Judge: NYC Buses Must Run 'Killing Jews' Ads

Pamela Geller's controversial group wins in court
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2015 11:44 AM CDT
Judge: NYC Buses Must Run 'Killing Jews' Ads
Another AFDI ad is seen on a SEPTA bus, featuring a 1941 photograph of Hitler and supporter Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist, April 1, 2015, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Soon, you could see MTA buses in New York with the words "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" on the side. That's because a controversial pro-Israel group wants to run the ads—they show a man with a Palestinian keffiyeh covering his face alongside the aforementioned quote, which is attributed to "Hamas MTV," plus the slogan, "That's his Jihad. What's yours?"—and this week a federal judge decreed that the MTA must comply in order to abide by the First Amendment, Courthouse News reports. (There is no "Hamas MTV"; the ad is actually referencing a music video militants broadcast in the Gaza Strip.) The decision won't take effect for a month, in case the agency wants to appeal, the New York Times reports.

The pro-Israel organization in question is Pamela Geller's American Freedom Defense Initiative, which has previously brought us anti-Islam ads in New York and Chicago, ads comparing jihadists to "savages," and ads showing a plane about to hit the World Trade Center. (The Southern Poverty Law Center labels the AFDI a hate group, Raw Story notes.) The group sued the MTA after the "Killing Jews" ads were initially rejected. Though the MTA says it fears the ads could be seen as calling for harm to Jews, the judge noted that similar ads in Chicago and San Francisco in 2013 did not result in violence. The ad is a parody of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' "My Jihad" campaign, which seeks to frame jihad as a "personal struggle against sins or temptations" rather than holy war, the Washington Times notes. (Read more Israel stories.)

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