The closet anti-semites came out of the closet last Thursday night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The small and less than quaint town of Chapel Hill is running the notorious anti-Israel ads on their city buses. I have submitted our pro-Israel ads in response to counter the vicious annihilationist message and have not heard back yet from the town.
Townspeople have written me, alerting me to a contentious town meeting, with anti-semites out in force arguing against accepting the AFDI ads, shouting down holocaust survivors and their children.It sounds like a Bund rally. Once the city of Chapel Hill permitted political ads on their buses (no matter how ugly ie the anti-Israel ads) they cannot pick and choose what message they will or won't allow. Clearly, the town council and given Chapel Hill a black eye - allowing anti-Jewish messages to pollute their buses while refusing a counter message of freedom and support for a key ally.
Rest assured that the town will be sued if they dare post vile anti-Jewish posters without allowing a defense against such hateful propaganda. The "end US aid to Israel" implies that aid to israel is an impediment to peace, when in fact it is an impediment to the annihilation of Israel. It's an ugly business, this hatred of the Jews, Chapel Hill.
Here is a letter from one of the villagers to the Mayor of Chapel Hill:
Dear Mayor Kleinschmdt and Council Members,
Thank you for running a very orderly meeting last night. After listening to the comments of the Council Members last evening and sleeping on them last night, I want to share this proposed letter or op/ed which I plan to submit to local media. There was a major omission that I did not realize until later, namely:
No Discussion of the Staff Decision: the “gorilla in the room” at the Council Meeting Last night at the Chapel Hill Council meeting on the Anti-Israel ads, we heard a very well informed group of people explain to the Town Council that the ads fronted by Reverend Davidson but really supported by an anti-Israel national conspiracy were more than merely controversial, but were, in fact, specifically contrary to the Council Guidance.
It is clear that the Council Members face a dilemma they wish had never happened. If they accept the threat and contention from other speakers and from the ACLU that the ads are protected by the first amendment even on a “non-public forum”, how can they refuse the Geller ads, which have already been submitted? These read: "In any war between a civilized man and a savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." This is a very angry ad that was specifically designed by Pamela Geller to respond to the subway posting of the very same ad in NY that Davidson has posted here. Her ad was designed to skirt the exceptions to free speech guarantees just as the Davidson ad is. After a well-funded court battle, her ad is running in NY. She beat NY on this issue and she will beat Chapel Hill. The comments made by several of the Council members indicated a desire to uphold the decision of the staff to accept the anti-Israel ad and to ultimately reject the Geller ad as “too hateful.” One Councilwoman (Donna Bell) immediately grasped the absurdity and the ultimate failure of this tactic.
But no one even raised the question of reviewing and possibly reversing the decision taken by the unnamed and hidden staff. A better-informed staff would have taken the trouble to look under the hood to see the real purpose of the ad, to attack and endanger a recognizable people just as surely as some see Geller attacking all Moslems. Note that the word "Moslem" does not appear in her ad, but instead “Jihad” which is a political group of terrorists, not a "people."
The Council is very close to being in the position of allowing itself to be forced to accept both ads and many other painful ads in the future. This dilemma is largely the result of the failure to ask the staff how they could approve the Davidson ads in the first place under policies formulated by the Bus system, in turn formulated in compliance with the rules of “non-public” forum. These policies include grounds for refusing ads if “they can be interpreted as beingdisparaging…or disrespectful of persons or groups.” The same policies also say that refusal is permitted if they “portray individuals as inferior, evil or contemptible.” Likely some Council members believe that this latter wording provides a bright line to accept one unacceptable ad and refuse another. But Geller’s record in New York makes clear this will not work. The correct decision would have to been to at least discuss the possibility of senior review of the staff decision. It is not too late to make the right decision.
Here is the Mayor's email and the council members. Atlas readers should politely write and educate them on history and their path to evil. They are demonstrating an anti-semitic prejudice that is unacceptable in civilized societies.: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, LeeStorrow.CH@gmail.com.
"Chapel Hill bus ad controversy continues" NBC News 17
" No decision on Chapel Hill bus ads after two-hour debate" News Observer
CHAPEL HILL -- Are local buses public forums, and if they are, should the town continue to let groups run political and religious advertising on them?
The Chapel Hill Town Council was left to consider those questions Thursday night after hearing more than two hours of impassioned public comment.
Most speakers argued for keeping the current policy, and many council members appeared to agree.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said the policy at the very least might have to explicitly acknowledge the nature of buses as public forums. There will be other challenges in the future, he said.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative, for example, recently contacted the town about running an exterior bus ad that implies Muslims are savages. It reads, “In any war between civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Both Washington, D.C., and New York City’s transit agencies rejected the ad but lost their respective court cases and were required to post it.
Chapel Hill’s policy currently states buses are not public forums, but council member Laurin Easthom referenced a recent letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina that notes court judgments overruling similar local policies. The council may have unintentionally made the buses a public forum by allowing political and religious ads, she said.
Council member Donna Bell said she didn’t think there would be any political or religious ads that someone wouldn’t find offensive. If the staff can’t gauge the level of offense, the town can continue the policy or stop accepting ads altogether, she said.
“We have decided to do this in support of revenue, and it sounds like a large number of people in Chapel Hill would rather be comfortable on their bus than to generate that revenue,” Bell said.
Aid to Israel
More than 30 of the approximately 80 people at Thursday’s meeting spoke about the town’s policy or the ad posted in August that started the controversy.
That ad, paid for by the Church of the Reconciliation, shows pair of Palestinian and Israeli grandfathers holding their grandchildren with the message, “Join with us. Build peace with justice and equality. End U.S. military aid to Israel.”
The church’s pastor, the Rev. Mark Davidson, said the ads were posted to initiate discussion of a U.S. policy that sends $3.1 billion to Israel. The church’s website calls the policy a barrier to Mideast peace.
Many speakers argued the town should keep the ads and allow free expression on its buses. Resident John Heinemeier said he saw firsthand how U.S. money is used by the Israeli military to aid West Bank settlement expansion – “one of the destabilizing and most peace-resistant facts in the very precarious relationship between the Palestinians and Israelis.”
“I choose as a citizen that my tax dollars are not going to enable the establishment of more settlements in the occupied territories,” he said.
Opponents questioned why the ads single out Israel when other countries receive aid with one hand while attacking America with the other. Others mentioned family members lost to the Holocaust and how the ads reopen painful wounds.
Resident Ken Weiss said the ad’s focus is discriminatory, and the response shows how sensitive the issue is for the community.
“These ads are a searing and painful reminder of (Holocaust) crimes, and so many in this town – survivors, children of survivors – understand that issue,” he said.
The church paid $774 to run 98 ads inside Chapel Hill Transit buses for one year. The ads were posted Aug. 15 and taken down Aug. 25, because they didn’t include the church’s contact information. The ads were reposted a few days later.
The town has allowed ads inside buses for several years, and exterior bus ads were added last year. The town’s policy requires political and religious ads to include contact information, and it refuses false, misleading, deceptive or disrespectful ads; ads that imply the town endorses their message; and ads that are obscene.
Transit staff reported that no ads have been rejected, although the church’s ad is the only paid non-commercial political ad submitted so far. Raleigh’s bus policy does not accept political ads.
Jared Resnick, a local businessman, said he and other business owners are concerned about what the ads cause and what they represent. He offered the community free use of his West Franklin Street event space once a month to discuss the issue.
“Let’s start again and let’s get back to what this community was built up on – discussion and reason,” Resnick said.