Should maps ad be censored at Chappaqua rr station? a newspaper asks

We’ve reported on Henry Clifford’s inspired ad campaign, which features four maps depicting the shriveling of Palestinian lands over the last century. A Jewish newspaper says the ads are “anti-Semitic and libelous.” The Chappaqua Daily Voice is holding an online poll asking readers whether the maps ads should be taken down at the Chappaqua station. That paper is evidently a bastion of free speech. The story features some anti-ads voices. Apparently the situation in that foreign country is just too complicated to allow someone in the U.S. to reduce it to an ad, I guess: 


Assembly member Robert Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge) was quick to call the billboard “anti-Israeli” and asked Metro-North President Howard Permut to remove it immediately.

“I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment right of free speech in the Constitution, and certainly a proponent that the people of Israel and Palestine should live in harmony together,” Castelli said. “However, the subliminal message that this particular billboard carries is an anti-Israeli message that I believe has just the opposite effect of creating peace and harmony between the Israeli and Palestinian people.” 

…“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely complex and cannot be summarized in a series of four maps,” said Ron Meier, ADL New York Regional Director in a statement.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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  1. We’re at the stage of the fairytale where the child has said, “but he doesn’t have any clothes on,” those close by have heard and laughed, and it is now being repeated throughout the crowd, as the emperor rather nervously continues to march in the parade, pretending not to hear. The tailors who presented the magic cloth are explaining that the magic is too powerful for a mere child to understand, while secretly packing their bags.

  2. Dutch says:

    “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely complex and cannot be summarized in a series of four maps” — Ron Meier, ADL, NY.

    As Adam made clear a couple of days ago it can even be summerized in ONE map:

    link to mondoweiss.net

  3. radii says:

    the conflict can be summed up in that single image of a series of four maps – that’s why it is such a powerful image and there is nothing “subliminal” about it – it is an overt, energetically conscious account

  4. seanmcbride says:

    Israel claims to be a bastion of Western democratic values, but most of us have witnessed hundreds of incidents in which pro-Israel activists have tried to shut down free speech and apply heavy-handed censorship tactics in American politics.

    The truth is, most pro-Israel activists simply can’t handle free, open and rational debate. They rely heavily on verbal abuse, personal attacks, intimidation, threats (even death threats) and outright censorship to promote indefensible policies.

    For how much longer will be they able to go on like this before they are done in by their own self-contradictions and their entire edifice collapses?

    • seanmcbride says:

      Regarding the heavy-handed methods of pro-Israel activists to bully Americans into submission and compliance and squelch free speech, check out Jennifer Rubin today in the Washington Post:

      “Christian Zionists united to oust Obama”

      link to washingtonpost.com

      BEGIN QUOTE
      CUFI members and leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., this week for their annual conference. Not surprisingly in an election year and especially one in which they have the opportunity to help fire the president — whom, it is fair to say, they loath — the group had a record turnout of 5,000. Nationwide it claims a membership of 1.1 million. While many CUFI members are of modest means, the group makes up for fundraising with activism and is consistently able to pummel politicians with e-mails, letters and phone calls when an “action alert” goes out.
      END QUOTE

      She actually uses the word PUMMEL with evident satisfaction.

      When the Israel lobby isn’t absurdly denying its existence, it is gloating about its power. Self-contradictions.

      Saul Landau in Counterpunch today:

      link to counterpunch.org

      BEGIN QUOTE
      How pathetic that a small group of right-wing Jews allied to right-wing Israeli parties, has buffaloed U.S. politicians and media. One former Congressman described the Israeli lobby as the equivalent of a pit bull that bites the Congressman’s leg in the morning and holds on during lunch and the afternoon. The Congressman sleeps with the bull’s teeth in his leg and wakes with it the next morning. No wonder Members don’t want to antagonize this angry dog!”
      END QUOTE

  5. mikeo says:

    Ha ha. The bots are getting owned in the comments.

  6. Avi_G. says:

    As of this posting, 1163 votes say the ads should NOT be remove and 185 votes say that the ads should be removed. 86% to 14%.

    • adele says:

      Update on Poll as of 4:22pm:
      Should the billboard be removed from the Chappaqua Train Station?

      Total votes: 1487
      No: 87% (1291 votes)
      Yes: 13% (196 votes)

      Isn’t it amazing how a democracy works. Now, if only there were to be a real nationwide referendum on whether or not the US should fund Israel (‘s colonialist expansionist apartheid settler state), the majority would say “NO”!
      But alas, such a referendum is only a dream.

    • Citizen says:

      Here’s a video clip with the sponsor of the ads–never underestimate the power of a banal guy with some significant extra cash in these times to put his money where his mouth his: link to youtube.com
      He ain’t Sheldon Adelson, just a much poorer average guy with a lot of courage and a real sense of injustice. First came Mearsheimer and Walt, and now Henry Clifford. It is, after all, an issue that impacts American Gentiles too.

  7. ColinWright says:

    “…“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely complex and cannot be summarized in a series of four maps,” said Ron Meier, ADL New York Regional Director in a statement.”

    This is why we forbid all political campaign advertising. The business of determining policy for an advanced nation of three hundred million people is extremely complex and cannot be reduced to a slogan on a billboard.

  8. Free speech is a bigger threat to Israel than all the imaginary assassins and terrorists that they conjure up on a daily basis. No wonder they so energetically oppose it.

  9. adele says:

    Castelli said: “However, the subliminal message that this particular billboard carries is an anti-Israeli message that I believe has just the opposite effect of creating peace and harmony between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

    And the fact that our govt gives billions to an occupying power creates that wonderful “peace & harmony”? Oh puleez, spare me Castelli!

  10. piotr says:

    Modest proposal: until we figure out what is right and wrong in this extremally complex conflict, USA will not fund anyone involved and make any UN votes on the subject.

    In the meantime, we should empanel a committee.

  11. How many maps does Meier consider necessary and what maps does he want to add? How about a map showing the impact of the “separation wall” on neighboring Palestinian towns and villages? Or a map of military prisons and concentration camps?

    • German Lefty says:

      @Stephen Shenfield: Concentration camps?

      • For instance, I remember reading accounts of a concentration camp for Palestinian prisoners in the Negev. The conditions were bad enough to justify use of the term. The name of the camp is Ansar. In fact, I think there is a series of them: Ansar-1, Ansar-2, Ansar-3.

        Of course, a concentration camp is something different from a death camp. Israel doesn’t have death camps (at least not yet).

  12. Talkback says:

    Does antisemitic nowaday means that Jews or Zionists don’t like something?

  13. Basilio says:

    So many pro-Israeli supporters don’t believe in democracy as much as they would have you to believe because many act like fascists. They talk about something showing only one side, but they never, never, ever show the Palestinian side, so they’re being hypocrites. They don’t want anyone to hear the Palestinian side, and the reason is obvious. No matter how you slice things, it will be clear that the Palestinians have been wronged.

  14. ToivoS says:

    Is it my imagination or is the IP conflict becoming more and more complicated with each passing year?

  15. Les says:

    For stories about Israel/Palestine, the New York Times has long refused to put in maps that show where the borders Israel end and those of East Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories begin. Is that censorship or is it merely being helpful to their readers’ understanding of the situation on the ground?

  16. Kathleen says:

    Facts are “”anti-Semitic and libelous.”

  17. ToivoS says:

    That Chappaqua article had this interview:

    Resident Deb Raider Notis believes the advertisement should be removed: “It is inciteful and could encourage hate crimes,” she said.

    I looked up the meaning of inciteful: “The desire to incite or provoke people or things to action.”

    Imagine that trying to provoke people to action. I think any political add in the world is designed to that end. I guess Zionist find that threatening (as they should). It is interesting that the word “inciteful” would have such negative connotations today in America. If your goal is to preserve the status quo then perhaps provoking people to action would be threatening.

    The other half of Deb’s quote is something that has concerned me — “could encourage hate crimes”. That I agree is a problem. Maybe she should take this up with the Israelis — their actions do encourage hate.

  18. Fredblogs says:

    Lies are coonstitutionally protected free speech. Just because the ads are false is not a justification for censoring them.

  19. NickJOCW says:

    re. Chappaqua Daily Voice It is heartening to see so many positive comments but disheartening that the old canard of whether or not there ever was a Palestine is still being raised. Most of us are well aware that Palestine is an area like Europe and indigenous peoples and incomers have always lived there under a variety of kings and banners. Below is map from my Vulgate bible (ns refers too the New Sacrament). Nation states with fixed boundaries are a relatively new concept. It is therefore correct to say there was no Palestinian state, just as there never has been a European state, but quite wrong to extrapolate from that the claim that there were no Palestinian people. The fact is that Palestine has been there forever and Israel is currently within it just as France is within Europe.
    link to njow.co.uk

  20. the occupation of palestine is ‘complicated’ in the same way that apartheid was complicated, or that the jim crow separate but equal laws in the American South were complicated, or that slavery was ‘complicated.’
    But all these things -slavery, apartheid, jim crow, occupation – are all equally and simply wrong.

  21. Les says:

    Though the immediate decision favors Zionists, opponents of occupation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians should be able to see their ads in New York subway stations as a free speech right.

    Judge: MTA Violated First Amendment By Rejecting The Word “Savages” In Pro-Israel Ads

    072012 It’s a glorious day for noted Islamaphobe Pamela Geller and the American Freedom Law Center, which filed a lawsuit against the MTA after their pro-Israel advertisement was rejected. You’ll recall that Geller and her associates wanted to spread the word that those who oppose Israel are “savages,” with an ad that reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” But the MTA rejected it because of the word “savage,” claiming that it “demeans an individual or group of individuals.”

    Instead of revising the ad, Geller sued the MTA, ensuring plenty of free advertising in the media. And now Federal Judge Paul A. Engelmayer has ruled in Geller’s favor. In his 35-page decision, Engelmayer ruled that “whatever weight might be assigned to the governmental interest in banning demeaning speech on the exterior of New York City buses on an even-handed basis, there is no good reason for protecting some individuals and groups, but not others, from such abuse.”

    And so, Engelmayer wrote, the MTA’s “no demeaning” language standard, “as currently formulated, is, therefore, inconsistent with the First Amendment.” According to the Times, it’s also a victory for dumb blonde jokes. The ruling states that:

    The agency’s standards would still permit ads that contained demeaning language as long as it demeaned people or groups outside of the characteristics or circumstances included in the prohibited list. He even offered examples, like “Blondes are bimbos,” “Lawyers are sleazebags” or “Upper West Siders are elitist snobs.”

    Judge Engelmayer noted that the agency’s rules would even allow the use of the word “savage,” the objectionable word in the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s proposed advertisement, as long as it demeaned a group not included in the prohibited list.

    On her blog, Geller crows, “Freedom, freedom, freedom …… the sweet, delicious taste of it. This is a great victory for the First Amendment. The freedom of speech is increasingly threatened in the U.S. in recent years—the Left and Islamic supremacists are doing all they can to rule honest discussion of Islamic jihad violence and Jew-hatred out of the realm of acceptable public discourse. Judge Engelmayer has struck a huge blow against this sinister authoritarian effort and for the freedom of speech that is the cornerstone of all our freedoms.”

    The ruling comes as a pro-Palestinian ad on Metro-North has sparked controversy. Last week Geller,called the MTA “liars”, for rejecting her ads but running these, asking, “Why did they reject our pro-Israel ads? Because it was demeaning to savages.”

    Update: The MTA has just issued this response to the ruling:

    The MTA is reviewing a decision issued today by Federal District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer that found the MTA’s “entirely laudable” goal of holding advertisements on public buses to a “standard of civility” violates the First Amendment.

    Judge Engelmayer found that an advertisement submitted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) was demeaning to Muslims in “plainly depicting” them as “savages,” and that the MTA correctly concluded that it violated a longstanding “no demeaning” standard for advertisements. That advertising standard, adopted in 1997, prohibits ads that demean a person or group on account of their race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.

    However, Judge Engelmayer ruled that the no-demeaning standard violates the First Amendment because as it does not forbid all demeaning ads, but just those ads that demean persons or groups on account of such protected classifications. As Judge Engelmayer noted, these classifications were included “with an eye” toward protecting the groups MTA felt “most likely to be targeted by demeaning ads.”

    Judge Engelmayer stated that the ruling “does not impugn in the slightest the motives of MTA and its officials – either those who put the standard into place or those who applied it to the AFDI ad. Quite the contrary: From the testimony and evidence, it is apparent that, in promulgating and applying the no-demeaning standard, MTA has aspired to hold ads on public buses to a standard of civility,” describing this as an ”entirely laudable” goal.

    Judge Engelmayer further noted that his ruling leaves the MTA “the latitude to investigate and experiment with alternative mechanisms for using ad space on the exteriors of city buses productively, profitably, and constitutionally, while ensuring that this space is not used as a tool for disparagement and division.”

    Judge Engelmayer said he was bound by an earlier precedent that MTA buses are a “designated public forum” because the MTA has in the past permitted political ads to appear on the exterior of buses. In a designated public forum, he ruled, it is impermissible to bar only those ads that demean individuals or groups on account of certain characteristics such as religion or race, but allow other ads that demean other individuals or groups.

    Judge Engelmayer stayed the effect of his order for 30 days to give the MTA an opportunity to appeal and also to consider instead whether to amend its advertising standards. The MTA continues to review Judge Engelmayer’s lengthy decision and is evaluating its existing advertising standards in light of the court’s ruling

    link to gothamist.com

    • ritzl says:

      Hmmm. So Engelmayer is saying that the MTA must accept ads that say stuff like, “Jews are buying your elections. Fight back.” or “Put down that 44 my brother, and get a job.”

      Or are Jews and blacks protected and Muslims aren’t? Or are ads against Muslims “political” where the others are “clearly” (i.e. defined by whoever defines these things as being devoid of political content) bigoted.

      I don’t get the distinction or principle Engelmayer is trying to lay out with this decision, if any.

      Thanks for sharing this.

  22. gingershot says:

    I’ve long noticed the Israeli tact of taking a winning argument against it (the simplicity of these 4 maps) and just turning it on it’s head and saying that because it is a winning argument that it is unfair to Jews and is antisemitic

    Their game is to make sure that winning arguments for Palestine/against Zionism are immediately smeared and discounted by the skunk-truck of the ‘anti-semetic libel’

    They ‘accept’ the power of the argument but then twist it around to say that because it is an effective argument it is therefore anti-semitic

    It is like trying to argue against a lawyer who feels himself entitled to use every lie and smear in the book – and who is just doubly proud as punch of the ones he creatively makes up on the spot, no matter how inane.

  23. ColinWright says:

    As to the maps being ‘antisemitic,’ I was just posting something somewhere else and it occurred to me that it could furnish a rather good comparison:

    link to news.bbcimg.co.uk

    Now, is that map an example of anti-Chinese bigotry? Should people write to the BBC and complain?