US group fights ban on Israel ’war crime’ bus ads

– A US lobby group is taking legal action to challenge a local
authority’s refusal to let it put posters on Seattle buses criticizing
Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza.

The Seattle Mideast Awareness
Campaign (SMAC) vowed to pursue a lawsuit, despite a judge’s refusal to
force officials who run the bus system in Seattle and surrounding
suburbs to allow the posters to be displayed.

In December,
the group paid King County authorities nearly $1,800 to put ads on the
sides of 12 Seattle-area metro buses reading: “Israeli War Crimes: Your
Tax Dollars at Work,” with a picture of a bombed out Gaza wall.

ads were meant to coincide with the anniversary of a 22-day attack on
Gaza by Israel that left 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead in
2008, according to SMAC organizer Ed Mast.

The planned ads
triggered more than 2,000 calls and e-mails to King County’s elected
officials and transportation department, mostly negative, according to a
local authority spokeswoman.

While anyone can buy ad space
on public buses, King County bans any statements that “incite or produce
imminent lawless action in the form of retaliation, vandalism or other
breach of public safety, peace and order.”

Citing those rules, King County executive Dow Constantine stopped the ads before they appeare… >>>

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