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article imageControversy in Seattle over anti-Israel outdoor advertisements

By Michael Krebs     Dec 23, 2010 in Politics
A plan to post an anti-Israel outdoor advertising campaign on Seattle metro buses has caused a major stir in the city, with some fearing a violent outcome.
Peace activists in Seattle have caused outrage among Jewish groups after plans were revealed that the group intends to post outdoor advertisements that boldly question America's use of tax dollars to support Israeli war crimes. The advertisements are slated to appear on Seattle metro buses starting December 27.
The group, known as the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, has created a banner that depicts Palestinian children standing about a demolished building, according to a report by AOL News.
The caption in the banner reads: "Israeli war crimes: Your tax dollars at work." The ads are timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead - an Israeli military push in Gaza that left roughly 1,400 Palestinians dead.
"It is an example of an attack on the state of Israel, using a picture that is designed to inflame people's feelings toward the state of Israel and by nature, against Jewish Americans," Seattle Councilman Peter von Reichbauer said, according to a report in the Israeli news site
"These ads are part of an escalating attack on Israel by the left throughout American culture. We expect this sort of obscene propaganda in our radical universities but not on our city streets. These lies cannot go unanswered," David Horowitz of the conservative David Horowitz Freedom Center wrote on his blog, according to AOL News.
While Seattle's officials have found the campaign to be in line with first amendment rights under the US Constitution, they remain unclear on how to respond and are discussing options to disallow non-commercial advertisements from appearing in public venues such as buses and outdoor billboards.
The issue does not sit well with Councilman von Reichbauer.
"We do not have to reflect long in time to remember that on July 28, 2006, a madman broke into the Seattle Jewish Federation building, shooting six women, one fatally, and now I ask the question why a public transportation system would advertise polarizing political statements," von Reichbauer wrote in a letter excerpted by the Post-Intelligencer, according to AOL News. "I am a strong advocate of freedom of speech and a strong believer of common sense. And I believe very strongly that dangerous language can create dangerous environments in a society."
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