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Jewish Groups Object to Anti-Muslim Ad

Several prominent Jewish groups have gone on the record to object to the anti-Muslim ads.

Jewish Groups Object to Anti-Muslim Ad

(Forward)

Jewish groups are seeking to limit the damaging fallout from a controversial New York subway ad campaign that brands Muslims as “savages.”

Groups that work to build interfaith relations between Jews and Muslims are speaking out against the provocative ads, paid for by anti-Islamic activist Pamela Geller and the American Freedom Defense Initiative, that urge readers to “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

A judge ordered the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to start running the ads in a small number of subway stations during the last week of September. “The challenge for us now is to raise our voices to say that these ads don’t represent and don’t reflect the mainstream American Jewish community,” said Mark Pelavin, senior adviser at the Union for Reform Judaism and associate director of the Religious Action Center.

Along with the pro-Israel message, the ad exhorts readers: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.”

The timing of the campaign could not be worse, as anger is still simmering worldwide over the anti-Islamic YouTube film “Innocence of Muslims,” which insults the Prophet Muhammad. Despite the small reach of the AFDI campaign – only 10 ads among the 11,000 spread across New York City’s 400-odd subway stations – the reaction to it is unpredictable.

Jewish advocates are particularly disturbed by the ads because they combine anti-Islamic propaganda and pro-Israel discourse as if supporting Israel and rejecting Islam were two sides of the same coin.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and a longtime champion of interreligious dialogue, told the Forward that he was “troubled” by the linking of Islam and Judaism in such a contentious way.

“People must understand that there is not a conflict between Muslims and Jews,” Schneier said. “The only conflict there is is between those who believe in coexistence and those who seek to destroy human rights.”

Schneier added that in the same way that other seemingly small manifestations against Islam have been taken as extremely offensive in the past, it would not be hard to imagine how this “could mutate in other parts of the Muslim world” — and raise anti-Israel feelings.

“These ads are Islamophobia at its worst, and in a very irresponsible fashion, since Israel has been brought into the frame,” Schneier said.

The MTA initially refused to run the ads, calling them “demeaning.” But U.S. District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled that they constitute protected speech under the First Amendment. He specifically cited the pro-Israel perspective of the ads as evidence of their political character.

The New York office of the Anti-Defamation League released a statement in July, when the court decision against the MTA was first announced, referring to the campaign as “highly offensive and inflammatory.” The ADL, however, agreed with Engelmayer’s decision that the MTA had no right to block the ADS. Geller, who publishes a blog called Atlas Shrugs, called the judge’s order “a victory for the First Amendment” in an interview with Fox News, and said she didn’t think it would spark protests from Muslims.

San Francisco’s transportation authority agreed to run the same adS, but inserted a small white square next to each ad, stating that it “doesn’t support this message.” But the MTA said such a disclaimer would violate its marketing policy.

Contact Andrea Palatnik at palatnik@forward.com

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  • Kyle

    Muslims who are pro-israel are out of touch with reality. Remember, israel is probably the most homogenously xenophobic country in the world today- especially where the youth are concerned- you just need to look up “israeli racism” on youtube or any search engine.
    Additionally, the government of israel constantly pitches to the west that it is the “bulwark” against the “islamic hordes” and therefore needs to be supported without the slightest criticism of it’s horrid policies.

    Point is, any person who calls themselves muslim (or christian- excluding the evangelicals who want the second coming) but supports israel/zionism, must be some kind of fool or terribly short sighted.

  • Surya Dharma

    An excellent response to the bigoted ads:

    When Savages Unite
    http://truth-out.org/speakout/item/11671-when-savages-unite

  • RDS

    I might not agree on Mona Eltahawy on many things (not the least her last article that got discussed here), but getting arrested by the police for defacing Geller’s ad?

    For this moment, I take my hat off. Let this not simply be a publicity stunt (though some things reek of it, I’ll take my cynicism radar off for a bit)

  • Arun

    @Mohammad Al-Arabi

    India including it’s Muslims is the most pro Israel country in the world. More pro Israel than even the USA. Sizeable muslim populations that are pro Israel exist in Russia and Central Asian countries like Azerbaijan, the Balkan and East European Muslim majority countries like Albanian, Bosnian are pro Israel too.

    Snapshot: Russian Muslim Fans Pay Tribute To Israeli Player With Message In Hebrew
    http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/europa_league/94610/snapshot-russian-muslim-fans-pay-tribute-to-israeli-player-with-message-in-hebrew.html

    Israel and Indian Muslims: Where we stand
    http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/they-call-me-muslim/2010/01/10/israel-and-indian-muslims-where-we-stand/
    How do we, as Indian Muslims, at once reconcile our bilateral ties with Israel and our support for Palestinians? The answer lies in Islam’s very approach towards Judaism. Remember, we are the very People of the Book. Remember, anti-Semitism is anti-Islamic.

    American Jewish group takes Indian Muslims to Israel
    http://www.indianmuslims.info/news/2007/aug/15/american_jewish_group_takes_indian_muslims_israel.html
    http://www.indianmuslims.info/news/2007/aug/15/american_jewish_group_takes_indian_muslims_israel.html

    Indian Muslim Leaders Praise Israel During Official Visit
    The Muslim leaders’ visit to Sderot on Monday included a first-hand lesson on Palestinian Authority rocket attacks.
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/123448

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32)

    Sounds good to me Yakoub

    Sir David

  • http://www.steampunkshariah.info/blog/ Yakoub

    How about someone running an ad that reads: “Pam Geller’s adverts are reminiscent of Nazi propaganda”? Or better still, a quote from her mate Anders praising her (and clearly identifying him as a mass murderer). Make sure the add includes her photo and phone number.

  • Mohammed Al-Arabi

    @NurAlia: What do you mean by most Muslims being pro-Israel? This isnt corroborated at all by any poll I’ve seen, or from my own experiance. Dont alter the facts to suite a particular perception. There is nothing wrong with being anti-Israel, and in fact, it is an ethical position to take. The state has been founded on false colonial pretexts, and we should remain opposed to it until the rights of the Palestinian people are restored in full.

  • Sarah Brown
  • mindy1

    Aww thanks Tinka đź?€

  • http://www.fivechinesecrackers.com/ Tinka Boutit

    I am glad that LW highlights this good news to an international audience, because many of us don’t see this picture in the war-fevered incestuous corporate MSM!

    That a community which has suffered so much is portrayed as only being represented by genocidal paranoid existentialists is a scandal.

    mindy1, is a heroine to the cause of a common humanity, the core spirit of all true faiths.

    Well Done the civilized against the real savages (the emotionally incontinent sociopaths without empathy for the Other!)

  • NurAlia

    Most Muslims are ‘pro Jewish’ and actually pro Israel. Just as we criticise the actions of the leaders of the United States does not mean we hate Americans, the same applies to Israel. I dont know any Muslim who hates Jews, or Israelis…but I and most speak strongly against the Israeli government, and thier leaders in the way we percieve the way Israel treats it’s neighbours…especially on ‘parity of the rule of law’ issues.

    I know that Jews do not support Pamela Geller, or this advertising campaign of her and her supporters and funders. I see her using Jews as a ‘perjoritive’ to prevent criticising of her advertisement more than real support of Jews in much the way that the EDL waves the Israeli flag at thier hatefests.

  • Bob

    Echoing Mindy1’s sentiments. Good to hear from some righteous yids. But it is unfortunately the truth that Jewish antisemites (in the truest sense) like Pamela Geller, David Horowitz, the Chernicks, and David Yerushalmi ALL link hatred of Islam to demonization of Islam. After all, Israel’s only giving a dose of the same medicine to those evil Palestinians — and they’re all jihadis anyway, and by the way they’re all Muslims (except for the Christians, but that’s a different story). Israel’s continued militarism is easily justified when you insist that all of the other countries in the Middle East are overrun with jihadis TOO. And when those pesky skeptical people ask, “how can every Arab country be jihadi?” all you need do is say, “because every Muslim is one.” Easy peasey. Case closed. And the dim-witted are being fed this merde by FOX.

  • mindy1

    Go Jews against hate-way to represent my tribe đź?€ đź?€

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold CriticalDragon1177

    @Emperor

    I’m glad that there are a lot of people out there that see Geller’s bigotry for what it is.

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