‘ISRAELI WAR CRIMES SIGNS TO GO ON METRO BUSES
SEATTLE – “Israeli War Crimes,” the enormous advertisement reads. “Your tax dollars at work.” To the right of the image is a group of children — one little boy stares out at the viewer, the others gawk at a demolished building, all rebar and crumbled concrete. It’s an ad you’ll be seeing soon on a handful of Metro buses in downtown Seattle.
A group calling itself the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has paid King County $1,794 so that 12 buses will carry that message around town, starting two days after Christmas. That’s December 27: the two-year anniversary of Israeli attacks on Gaza, aimed at stopping rocket attacks and weapons smuggling.
Ed Mast, a Seattle man who is a spokesperson for the group, says it’s not meant to be an anti-Israel message, but a message designed to generate discussion and awareness.
“I wouldn’t say it’s an anti-Israel message any more than any complaint about a country is anti-that country. We would like Israel to stop violating human rights. We would like Israel to give equal rights to its Palestinian citizens and its Palestinian subjects who live under occupation,” said Mast.
At the Pacific Northwest office of the Anti-Defamation League, the ad campaign is seen quite a bit differently.
“We’re dismayed,” says Community Director Hilary Bernstein, who calls the bus-born advertisement grotesquely one-sided. “Citizens young and old will be seeing this sort of propaganda, this very one-sided distortion. It’s unfortunate.”
So, is the side of a public bus the right place for this kind of attack? Are the issues that regularly inflame one of the most flammable hot-spots in the world appropriate fare for people strolling the sidewalks of Seattle?
As far as King County is concerned, it’s not really up to them what appears on the side of their buses, as long as it fits specific guidelines regarding:
- Tobacco, and
- As long as the images and material used don’t interfere with public safety or insult specific groups to the point that a riot could be incited, vandalism could occur or public safety could be threatened.
King County Metro Transit spokesperson Linda Thielke acknowledges some people will be offended by the campaign, but that is not enough to prevent the rolling billboards from hitting the streets.
“As a government, we are mindful of the provisions in state and federal constitutions to protect freedom of speech. So, we can’t object these campaigns simply because they offend some people,” said Thielke.
The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has targeted their advertising so that the buses carrying their message will run mostly on Seattle routes.
Debbie Menon is an independent writer based in Dubai. Her main focus are the US-Mid- East Conflicts. Her writing has been featured in many print and online publications.
Her writing reflects the incredible resilience, almost superhuman steadfastness of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians, who are now facing the prospect of a final round of ethnic cleansing. She is committed to exposing Israel’s Lobbies’ control of ‘U.S. Middle East Policy. Control’ which amounts to treason by the Zionist lobbies in America and its stooges in Congress, and that guarantees there can never be a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only catastrophe for all, in the region and the world.
Her mission is to inform and educate internet viewers seeking unfiltered information about real events on issues of the US/Middle East conflicts that are unreported, underreported, or distorted in the American media. PS: For those of her detractors that think she is being selective and even “one-sided,” tough, that is the point of her work, to present an alternative view and interpretation of the US-Israel-Middle East conflict, that has been completely ignored in mainstream discourse.
The purpose is to look at the current reality from a different and critical perspective, not to simply rehash the pro-US/Israel perspective, smoke and mirrors that has been allowed to utterly and completely dominate Mainstream discourse.