Excellent coverage of the historic ruling in the AFDI vs MTA free speech ruling from America's largest Jewish newspaper.
A Manhattan judge ruled against the MTA this morning to allow The American Freedom Defense Initiative to post pro-Israel ads that brand Jihadists as “savages.”
The ruling has been almost a year in the making and began when Pamela Geller of AFDI initiated the posting of the ads in response to anti-Israel ads that called for a cessation of U.S. aid to Israel.
At the time, representatives of CBS Outdoor, the MTA’s media management company rejected the ad saying that it “demeans an individual or group of individuals.”
“Federal Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, sitting in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ruled that the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) restriction on “demeaning” speech was unconstitutional,” read a release from the American Freedom Law Center which represented Geller in court.
“I was thrilled, not just for me but for everybody, its an enourmous victory for freedom. Disallowing the pro-Israel ad was clearly a politically motivated denial of free speech”, Geller said in an interview with The Algemeiner.
“I am going to go and run these these pro-Israel ads,” she said when asked if she was planning to go ahead with their placement. The case however isn’t completely over as, ”it seems the judge gave the MTA 30 days to file an appeal” Geller said, although it is unlikely that the MTA will go ahead with it.
The timing she said, is auspicious, “it’s not lost on me that this comes the day after the slaughter in Bulgaria, the war on the Jews is barbaric and savage.”
Geller also praised the Judge, ”he really did his homework she said, he cited my articles in the ruling, this was a very well considered, well thought out ruling and I think a superb decision. The case set a key legal precedent for the first amendment.”
For the MTA this is the second time in as many weeks that they have attracted attention over Israel related ads. The earlier case concerned anti-Israel ads that were posted this month at 50 metro North stations.
Responding to criticism from the Jewish community, including The Algemeiner the MTA told Fox News, “We do not decide whether to accept or reject a proposed ad based on the viewpoint that it expresses or because the ad might be controversial. The MTA does not endorse the viewpoint expressed in this ad, or any of the ads that it accepts for display.”
Geller says she was approved this morning to run Metro North ads as well, (pictured right) she says she is spending $10,000 on the campaign and they will appear at 50 stations on August 6th.
She did express some concern however that the MTA may look for other ways to ban the ads, ”My fear going forward is that they will issue some form of internal directive that bans political ads,” she concluded.
CBS Outdoor could not immediately be reached for comment on this story.