N.Y. transit authority bans all political advertising


(JTA) — New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to ban all political advertising on its subways and buses, allowing it to refuse to display an ad about Muslims killing Jews.

The resolution passed Wednesday night at the MTA board meeting in a 9-2 vote and the ban became effective immediately, the New York Post reported.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that an anti-Islamic ad that includes the statement “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah” is protected speech under the First Amendment and must be allowed to run on public transportation. The MTA had argued unsuccessfully that the ad could be seen as a call to violence against Jews and could incite terrorism.

Under the resolution, MTA will permit only the display of commercial advertising, public service announcements and government messages on its buses and subways.

“Hateful speech is not harmless speech. Only a fool or rogue would argue otherwise,” Charles Moerdler, an MTA board member and Holocaust survivor who voted for the new policy, said following the vote, according to the Post.

The ad is sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is headed by blogger Pamela Geller and is known for its sharp anti-Muslim rhetoric. The ad has run in other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, without inciting violence.

Geller, who attended the meeting, said she will work to overturn the new MTA policy on political advertising.

The MTA joins Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia in banning political ads on public transit.

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