I have only one theme today: the denial. The denial that my country and my community are engaged in, on a core issue of foreign policy. Writes a friend: “This censorship in Seattle is really something. It’s so flagrant you hope people not involved will start wondering what’s going on.” Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner:
The same group that failed in a bid to place controversial ads alleging Israel “war crimes” on Metro buses is now losing billboards with a softer message decrying U.S. aid to Israel.
The billboard company doesn’t run ads that offend people. What do the ads say?
The ads show a Palestinian boy behind a fence and call for “Equal Rights for Palestinians” and for the U.S. to “stop funding the Israeli military.”
In canceling the ads, Clear Channel [Outdoor] did not object to those slogans. Instead, the company pointed to stronger language on the group’s website, www.stop30billion-seattle.org, which was prominently promoted on the ads. That site calls Israel’s Palestinian policies “war crimes” and “apartheid.”
I remember in November 2000 I was covering the protracted Gore-Bush election battle, before the Supreme Court stepped in, and there were big demonstrations near Blair House in Washington where Gore was living as vice president. There was a Catholic church in that avenue, and a guy picketing. He was old and a little odd, and he told me he came out every week, and he got a dogeared photograph from his shirt pocket of the priest who had molested him as a boy. I remember how disturbed I was by his story and I told an editor I wanted to write about it and she said, there are a million stories like that, and I didn’t write about it. And now the Palestinian issue is also going to burst into our national consciousness.