After getting the go-ahead by a federal court last week, a controversial pro-Israel advert has been posted in ten subway stations in Brooklyn, New York City.
The advert reads: “In any war between the civilised man and the savage, support the civilised man.” The quote is from a Russian-American philosopher and novelist. It is followed by the tag line “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad” set between two Stars of David.
Clearly, Israel is presented as civilisation against the Palestinian “savage”.
The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NY MTA) turned down the advert when a pro-Israel advocacy group submitted it a year ago on the grounds that it violated a provision in the authority’s advertising code which bars “demeaning” speech.
However, a group by the name of ‘The American Freedom Defence Initiative’ (AFDI) took the matter to a federal court which ruled that the advert is protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of expression.
AFDI paid $6,000 to buy space for the advert which will be posted for ten days. After the court ruling, NY MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan told media outlets that the fight over the legality of the advert is now over. “Our hands are tied,” he said.
Pamela Geller, AFDI’s executive director, told the American website TRANSPORTATIONNATION: “The organisation aggressively seeks to advance and defend the nation’s Judeo-Christian moral foundation in courts all across the nation.”
Even if the advert does not breach American law, Israeli action against Palestinians is a grave breach of human rights conventions and international law. A UNHRC panel discussion held on Monday concluded that Israel is guilty of serious human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law and called for the state to be brought to justice.