Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Metro Bus Ad Controversy Heats Up in Seattle

I wrote about the beginning of this controversy on Saturday.

The KING TV report is inaccurate in respect to its calling the SMAC ads "anti-American." This is heating up. I wrote to members of the King County Council this morning. Here's my letter, which I posted through the auspices of the Washington State Jewish Action Center:

Although I live in Wasilla Alaska, I occasionally use Metro buses when visiting Seattle. It was on a visit to Seattle in 1983 that I used one of your buses to go to an exhibit of art by recently orphaned Palestinian refugee kids. Their parents had been killed in massacres in Beirut, during the Israeli invasion of that country.

Since that time, 27 years ago, the Israelis have killed many thousands of Lebanese. During their recent 2006 invasion, they gratuitously bombed fuel storage tanks south of Beirut, causing an oil spill the size of the Exxon Valdez. As their troops withdrew from Lebanon, they left behind millions of cluster bomblets, which have since injured or killed hundreds of children.

These actions could not have happened without U.S. support. Each time the Israelis launch an invasion, incursion or bombing raid with weapons they got from us – often for free – Americans might not know much of the story, but other people around the world do. Even if the consequences of Israeli war crimes are largely unknown to Americans, those consequences are real.

By putting these ads on public transit, the public will be given an opportunity to become more aware. Should the ads not be able to run, through King County action, you will share in the results that come to an uninformed population.

I would like to thank my friends at the Washington State Jewish Action Center for allowing me the space to convey this important, peace-seeking message.

As the KING TV video indicates, a demonstration is being planned outside of the King County administrative offices in Seattle, on Monday. That day, December 27th 2010, will be the second anniversary of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, which was meant to restore the reputation of the Israeli military, which had been tactically humiliated and strategically defeated by Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006.

What better way to get your reputation straightened out than to attack 1.5 million mostly unarmed civilians for three weeks, eh?


Anonymous said...


Philip Munger said...


Anonymous said...

This post is bizarre and confusing.
Here's what the Jewish Action Center thinks:
"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.

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."

Anonymous said...

You sent a letter "through the auspices of the Washington State Jewish Action Center"?
Oh, you're pullin' a Palin, there, also too, Mr. Munger.
No, you did not send a letter through the "auspices" of a Jewish agency. Weird. Misleading. You shoplifted, poached.
I don't object - you can if want and it's up to them to stop you if they want.

~ kindly patronage and guidance .
~ Arranged or encouraged by (a society etc) This exhibition is being held under the auspices of the Arts Council.
~ guidance, aegis, protection, endorsement, the act of endorsing; "the tournament was held under the auspices of the city council."
"a star athlete can make a lot of money from endorsements."

No, Phil, they did not endorse your letter. Certainly, why would they?

No, here's the real story. From an anti-Jewish/anti-Israel website:

Pssstt! Use pro-Israel website to support Seattle bus ads!

"Predictably, the establishment Jewish orgs in Seattle have launched an all-out offensive to try to suppress the "Israeli war crimes - your tax dollars at work" ads on Seattle buses. As part of this campaign, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has set up one of those web pages that will automatically send a message to a slew of local officials. But as currently set up, the page lets YOU compose both the message and the subject line. So, quick before they change it, click here and share your thoughts.
(Some people have hesitated on the grounds that the site must pre-pend their own pro-Israel text to the message. I can't swear that's not true, but it sure doesn't look that way. In any case, it's unlikely that the officials read the body of such messages, and you definitely get to write your own subject line - I know because I got some auto-replies with the subject line I wrote. Give them a short and sweet subject line and they'll get your message!)"

Philip Munger said...

Anon @ 11:23 pm:

Your description of Mondoweiss as "an anti-Jewish/anti-Israel website" is highly inaccurate.

The site, now in its 6th year, was started by Philip Weiss, who is Jewish. His main partner in running the site is Adam Horowitz, who is also Jewish.

Many who provide articles for Mondoweiss are Jewish; several are also citizens and residents of Israel.

Most essays at the site reflect the belief that Judaism is bigger than Zionism, and that Judaism's power has been wounded by the lack of humanity displayed more every day by the practitioners of militant expansionist Zionism, as exemplified by those currently in power in Israel.

Anonymous said...

My description of Mondoweiss as "an anti-Jewish/anti-Israel website" is absolutely accurate.

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz are ethnically Jewish.
So? The fact of their Jewishness doesn't make them pro-Jewish/pro-Israel. They pimp "Jewishness" and use it as credential. Weiss spins the Jewish narrative the way Sarah Palin spins Alaska.
Neither is philosophically Jewish. Obviously.
Horowitz is a straight-up no-holds-barred Palestinian activist.
That's okay with me; no problem.

Weiss: "I come to this as a very proudly identified Jew. I grew up, that was my whole identity of being Jewish, and I developed a more diverse, American Jewish identity. As I became an adult I intermarried, I broke Jewish law in that respect. I don’t keep a kosher household, so there are many ways in which I represent sort of a typical kind of integrating Jew. I’m not very religious. I’m certainly not an observant Jew..."
By his own admission, he defines himself as a Jew because of "the fact that my mother and father are Jews..."
"I would say the ways in which I’m Jewish are that I’m a very bookish person."

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 11:42 am:

I understand where you are coming from. Rather than replying to my comment, though, you seem to be taking the easy way out.

Anonymous said...

What "easy" way out? Observation.
Mondoweiss is an anti-Jewish/anti-Israel website.
Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz are ethnically Jewish, but not philosophically Jewish at all. Like, I said, so?
Neither represents a Jewish perspective. Both are interesting. Academically challenging. Unconventional.
Horowitz is a straight-up no-holds-barred Palestinian activist.
That's okay with me; no problem. More power to him. Don't care.

You don't like Israel. Why? I don't know.
I understand that you believe Israel to be violent and inhumane. That they are the world's bad guys.
I understand that you believe Palestine to be the rightful owner of the land. I understand that you believe Israel to be stealing it, that they should be stopped and sent packing. That the rest of the world should group up and "award" the piece of land to the Palestinians.
I envy you your simplistic absolutely-convinced entrenched position.
There's nothing for you to learn, no new thoughts to think. You already know it all and it's very black and white.
Israel = bad. They kill everything on sight. They blow up small children.
Palestine = good. Peace-loving and open. Just defending their homes and children.
~The end~

Ennealogic said...

Thank you, Phil, for taking this stand. Extremism comes in many flavors and carries many flags, and always seeks to find acceptance by clothing itself as if it were the greater ideology with which people can identify. We see it in the Christian, Muslim and yes, Jewish traditions. This extremism must be bravely called out wherever it arises.

Thank you.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 2:29 pm:

What makes you think I don't like Israel? If I don't like the policies of Canada, it does not mean I "don't like Canada."

For you to assert my positions on these matters that have a profound effect on the USA are simply "black and white" or have no nuance is simply wrong.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

Holy shit Phil! Are you trying to convince yourself or the world that you aren't anti-Israel?