Sep
20

Geller ads set to make subway debut

By

Pamela Geller’s controversial anti-Islam ads will begin appearing in 10 subway stations throughout the city, the MTA announced yesterday. These ads have been the subject of much litigation over the past few years as Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative group successfully sued the MTA over its advertising practices. After Geller won her case on First Amendment grounds, the same judge chided the authority over its slow response to the ruling, and thus, in advance of next week’s board meeting, the authority’s hand has been forced.

As The Times reported yesterday, the MTA is essentially being forced by a judge’s order to accept and publish the ads. The MTA had asked for a stay pending the September 27 board meeting, but the judge told the MTA it had two weeks to revise its policy or appeal. Instead, the MTA will run the ads as the references to Muslims as “savages” do not constitute “demeaning” language under the current guidelines.

The MTA said that, in spite of the geopolitical events in the Middle East, it must accept the ad, but it could have appealed or revised its policies. The judge’s initial ruling gave the authority enough of an out to reject the ad had it worked to restructure its advertising guidelines, but the Board hasn’t met since the ruling came out. So the ad will arrive, amidst controversial and fanfare. Hopefully, a new ad policy isn’t too far behind.



51 Responses to “Geller ads set to make subway debut”

  1. JE says:

    I am no fan of Geller and her tactics, but it is worth noting that this ad makes *no* mention of “Islam.” Every centrist and right-of-center pro-Israel organization I know would have no issue referring to Ahmedinejad or Hamas leadership as “savages.”

    • Frank B. says:

      But do two wrongs make a right?

      • JE says:

        So you think it’s offensive to opine that Ahmadinejad and Hamas leaders are “savages?” Or am I misinterpreting your comment?

    • petey says:

      ahmedinejad is not a savage. he’s playing local politics, as every politician does. if his office gave him any power he’d have tried to act on what he says – but he hasn’t, and can’t. the real leadership in iran simply wouldn’t allow anything so stupid.

      btw, could the MTA refuse anti-settler ads? they’re violent people motivated by a kind of religious imperialism too.

      • Rob Stevens says:

        you are wrong all around. the ‘real leadership’ in iran says the same thing he does.

        and settlers are violent? where do you get your news? when was the last time settlers killed innocents? or is wanting to live somewhere a capital crime in your demented view?

        • Garg says:

          According to the UN, violent attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their property has increased by almost 150% since 2009.

          Three Palestinians were killed and 183 injured by settlers last year.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.....alestinian

        • Bolwerk says:

          Where do you get yours? No deaths, but this just happened four days ago. You can find plenty of reports settler-on-Palestinian violence and vice-versa with a simple Google search.

          And why do settlers have to live in the settlements? There are plenty of other places to live.

          • Alon Levy says:

            And why do settlers have to live in the settlements?

            Depends, really. The Israeli government subsidizes “national priority areas” (i.e. the settlements, the Galilee, and the desert south), and on top of that builds cheap public housing in the settlements, while dragging its feet on any non-luxury development in the center, where most people want to live.

            A small majority of the settler population is really just sprawl from the center and Jerusalem that the government directed to the Territories. Another large chunk of the population is farther out, in places like Ariel, but still fundamentally composed of people who would be living 15 minutes from Tel Aviv if the government gave the same incentives to live near Tel Aviv that it does to live in the Territories.

            Beyond that, there’s the hardcore of the settler movement. They build to stake a claim to the entirety of Greater Israel. Most of the violence is committed by them, and not by the quality-of-life people who live where housing is cheap.

        • Alon Levy says:

          and settlers are violent? where do you get your news?

          Your free speech rights to comment on Israel have been revoked. Thanks for playing.

          (Pro-tip: do not try to dig further. You evidently do not speak the language. I do.)

    • Bolwerk says:

      Mention or no mention, the message is obvious – and indicates a rather unsurprising lack of understanding of affairs in that region, too. Calling Hamas “savage” may be fair, but implying an entire ethnic and/or religious group is savage is not.

      Also, being “right-of-center” is a fairly solid indication of savagery itself. And Pamela Geller, frankly, takes that so far that it doesn’t leave much to distinguish her from the jihadists she so despises, except perhaps a (figurative) lack of balls.

      • JE says:

        “Also, being “right-of-center” is a fairly solid indication of savagery itself.”

        So 40+% of the US population is no better than Hamas? LOL. I am pleased to see that you are so tolerant of opposing views.

        • VLM says:

          You must be new here. Bolwerk makes Che Guevera look like a hard-line right winger sometimes. :)

          • JE says:

            Hehehe. I knew Bolwerk was a lefty but didn’t know about his longtime beef with Che.

            I was simply taking issue with Ben’s “anti-Islam” comment. Geller may fit that description but IMHO the wording of the ad is not at all offensive.

            • SEAN says:

              The wording may not be offensive, but ads like these at a time of increasing unrest & violance in the middle east may cause unintended blowback here.

              What was considered right of center as recently as 15-years ago has become way left of center today. Notice how the influence of the T-party continues to increase while the old school republicans & even some demacrats are defeated or choose not to run do to the extreme pollerizing climate in Washington today.

          • Bolwerk says:

            Say what you want about his ideology, Che’s tactics were pretty hardline right-wing: intimidation, torture, political executions. But that shouldn’t stop liberals libertarians Libertarians from making a buck of it!

        • Bolwerk says:

          Uh, no, and lumping people in groups of “better” and “worse” is exactly how we end up with chauvinist groups like Hamas or the JDL. 40% of the U.S. probably is center-right, but another 30%+ is actually pig ignorant/batshit right-wing.

          Also, you’re probably (and Geller is definitely) missing the point to Hamas. They aren’t the same types religious hardliners that make up Wahhabi groups. They might be religious, but their MO is more something like militant nationalism. “Nationalism” is probably not quite the right word, but it’s about the best I can come up with.

          • SEAN says:

            , but their MO is more something like militant nationalism. In effect that is where the T-party is headed to some degree, but the correct term should be hypernationalism.

            You said it best when you posted, “40% of the U.S. probably is center-right, but another 30%+ is actually pig ignorant/batshit right-wing.” Even if those percentages aren’t exact, it’s a valid point. Infact I know someone who is hypernationalistic regarding Israel & if you disagree with him on any point he refers to you as an antisemmite especially if you are a liberal.

      • Jerrold says:

        Who is SHE bombing/shooting/hijacking?

        I do not 100% agree with her, but her freedom of speech is one of our cherished American rights.

        Just try exercising freedom of speech anywhere in the Middle East, except in Israel.

        • Jerrold says:

          [CORRECTED VERSION]

          To Bolwerk: Who is SHE bombing/shooting/hijacking?

          I do not 100% agree with her, but her freedom of speech is one of our cherished American rights.

          Just try exercising freedom of speech anywhere in the Middle East, except in Israel.

          • Nyland8 says:

            It’s worth remembering that even “free speech” has it’s limitations. We’ve long recognized that saying things that incite violence, rioting and panic, for example, are NOT protected speech. That’s why yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater that isn’t on fire still violates the law.

            So there can be a fine line between merely expressing one’s opinion, as opposed to saying things that are deliberately inflammatory and lead to violence. Speech, if it provokes violence, is not protected speech.

            • JE says:

              Salman Rushdie will be very sorry to hear that. Ditto with Bill Maher, the South Park creators, and the ghost of Theo van Gogh.

              By the way, do you know anything about Skokie?

          • Bolwerk says:

            Nobody. She doesn’t have the balls these Muslim cats have. But where are you imagining I said something about depriving her of freedom of speech? All I did was use my own freedom to speak to point out why she’s an ignorant twit. (And why do right-wingers suddenly discover/cherish the First Amendment when Muslim bashing starts, anyway? It’s not on their radar most of the time.)

            Hell, I even generally agree that Islam is stupid and many (most?) Muslims are way too uptight about their idiotic prophet. I still won’t overlook that most criticisms that you can apply to deranged religious people over there, to greater or lesser extents, can be applied to the Christian right here – or to Israel’s increasing authoritarian administration, for that matter.

            Maybe the problem is just with monotheism!

            • petey says:

              “But where are you imagining I said something about depriving her of freedom of speech? All I did was use my own freedom to speak to point out why she’s an ignorant twit.”

              this is an excellent point. to criticize the righteous rightwingers is to “want to” “silence” them. the idea that others also can have an opinion and voice it seems illegitimate to them.

        • JE says:

          Agreed, Jerrold. Unfortunately, some here are of the view, “Free speech for me, but not for thee.”

          • Bolwerk says:

            Who? Who has that view? I don’t agree with Nyland8 on the matter, but even he appears to take the position that there are objective limits, not arbitrary ones.

            • JE says:

              There is nothing “objective” in Nyland’s comments.

              Are you suggesting that ultra-conservative Catholics should threaten murderous violence to protect Christ and the Virgin Mary from blasphemous depictions on display at museums and galleries? Is that the standard you seek?

              If the Supreme Court was able to strike down a federal flag desecration law and if the Nazis had the constitutional right to protest in Skokie — and we all “hate Illinois Nazis” — then please explain how a bunch of savages running around outside of the United States can dictate to us what we may or may not publish in this country.

              • Bolwerk says:

                Uh, you completely avoided my question with a barrage of red herrings. Who has even suggested a “Free speech for me, but not for thee” standard? Not me and not Nyland8, who takes almost the opposite position from me. So, who?

                I didn’t say there was anything objective about Nyland8’s comments. All I said was he appears to take a position that there can be objective limits on freedom of speech (under American law?).

                And I really don’t know what brought on the next two paragraphs of non-sequiturs, either. Where did I (or anyone else) say anything about letting ultra-conservative Catholics do their inquisition dance? Or letting anyone dictate what can or can’t be published?

                • JE says:

                  “It’s worth remembering that even “free speech” has it’s limitations. We’ve long recognized that saying things that incite violence, rioting and panic, for example, are NOT protected speech. That’s why yelling ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theater that isn’t on fire still violates the law.

                  “So there can be a fine line between merely expressing one’s opinion, as opposed to saying things that are deliberately inflammatory and lead to violence. Speech, if it provokes violence, is not protected speech.”

                  Admittedly, this quote is not yours but does represent a gross misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

                  In contrast, you just hurl insulting language at those Americans who don’t share your far-left views.

                  And those were not non-sequiturs and red herrings: If Nyland believes that the stupid video is not constitutionally proteected, then the points I raised are quite relevant.

                  • Bolwerk says:

                    Objecting to someone not getting her facts straight is now “far-left”? Goodness, how far we’ve come.

                    Unlike Geller and her teabagger ilk, I can actually poke fun at authoritarians of all stripes without being a hypocrite. But you certainly won’t catch me advocating for limiting what people are allowed to say.

                    Admittedly, this quote is not yours but does represent a gross misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

                    It’s a common view amongst the Geller-Santorum spectrum of Republikans, however. Since I already said I disagreed with it, I don’t see why it’s brought up in response to me.

                    you just hurl insulting language at those Americans who don’t share your far-left views.

                    Wait, so you can make whatever blanket ignorant statement you want about Palestinians or Muslims (“savage”), but take aim at Americans or Israelis and it becomes “insulting language”? You can’t have it both ways: if you’re going to mind traits in Hamas, you can’t ignore the same elements at home.

                    Also, I generally take aim at positions, not people. Sometimes you can’t avoid addressing personal traits however – i.e., Geller is ignorant of both Islam and Hamas and it goes to her motivations.

                    However, I certainly don’t feel any obligation to be nice to people who would oppress, and in many cases attempt to physically harm, me, no matter what passport they have.

                    And those were not non-sequiturs and red herrings: If Nyland believes that the stupid video is not constitutionally proteected, then the points I raised are quite relevant.

                    They most certainly were non-sequiturs, since they were addressed to me in response to an unrelated inquiry. I asked who here has the “Free speech for me, but not for thee” double standard, and you still haven’t answered the question.

                    • JE says:

                      “I asked who here has the “Free speech for me, but not for thee” double standard, and you still haven’t answered the question.”

                      You still haven’t figured it out??? Nyland appears to have a very selective idea of what is protected free speech, as do up to half of the geniuses on MSNBC.

                      “Wait, so you can make whatever blanket ignorant statement you want about Palestinians or Muslims (“savage”)…”

                      Show me where I accused all Palestinians or Muslims being savages. Hint: I didn’t. Not.Even.Close.

                      The US State Department designates Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Revolutionary Guards as terror groups. You can look it up, if you’d like.

                      By the way, I think this SNL sketch from ’89 puts the issue into proper perspective:

                      http://www.hulu.com/watch/279573

                      Close: “Maybe if we had defied the Ayatollah’s threats right from the start, the right to lifers, the Colombians, and the IRA wouldn’t have gotten the same idea!”

                    • Bolwerk says:

                      I answered in a new thread.

        • Chris G says:

          Freedom of speech means you have the right to say it.

          It does not mean it goes without consequences or is a good idea.

        • Alon Levy says:

          Try exercising your freedom of speech within Israel. Go ahead. A centrist engineer who attacked the government for choosing a missile defense system that in his opinion is less effective than the alternative is facing criminal charges for insulting a public official; he hasn’t said anything Larry Littlefield hasn’t said here about unions and pensions. That’s how they treat people with mainstream political beliefs. If you’re a leftist or an Arab (or both), it’s much worse.

      • Kid Twist says:

        Someone takes out an ad decrying people who pervert their their faith to foment a murder and terror, you jump to the conclusion that it’s a reference to all Muslims … but Geller is the bigot?

        • Bolwerk says:

          Her ad made the deliberately blanket accusation that one side of the Israel v. Palestinian conflict – I don’t even buy that there are only two sides, but never mind that – is “civilized” and the other is “savage.”

          It was pretty plainly bigoted. And the reverse would have been bigoted too.

  2. Frank B. says:

    Good Lord.

    We should pool our money together and run “Pamela Geller is a hate-mongering, anti-religous bigot.” ads.

    Sound like a plan? Or would that be too “demeaning” in the eyes of this judge?

    Any judge worth his salt would consider classifying 1.6 billion people worldwide as ‘savages’ as demeaning language… This judge has an agenda.

    • Bolwerk says:

      Drawing attention to her is probably just generally a bad idea. If the U.S. broadcast press didn’t give so much free P.R. to people like her, we wouldn’t even be discussing this, and she probably wouldn’t have had the money to pay for her idiot ads. At least not so many of them.

      • Adirondacker12800 says:

        But a Not in Our Town – New York City edition ad running on the buses calling her an ignorant bigot…. well Not in Our Town would be more polite – shows that freedom of speech works both ways. Barring that a shoe polish campaign – defacing all the ads might be just the thing. Too bad that would be illegal – defacing ads…

        • Alon Levy says:

          Not In Our Town could work. (Would work even better if there were less police profiling of everyone who looks Muslim, but you defend the city you have, not the city you’d want to live in.) Defacement couldn’t; the important thing about this is to maintain sympathy, and deprive the racists of the same. Blanket bans like the German ban on Holocaust denial makes them look like victims of censorship, in a way that neutral rules about demeaning language do not. Defacement makes them look like victims of vandalism. And so on.

          • Bolwerk says:

            Well, if the MTA has to run them (and I actually think they should have to, honestly) it would be pretty funny to see them run with a disclaimer about how she’s a friggin’ idiot. Totally constitutional too.

            That said, I agree with your comments about fascist/authoritarian goals, but the flip side of that criticism is that people so easily incited need to grow up too. Muslims aren’t going to stop seeing Muhammad mocked/defaced/satired/parodied in this century. They need to learn to live with it, just like Christians, et al, have to live with things like this.

    • Miles Bader says:

      Hmm, even if the MTA must run the ads, surely they’re free to add some large text below saying “The above advertisement is ignorant bullshit, but we are legally required to display it.”

  3. John-2 says:

    I’d be interested to know if the contract specifies what stations the ads have to run in — as I mentioned in the Barclay’s Center thread on Wednesday, sticking them at that stop, which is used by the area’s Arabic community, is probably just asking for trouble, as would sticking them at the highest-trafficked stations in Manhattan. But if the MTA can put at least half of the ads at some of the less-used stations within the system, they would be meeting the judge’s orders while trying to keep the potential controversy from the ads to a minimum.

    • BoerumBum says:

      I, for one, would be interested to see how quickly the ads are vandalized to the point of illegibility.

      I wonder if the pricing of such ads in the future might need to factor in the cost of repairs.

  4. MadPark says:

    C’mon – let her have her say – we need more of our populace exposed to the numbers of these yahoos that are around in our nation. Ignorance of her ilk breeds the kind of teevee induced bliss so many of our citizens enjoy.

    • Alon Levy says:

      No. Incitement like this has a triggering effect on people. That’s why those ads are there in the first place. The fascists know that they’re a minority; their hope is to incite riots and hate. The US traditionally has the best-integrated Muslim and Arab communities in the Western world, and every time there’s a massacre like the one of the Arab church near Detroit, it not only kills people but also creates the sort of social alienation that produces the next generation’s terrorists.

      Geller and her ilk want this fight. Don’t give it to them. For all of my criticisms of Bloomberg’s autocracy, he does try to solve racial tensions before they happen, as seen for example with his no-nonsense attitude toward Cordoba Center.

      • Mad Park says:

        “The fascists know that they’re a minority; their hope is to incite riots and hate.” I’ll grant you this, but I’ll maintain that there is far too little awareness/cognizance on the part of the vast majority of the US public about these groups. Whether the Southern Poverty Law Centre exposes them or they expose themselves, every little bit helps.

        • Alon Levy says:

          In general, you may be right. But in this case, the primary activism of Geller et al is to incite people in public forums like this. They do not shoot people surreptitiously, in which case a public unveiling would be good; they instead incite hatred so that someone will see the ad and react violently. The campaign is the goal – the primary one, since anti-sharia state laws are a stupid moral panic.

  5. Jipsy says:

    Glad to see Pam is getting these up. Very important people realize what’s at stake here. Ignorance of people like MadPark needs a good lesson

  6. MDC says:

    I look forward to seeing these ads after the finest wit and artistry of New York City subway riders have been inflicted on them.

  7. Bolwerk says:

    You still haven’t figured it out??? Nyland appears to have a very selective idea of what is protected free speech,

    Well, that explains why I didn’t figure it out. It doesn’t make sense (surprise). Nyland may be, in my view, wrong, but he didn’t exhibit a double standrd.

    as do up to half of the geniuses on MSNBC

    Now where did MSNBC come from? Are you just trying to make things up to see what sticks?

    Show me where I accused all Palestinians or Muslims being savages. Hint: I didn’t. Not.Even.Close.

    You didn’t. I intended “you” as an indefinite personal pronoun. However, you seem to be on a bumblefuck crusade to defend someone who did.

    The US State Department designates Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Revolutionary Guards as terror groups. You can look it up, if you’d like.

    I’m quite aware of what the US State Department calls them. It’s not relevant to anything I said. These groups are clearly cretinous, but do not represent many of the world’s Muslims, which is what Geller (and possibly you) doesn’t understand.

    By the way, I think this SNL sketch from ’89 puts the issue into proper perspective:

    Hulu doesn’t work on Linux. But nobody is talking about caving into Ayatollah types. (Well, unless they’re the types who burn Korans.) The issue here is someone purchasing bigoted subway ads, not the idea that westerners are going to stop reading Dante to placate troglodytes.

  8. Alon Levy says:

    I’m going to guess that I’m the only Hebrew speaker here.

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