Councilman Lewis Fidler (D-Brooklyn) is calling for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to pull down ads critical of funding for Israel. Fidler is demanding that MTA President Thomas Prendergast put an end to billboards calling for an end to funding for Israel as “a highly political campaign with a controversial underlying anti-Israel message.” Apparently, amid all of the graffiti and ads and pamphlets in the MTA there is no room for messages critical of Israel. Fidler wrote I would urge you to disallow and/or remove these advertisements.”
The ads – with the tagline “End U.S. military aid to Israel” – are pure free speech on a subject of great interest to citizens. In response, the pro-Israel group Stand With Us is planning its own ads to counter the message. This is how it should be and the public is benefitted from the debate. I would prefer these billboards than additional ads for hair products and weight loss. Yet, Fidler (right) wants the government to engage in content-based censorship.
Fortunately, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz insisted that the MTA would stick with the First Amendment rather than Fidler.
I find it incredible how quickly our politicians will dispense with core civil liberties with little thought of the implications of their actions for our society.
Source: NY Daily News
12 thoughts on “Fidler in the Subway: New York Council Member Calls For Censorship of Pro-Palestinian Ads in Subway”
I am quite certain that Mr. Fidler knows that “a highly political campaign with a controversial underlying anti-Israel” message is as entitled to First Amendment protection as a highly political campaign with a controversial underlying pro-Israel message. Therefore, his comments can be dismissed as nonsensical pandering.
Following the conversation.
This councilman may have more to say on the subject, but I’m impressed that he didn’t immediately jump on the “any criticism of Likud/Netanyahu far-right policies is antisemitism” bandwagon.
Is there any chance that discussion in the US will ever include the idea that one can be “pro-Israel” by opposing the self-destructive policies of the current right-wing government?
Absurd. Of course. But let’s wait a little. This may not be the end of the story amid byzantine NY politics. How ‘liberal’ is NY compared to ‘Jesusland’? Sometimes it depends on the issue. Hopefully I’m wrong.
The the view of some, Israel can do no wrong, and the Palestinians and other Arab groups are our enemy.
While many members of the NYC City Council are brilliant, many others are dim political hacks, with an outrageous sense of self importance. It seems Mr. Fidler is among the latter.
This city councilman needs to take a hard look at the First Amendment. He also needs to look for another job.
Wasn’t advertising on Public Transit already decided…..If I recall some case out of California named Wirta v Alameda….I think that this answers it all…It is not like the Dennis case….
Heaven forefend anyone with an opposing view be allowed to offend my delicate sensibilities by placing an advertisement in a public place of which I disapprove.
In Massachusetts this June, the MBTA refused to run an ad critical of Senator Scott Brown’s position on the Clean Air Act, deeming it “too controversial.”
The ad is here.
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