King County Executive Prevents "Israeli War Crimes" bus ads from appearing
Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign 27 December 2010
Press Release - 24 December 2010
The upcoming Metro bus ad campaign by Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has been cancelled by the King County Executive. The Campaign will hold a outdoor press conference at noon Friday in front of the King County Administration Bldg.
The bus ads, with the message “ISRAELI WAR CRIMES: Your Tax Dollars At Work” had been approved and accepted by King County officials several weeks before. The Seattle Mideast Awareness Coalition had signed a contract, paid the complete amount – over $3000 – and the ads themselves had been printed and delivered to Metro Transit for affixing to 12 buses.
Israeli War Crimes Advert on side of bus (King 5 News depiction)
Several groups purporting to represent the Jewish community mounted a campaign to prevent King County from putting up the ads. Their campaign included overwhelming Metro and King County phone lines and email boxes, raising the threat of potential violence against both community members and buses themselves, and making defamatory claims about the ads and the advertisers.
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that the ad would not “be accepted” late in the afternoon on Thursday, citing potential disruptions and safety hazards to the Metro system.
“The ad itself is not disrupting Metro Transit operation and services,” says Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign member Edward Mast. “The ad is not causing a public safety hazard. Those who want the ad silenced mounted a campaign to disrupt Metro and generate threats. It’s disturbing that King County has given in to those who want to stop free speech with intimidation tactics.”
Local human rights activist and Jewish-American Peter Lippman said, “The State of Israel is not the same as the Jewish people, and Israel should be subject to criticism like any other state. These groups that insist on suppressing free speech about Israel do not represent many, many Jews in this country.”
Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign maintains that the ad slogan contains facts, not rhetoric, and that war crimes by Israel have been widely documented.
After Israel’s three-week military offensive against the captive population of Gaza in 2008-9, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 Palestinians -- most of them non-combatants and more than 300 of them children -- a formal inquiry by the United Nations found grounds for a criminal investigation into war crimes by Israel. The UN report concluded that Israel’s assault was not in self-defense, but was “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population”.
In a report published on July 2, 2009, Amnesty International found evidence that Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians as human shields. Israeli soldiers have testified publicly to other human rights violations.
Several experts have made themselves available for press contact.
For more information about Israel/Palestine, human rights, war crimes and international law, please contact:
Professor of Politics & International Studies; Chair, Middle Eastern Studies Program
Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies; Fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam
For information about US funding of Israel, contact:
National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli
Local residents who have recently visited Israel, the West Bank or Gaza:
"1763 in the Ohio river valley you got Lord Jeffrey Amherst committing to written order an instruction to his subordinate Henry Bouquet, having been defeated by Pontiac Ottawa confederacy in the field. The order essentially says that they have been defeated militarily and is therefore necessary for Amherst forces to request a peace, to sue for peace from Pontiacs people. He instructs Bouquet to convene a parlay with the Indian leadership for that purpose. And as is the custom, as is common courtesy among native populations as was known to the Brits at that time, it would be necessary for those who requested the council to give gifts to those requested to attend. Make those gifts, Amherst says, items taken from a smallpox infirmary in order, I'm going to quote directly now, this isn't a paraphrase: 'in order that we may extirpate this execrable race'. Now key is on this last word, had he said that we might eradicate the opposing combatants, their military capacity, their warriors.. what ever term he wanted to use, it would have been biological warefare. But he didn't say anything about that, he said the 'race'. His intent was to use biological means, to use disease, quite explicitly so, to eradicate an entire population group. And Bouquet was also kind enough to commit to writing in his response the next day, I have done as instructed, dispersing three blankets, two handkerchiefs and sundry other items, hopefully, he says, they will have the desired result. They did.. the lowest estimate of the number of people who died of smallpox as a result of that little gesture of friendship and goodwill is a 100,000!"