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N.Y. transit authority weighs options on anti-Islam subway ad

NEW YORK (JTA) — New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it is considering its options after a U.S. District Court ordered the authority to run an advertisement that reads "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

The MTA’s quandary comes in the wake of recent protests in Arab countries and in Arab communities around the world over an anti-Muslim film that resulted in the deaths of American diplomats in Libya and violence at American embassies.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan told The New York Times on Tuesday that the authority will consider changing its ad policy at a board meeting next week — the same week that the ad is scheduled to run in 10 New York City subway stations as a result of the court order issued in August. The ad also reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man."

The ad is sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, or AFDI, whose executive director, conservative blogger Pamela Geller, is a fiery critic of Muslims, liberals and mainstream Jewish organizations.

In 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center branded the organization a hate group, while the Anti-Defamation League said in March that Geller “fuels and fosters anti-Muslim bigotry in society.”

The New York Times reported that ad space purchased by AFDI in Washington has been “deferred,” its transportation authority said Tuesday, “out of a concern for public safety, given current world events.” According to the Times, the New York MTA does not have the option to defer because of the court order.

In June, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles abruptly canceled an event at which Geller was scheduled to speak. While the federation did not comment publicly on its decision, the event’s sponsor, the Zionist Organization of America, said the federation cited security concerns for the cancellation.

In September 2011, the MTA ran ads calling for an end to U.S. aid for Israel.
 

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