

  22. blakeshouse says:

    May as well try to hold the tide back with a teaspoon as to try and convince any of the areas socialsit / neo marxists that a cause they believe in ( the destruction of Isreal) by a terrorist regime is against their interests. It is almost funny to see them talking out of both sides of their mouths on being able to voice an opinion. As long as it agrees with them any thing goes but as soon as anything unfavorable comes out against one of their causes, freedom of speech flies right out the window.

  23. Not sure how being a proponent for a viable two-state solution makes one a “socialsit (sic) / neo marxists (sic)that a cause they believe in ( the destruction of Isreal(sic)) by a terrorist regime”

    Israel’s security is ultimately dependent upon a rational and reasonable agreement that creates a sovereign state of Palestine. Continued expansion efforts through settlements, etc. will only continue to diminish Israel’s status throughout the world. Like South Africa, it is only a matter of time until they will realize that it is counter-productive to continue upon their current course.

    The extremist rhetoric of both sides hurts both sides.

  24. BCG – since Christmas is the only religious holiday that is a national holiday it is a little difficult to accept your kvetching about some sort of anti-Christian bias against Christmas.

  25. BlaineCGarver says:

    bB – It starts at the State House…everyone is scared to “do” Christmas. Nationally, it’s no different than any other government day off.

  26. BlaineCGarver says:

    Did you know that Key Bank is not allowing anything but seasonal, generic decorations? No Christmas stuff like manger scenes, or trees.

  27. Not a customer, employee nor stock holder of Key Bank. Don’t care what they decided, as a private institution, to do.

  28. It IS their business, bBoy. But it serves to illustrate a trend in the U.S. so has value in that respect.

  29. That trend would be that inclusive marketing is good business?

  30. not the trend I was thinking of, but of course you know that full well.

  31. Merry Christmas, on the only religious holiday that is a federal holiday.

    Oh….and Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings to you…..you know that New Year’s Eve is next week so the plural is appropriate even if you ignore the non-Christian holidays that cluster around this time of year. Happy Holidays was a non-controversial, non-pc Season’s Greeting until BillO, et al fired up the “war on Christmas” rhetoric (gotta wonder what those FOXes think about the Mayor of a suburb of Nazareth who has outlawed Christmas decorations in the Christian sector of his town).

    As a kid I hated that two of six holy days of obligation were just a week apart: Christmas and Feast of the Circumcision (since renamed to Mary, Mother of God….I guess feasting at a circumcision seemed a little odd to contemporary church-goers). This year that means Mass on Sat, Mass on Sun, Mass on Sat, Mass on Sun. Yow! That’s a lot of pew time in one week.

    But I liked the Advent period with the lighting of the four candles and specific prayers for each week prior to the actual Santa day. It made the Christmas Season extend for 5 weeks. So:

    Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays

    sozo – you may appreciate Bill Maher’s criticism of Oprah’s “My Favorite Things” annual orgy of materialism as having nothing to do with the spirit of Christmas.

  32. There’s little about Bill Maher that I appreciate, but it’s possible.

  33. For the record, there’s little about Oprah Winfrey that I appreciate either. Both love the sound of their own voice way too much. Every time I see a new business venture of Winfrey’s I’m embarrassed for her, the self-aggrandizement is so painfully obvious.

  34. Bill M.-angry illiterate smart alec atheist..
    Oprah W.-“you go girl”(Yugo girl?) materialistic book seller and New Age profiteer.
    Mass-later invention of the Roman Church.
    “Two-State Solution”-already attained, those that are numerically challenged are still looking for a three-state solution while attempting to call it “two”. The area of upper Bashan (Golan Heights) is a great precipice for launching more Kassam rockets, no? And apartments on legally acquired land is not building “settlements”

    To all – Happy celebration of our Savior’s conception (where life indeed begins)

  35. “Two-State Solution”-already attained

    You really are delusional.

  36. WarmNfuzziOne says:

    In the Death Camps the Nazis said that they ran things efficiently because some among each group, Jews, gypsies, communists, Slavs, etc., turned on their fellows and helped them.

    We know what this letter writer would have been doing to the rest of us.

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