Despite continuing terrorist policies and refusal to negotiate in good faith with Israel, the supporters of the Palestinians want to take out ad space on Seattle buses to condemn Israel. Here are ways to help.
Thank you for your continued action and interest in the important events unfolding in Seattle. A lot is happening, especially on the political and media front! In red are suggested actions you can take – as you will see below, your efforts are making a difference. Thank you to all of you who submitted the information, and who took the actions, summarized here. Please continue to send me your ideas and updates, and I’ll compile and distribute. (If you did not receive the first batch, it’s appended below. And if you have had enough of this and want to drop off the list, just say so, no offense taken….)
· According to King 5, Metro is “scrambling to reassess its advertising policies” in the wake of your protests and the outpouring of indignation and concern. YAY!!! Your indignant calls and emails are having an effect on Metro. And KIRO Radio reports that “A spokeswoman for Metro Transit says the county has received about 600 comments since plans for the proposed bus ad became known.” WOW – that’s grassroots activism at its finest. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes Dow Constantine as saying, “These provocative ads bring in a negligible amount of revenue, but cost hundreds of hours staff time to address the intended controversy – time that is better spent providing bus service.” Constantine has asked Metro to review and update their policy regarding controversial or potentially inflammatory ads – if that’s done quickly enough, it may kill this campaign, if not for moral or political reasons, maybe only due to financial considerations for Metro. So….
· Keep the pressure on Metro, by calling their Customer Assistance Office (206-553-3060 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-553-3060 end_of_the_skype_highlighting), emailing email@example.com, or submitting the form at http://metro.kingcounty.gov/cs/FeedbackGeneral.html. I’m told that email and online comments can take a while to make their way through the Metro system, so phone calls are best.
· Please also keep the pressure on the King County management: County Executive Dow Constantine (KCExec@kingcounty.gov) and the County Council members (listed at http://kingcounty.gov/council/councilmembers.aspx). This is having an effect! King Councilmember, Bob Ferguson from District 1, wrote to a supporter, “I have travelled to Israel and am sensitive to the issues raised in your e-mail. I have received a great deal of feedback on this issue. This morning, I contacted Kevin Desmond, General Manager of King County Metro Transit, and Executive Dow Constantine to express my concerns. Executive Constantine has stated that Metro will be reviewing their policies regarding ads on buses.”
· King County Council President Pete von Reichbauer wrote to County Executive Dow Constantine (12/20), “I am a strong advocate of freedom of speech and a strong believer of common sense. And I believe very strongly that dangerous language can create dangerous environments in a society. I believe that this proposed bus advertising needs to be reviewed and reevaluated.” Von Reichbauer specifically mentioned the July 2006 murder at the Jewish Federation as an example of how anti-Israel rhetoric can provoke anti-Semitic hate crime. His letter was reported by King 5 and KIRO Radio (links above).
· You can also contact Linda Thielke, Transit Spokesperson for Metro at 206-684-1151 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 206-684-1151 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press & Blog Coverage
· The original King 5 story is still generating a lot of traffic. Last night at 10pm there were over 16,000 votes posted, running very slightly in our favor (“No” votes). By today (1pm) that number has more than doubled, and 65% have voted “Yes,” so the “other side” is also effectively campaigning for this. Please continue to vote and forward the link to this poll, asking others to vote “No”: http://www.king5.com/news/local/Israeli-War-Crimes-signs-to-go-on-Metro-buses-112108154.html
· King 5 ran a follow-up piece about the community outrage, http://www.king5.com/news/local/King-Co-calls-for-review-of-Israeli-War-Crimes-bus-signs-112200884.html.
· KIRO Radio has a similar story: http://www.mynorthwest.com/category/local_news_articles/20101220/Controversy-over-new-bus-billboards/. You can add comments to the KIRO story.
· Dori Monson had Ed Mast on his show on KIRO 97.3 FM today. Barbara Lahav of Seattle J Street called in and did a fabulous job stating the community concerns, rebutting Mast, and avoiding the trap Monson tried to set for her to call for censorship of the offending ads. Rob Jacobs (StandWithUs Northwest) is scheduled to be on the show at 2:15pm Pacific Time today. You can listen to it live here: http://www.mynorthwest.com/?nid=134 andpossibly call in. (I couldn’t find an MP3 archive of the show; let me know if you know of one.)
· Seattle Times: “Metro's acceptance of 'Israeli war crimes' bus ad draws complaints,” http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013725651_israelad21m.html is also accepting comments.
· The Seattle P-I piece mentioned above: http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/archives/232537.asp.
· Word has reached Israel – this is clearly not a local issue only: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/news/seattle-buses-to-carry-ads-about-israel-war-crimes-during-gaza-war-1.331854 is open for your comments.
· See also blog postings:
o David Brumer, 'Israeli War Crimes' signs to go on Seattle Metro buses: That's Right: Not Hamas War Crimes, but Israeli
o Judy Balint in Jerusalem, Anti-Israel Signs on Seattle Buses
o Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugged, Jew-Hatred Bus Ads Run in Seattle
o Elder of Zion, An answer to the anti-Israel Seattle bus ads
· Family Security Matters has a long and detailed exposé by Adrian Morgan on the people behind the campaign and its funding, in Seattle and elsewhere. Fascinating reading if you really want a deep dive:http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.8220/pub_detail.asp.
· The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle statement to the media and supporters can be found at http://jewishinseattle.org/news-events/news/statement-regarding-anti-israel-bus-ads. Federation has also created an online form petition – personal notes are always taken more seriously, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to write, you can add your name to the form letter here:http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5165/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5022
· The Seattle Chapter of the American Jewish Committee has also issued a statement titled “An AJC Analysis of Planned Metro Bus Ads.” I haven’t found this online but have it in email and am happy to forward to anyone who’d like to see it.
· A number of people have proposed running a pro-Israel (or even anti-Arab) ad campaign, either to educate and promote an alternative message or simply to challenge Metro’s policies regarding what ads they will accept. A few of you creative types have even gone as far as designing actual ads. StandWithUs (and possibly other organizations) is considering this and open to your ideas. Send them my way & I’ll compile and share as appropriate.
· Another Facebook group has been formed, “Stop The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign”, currently with over 450 members. If you’re a Facebook member, join it at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=139542212765513
· Continue to mobilize Israel supporters, distribution lists, Facebook and Twitter friends…. Feel free to forward this message and let people know they can contact me (email@example.com) to be added directly to future updates.
· An out-of-town activist proposed some “passive resistance,” such as sit-ins in front of buses with the ads so they can't leave station, or continuous calling to Metro’s lines to jam them. Once again, we do not condone or promote any illegal or disruptive behavior!!