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Chapel Hill, N.C., to revisit bus ad policy over anti-Israel ad

(JTA) – A North Carolina town council will review its policy regarding political advertising on public buses as a debate rages over an anti-Israel ad.

The Chapel Hill Town Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday comes as ads have been placed on nearly 100 city buses calling for the end of U.S. military aid to Israel. The ads were placed by the Chapel Hill Church of Reconciliation, a Presbyterian church, as part of a national campaign by an organization called Two People, One Future.

The Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill sent an email Sept. 7 to members of the Jewish community encouraging them to attend the Wednesday council meeting but has not taken a specific stance, according to Steven Schauder, the federation’s executive director.

“We recognize that there are diverse perspectives in the community,” he told JTA. “The town should review its policy.”

Schauder also said that he and other Jewish community leaders met with Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt on Aug. 30, and that “The mayor was pretty clear that he’s against having political ads.”

In the meeting, according to Schauder’s email, “We informed the mayor that other townships have chosen to either refuse these ads or take them down once they are posted on the grounds that they impose upon the commuters who are in legal terms ‘a captive audience.’ We also expressed our displeasure of how these ads single out Israel as the sole deterrent to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The ads ran for about 10 days in August. They were pulled Aug. 24 because they did not adhere to town policy requiring that political ads carry sponsor names, according to news reports.

Schauder said the ads were placed again early this week, this time listing the Chapel of Reconciliation as the sponsor.

Several other organizations co-sponsored the ad, according to news reports.
 

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