A pro-Palestinian organization’s attempt to spread terrorist-enabling propaganda throughout the streets of Seattle was stopped dead in its tracks yesterday, thanks to quick reaction from outraged citizens and timely intervention by vigilant organizations like the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign had purchased ad space on twelve King County Metro Transit buses alleging Israeli war crimes in Gaza and featuring the tag line: “your tax dollars at work.” The group’s avowed goal is to end U.S. aid to Israel, declaring that: “U.S. citizens have a right and a duty to ensure that our tax dollars go towards worthy causes, not to sustain immoral, illegal, internationally-condemned actions.” Symbolically, the ads were scheduled to start running on December 27, the second anniversary of the Gaza war.
With these ads, the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign sought to mislead the public on the root causes of the Gaza war, repeating the tired canard that by daring to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks Israel had somehow become an international outlaw. Rather than allowing Israel to be thrown under Seattle’s buses, the Freedom Center fought back by purchasing ad space on twenty-five Metro buses. These ads featured images of Israeli bus passengers killed by Palestinian suicide bombers during the Second Intifada and tossed the terrorist-enablers’ tag line back at them: “your tax dollars at work.” The United States sends half a billion taxpayer dollars to Palestine each year. The organization StandWithUs also submitted a parallel ad.
The Freedom Center’s mission is to defend free societies under attack, and particularly under attack from the radical left at home and their jihadist allies abroad. “This was a case of both,” observed Mr. Horowitz, founder and president of the Freedom Center. “The man behind this campaign is a Hamas enabler named Ed Mast. Seattle is notoriously a hotbed of support for Islamic Nazis. Their martyr is Rachel Corrie and their modus operandi is conducting hate campaigns against Jews and Americans masquerading as campaigns for Palestinian rights.”
An unconfirmed report forwarded to FPM indicated that King County attorneys advised Metro authorities not to accept the inflammatory ads from the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, but the transportation agency decided to run them anyway. Applicable code and the subsequent reaction of King County officials appear to support this scenario. Title 28, section 96.210 of King County Code describes the county’s guidelines for accepting commercial advertisements. It reads as follows:
As part of its proprietary function as the provider of public transportation, the county seeks to generate revenue from the commercial use of transit vehicles, the tunnel and other passenger facilities to the extent such commercial activity is consistent with the security, safety, comfort and convenience of its passengers. Accordingly, all commercial activity is prohibited on transit property except as may be permitted by the county in a written permit, concession contract, license agreement, advertising agreement or other written agreement.
The key here is whether or not ads that demonize Israel and its right to defend itself are “consistent with the security, safety, comfort and convenience” of Metro passengers. Until groups like the Freedom Center and StandWithUs attempted to run a counter-ad campaign, Metro authorities didn’t believe that the anti-Israeli ads threatened anyone’s security or safety and they were fully prepared to run them. But, once response groups started buying ad space and once over 2,000 people contacted King County to protest attacks that played into the hands of the jihadists, King County Executive Dow Constantine struck a very different tune. In a press release published late yesterday on the King County website, Constantine said:
The escalation of this issue from one of 12 local bus placards to a widespread and often vitriolic international debate introduces new and significant security concerns that compel reassessment. Further work during the coming weeks will help determine what constitutionally-valid policy is best for the safety and well-being of the transit-riding public, our drivers and personnel, and the community at large.
The timing of Constantine’s change of heart is both reprehensible and dangerous. By initially accepting jihadist propaganda at face value, the King County Executive didn’t find anything about the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign’s ads that comprised a threat to the security, safety and well-being of its passengers. The “threat” was seemingly created only after a challenge was raised against the jihadist sympathizers. This clearly insinuates that it was the contribution of the Freedom Center and other Israel advocates which was responsible for debasing the debate to a level worth censoring – not, we should point out, the Palestinian apologists who initially leveled their outrageous charge against Israel. It is ridiculous to imply that organizations like the Freedom Center threatened the security of Metro passengers with their perfectly civil response to the anti-Israel ads. In terms of messaging, the Israel defense ads were no more incendiary or vitriolic than the anti-Israel ads themselves.
There is a lesson to be learned here: quick, decisive actions to counter attacks by jihadist sympathizers are both essential and effective in the continuing struggle to preserve freedom and defeat terrorism. It’s very clear that King County would have allowed the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign to spread their terrorist sympathies, but for the rapid response of the Freedom Center and other patriotic Americans. Still, continued vigilance is needed. This is an “interim policy” by King County, as it moves to define new guidelines for accepting non-commercial advertising. As Horowitz noted, the Seattle area is rife with leftist sympathizers and it’s vitally important to continue to hold them accountable for their actions and inactions. The left is, after all, driven by a commitment to an ideology that presupposes that every evil in the world can be laid at the feet of America and its allies.
Like their predecessors turned a blind eye to the mass murders carried out by Communists during the Cold War, the American left has demonstrated, once again, the great lengths that it will go to deceive the general public and catalyze human atrocities. The reason, As Horowitz explained, is that “they are secular Manichaeans who see the world as ruled by powers of darkness, which is us. America is the Great Satan and Israel the little Satan and any crimes committed by Palestinians can be laid at Israel’s and America’s door.”
The battle against the oppressive, intransigent forces of fundamental, radical jihad continues. Too many Americans aren’t willing to accept the fact that such a war is being fought, much less that it must be won. This skirmish in Seattle serves as a perfect lesson as to why eternal vigilance is necessary to win the war to secure global liberty and freedom. The enemies of freedom have been dealt a defeat in the northwest, but there can be little doubt that they will challenge the forces of liberty time and again, and very, very soon.
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