Last Wednesday, angry at being ordered by a federal court to run our ad criticizing Hamas and Islamic antisemitism, the New York City MTA voted to ban all political ads. Pamela Geller was there; she has a full account here, and you can see her own impassioned and eloquent remarks in defense of the freedom of speech and in opposition to the ban here. Go to PamelaGeller.com for more news and video about this.
AFDI is challenging this ban, which applies to everyone but was adopted solely in order to silence our ads — as they were the only ones discussed at the MTA Board meeting. Lawyers David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise have already written to the MTA stating that our ads are not political, and hence should run. We’ll see how these fascist foes of free discourse respond.
“Group behind anti-jihad ads challenges MTA ban,” by Rebecca Harshbarger and Rich Calder, New York Post, April 30, 2015:
The group that wants to run an anti-Muslim ad on city buses filed a letter in Manhattan federal court on Thursday charging that their ad is a public service and the MTA’s new policy violates its constitutional rights.
Judge John Koeltl ruled earlier this month that the MTA had to run an ad by The American Freedom Defense Initiative that read “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” as well as “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”
On Wednesday, the MTA banned all political, religious, and opinion ads from the transit system following a fierce debate among officials over the First Amendment.
It still allows public service announcements, as well as commercial and governmental ads.
The MTA had filed a letter in court last Friday that said their proposed ad policy had rendered the AFDI’s claims “moot.”
The AFDI fired back in a letter on Thursday that “its public service advertisement is an educational message,” and that the MTA’s claims were “legally deficient, if not frivolous.”
It then urged the judge to require the MTA to show the controversial ad immediately.
It’s new policy prohibits any ads that advocate a political, religious, moral, or social message.
It also bans any ads that encourage unsafe behavior in the transit system.
The MTA said Thursday it was reviewing the letter.