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Published on Oct 2, 2012
Last week I wrote of the MTA hearing I attended on whether they were going to change their policy to refuse all political ads (background here). It was, essentsally, a freak show. The people who attended were for the most part OWS thugs, anarchists, and Jew-haters. They spoke as one violent and hateful voice, attacking the board members, attacking the system, attacking me, attacking everything they could.
OWS had sent out a notice earlier that day calling Eltahawy's anti-free speech fascist vandalism a "righteous act" and saying: "If it wasn't clear before, it is now obvious that the MTA is incapable of operating public transportation for the 99%." At the hearing, one OWS brownshirt said to the MTA Board: "You all would be shivering if you knew what's coming! Your days are numbered!"
In this poisonous atmosphere, I was grateful to be given the opportunity to speak. I explained the context of the ad, how it was a response to the anti-Israel ads that ran in the subways with no complaints. Of course, these free speech crushers did everything they could to shout me down. They were escorted out quickly.
I asked why this meeting had not taken place when not one, but numerous anti-Israel ads were up. That in itself shows an institutionalized, systemic anti-Israel bias. This is New York. They're worried about provoking jihadis? In 1993 there were no ads up, or cartoons or movies about Muhammad, but the World Trade Center got hit just the same. Nor were there any ads "offensive to Muslims" before 9/11.
They worried that the ads are "racist"? Jihad is not a race. I asked them to consider their decision very carefully -- I understand the pressure of the critical media and the howl of the mob. But the world is watching. As messy as this conversation is, this is the price of the freedom of speech. I asked them to stand for the freedom of speech, make the tough decision and do the right thing.