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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

J Federation of Seattle's response to anti-Israel bus ads

Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle's  Response to Anti-Israel Bus Ads
Posted on Monday Dec 20, 2010 5:40 PM

As you may be aware, an anti-Israel ad campaign is scheduled to begin on Dec. 27. The ads, which accuse Israel of war crimes and purport that $30 billion is given each year to Israel in foreign aid, will run on twelve Seattle-area buses for the next month.

We believe that this campaign must be stopped.

The campaign features a photo of alleged war crimes and contains a strong anti-Israel message. The clear intent is to incite an emotional response by attacking Israelis. While we respect and support the first amendment right to free speech, we feel that this particular ad violates Metro Transit's own policy against running ads that "insult specific groups to the point that a riot could be incited, vandalism could occur or public safety could be threatened." The ad in question is clearly meant as a strong insult to the almost 50,000 members of the Seattle Jewish community, including the thousands of Israelis who call Seattle home. Additionally, this ad is not even accurate in its claims. Israel has never been tried or convicted of war crimes, and to claim that taxpayers fund these alleged crimes is an insult both to Americans and to our government.

We encourage Metro Transit, King County and Seattle officials to refuse to run these ads, based on a violation of their own policy.

We also encourage those who feel strongly to speak up and contact local officials by phone or email today stating your position. To send your message to King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council, Metro Transit management and the local manager of transit advertising, click here.

The Jewish Federation firmly believes this type of inflammatory campaign is destructive to the peace process and undermines efforts to build positive relationships both in the Middle East and within our local community. This kind of demonization of Israel is contrary to reconciliation and does not contribute to furthering the peace process. Our core values mean we seek ways to build bridges, not to destroy them.

All parties in the Middle East want, need and deserve a peaceful cooperative coexistence. We encourage the public to become educated on all aspects of the Middle East conflict and to work for a peaceful resolution through which all parties can find a way to live and work together with respect and in peace.