Thursday, August 16, 2012 | return to: news & features, local


Jewish groups rip bus ad that calls Israel’s enemies ‘savage’

by j. staff

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Jewish groups in San Francisco have blasted posters on Muni buses that refer to Israel’s enemies as savages.

The S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council, the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League issued statements condemning the ads on Aug. 14.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group headed by conservative New York–based activist-blogger Pamela Geller, sponsored the four-week Muni ad campaign that began Aug. 7 on 10 buses. The poster reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”

Advertisement appearing on some Muni buses
Advertisement appearing on some Muni buses
In a press release, the JCRC and AJC, noting that they were speaking on behalf of the organized Jewish community, condemned the ads as “inflammatory and anti-Muslim,” adding, “We are steadfast in our support of Israel and our concern about the growing threat of Islamic radicalism and steadfast in our opposition to anti-Muslim stereotypes.”

The ADL issued a press release calling the advertisement “highly offensive and inflammatory,” but added “it is clearly protected political speech under the First Amendment.” The release added: “Pro-Israel doesn’t mean anti-Muslim. And support for Israel is not built on bigoted anti-Muslim and anti-Arab stereotypes.”

Rabbi Doug Kahn, JCRC executive director, told j. he received messages from the local Muslim community “expressing gratitude” for the solidarity shown by the organized Jewish community.

Earlier this year, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority had refused to put the same posters on its buses, but ultimately did so after Geller took the agency to federal court and won. That opened the door for Geller’s group to place the ads on Muni.

Geller, who is often critical of Islam and Muslim causes, told KQED News Fix that she had been waiting for approval from Muni for months, and that she bought the ads to “counter” the message of advertising that calls for ending U.S. aid to Israel.

She explained to KQED why she chose the word “savage” by saying “because any targeting of innocent civilians is savagery. Mothers and children on a bus are targeted, and that is savagery. Kidnapping and murdering is savagery. The U.S. does not conduct war that way, and neither does Israel. Now, there is sometimes the accidental death of civilians, which is far different than the targeting of innocent civilians.”

The board chairman, Tom Nolan, and director of transportation, Ed Reiskin, for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni, issued a statement Aug. 14, saying “Going forward, we will review our policies with regards to ads on the Muni system.”

The release noted that “while we honor a person’s right to self-expression, there are times when we must say ‘enough.’ The recent ad has no value in facilitating constructive dialogue or advancing the cause of peace and justice. While this ad is protected under the First Amendment, our ad policy and our contractual obligations, we condemn the use of any language that belittles, demeans or disparages others.”

The release also noted that the SFMTA will donate its proceeds from this advertisement to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.


Posted by Jack Kessler
08/17/2012  at  03:26 PM
The word "Muslim" is not in the ad

The word used is ‘jihadi’.  Jihadis are warriors against the infidel. Considering the endless terrorism against the innocent and defenseless that jihadis have waged, the charge of savagery is fully justified.

Do the Muslims perhaps have a bad conscience that their distancing themselves from jihadi terrorism is not completely truthful?

If they are “as much against jihadi violence as anyone” as they claim, they why aren’t they themselves also supporting the publishers of the billboards?  If they don’t identify with jihadi terrorists, then why are they offended?

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Posted by Dave Marshak
08/17/2012  at  06:11 PM

“Jihad is the Arabic for what can be variously translated as “struggle” or “effort,” or “to strive,” “to exert,” “to fight,” depending on the context. In the West, the word is generally understood to mean “holy war,” and the terms are given, inaccurately, exclusively military connotations.”

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Posted by Frank
08/17/2012  at  10:42 PM
Israel's terrorist enemies are not "savages"?

Fine. So where are the Bay Area Jewish community’s ads and rallies supporting Israel against its terrorist murderous enemies?

If “savages” is not politically correct (albeit accurate), would the Jewish critics prefer “terrorists” or “Islamic fascists” or “Muslim extremists”?  These are facts, not “stereotypes”. What language urging Americans to support Israel against the murderous enemies of Israel and the Jewish people (and America) would be adequately “politically correct”?

Iran is on the verge of producing nuclear weapons, which will soon require a military attack to prevent a second Holocaust (sanctions are a joke and Obama has, dubiously, said he will use military force) ... So where is those Bay Area Jewish groups’ public outreach to rally support for Israel’s military defense?

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Posted by Dave Marshak
08/19/2012  at  01:40 PM

Let’s be sure we restrict our condemnation to terrorists and those who support terror. Let’s stay on the high ground and use reasonable rhetoric. After all one of the most advanced nations in the world produced people who behaved worse than any savages.

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Posted by Janice
08/21/2012  at  10:53 AM
Who are the savages?

Lets see. A few days ago in an act of savagery settlers firebombed a Palestinian taxi carrying a Palestinian family. All the family were severely burned.

In another act of savagery a large group of Israeli youth savagely attacked a few Palestinian youths while they walked in Zion Square. These young savages screamed out their hatred of Arabs as they   beat one of the young men almost to death. The rest of the young savages stood around watching in pleasure and egging the young savages on. When Jewish health workers came to help the Palestinians the mob of savage young Jews almost attacked them as well. You can read about this act of savagery in Haaretz. It was posted by an Israeli woman on Facebook who wrote about seeing a lynch mob in Zion Square. She was horrified. I wonder how many other Israelis were.

Many other acts of savagery have been committed by some of the most savage of the settlers - murdering the sheep of Palestinians, burning mosques and Palestinian homes, beating old Palestinian farmers etc. Unfortunately the Israeli government rarely prosecutes these settler savages. Were the same crimes being committed by Palestinians the Israelis would throw the book at them and they would be in prison for a long time.

Lets also look at the actions of Israeli savages who have beaten blacks many of whom are afraid to leave their homes for fear of the Israeli savages.

Maybe it is time for the signs to be changed reflecting the fact that a growing number of Israelis are indeed acting like savages.

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Posted by Michael Harris
08/21/2012  at  09:28 PM
News flash, Janice

Guess what—there are racists in Israel.  Just like in the US, all across the Arab world, even in places like Sweden and Canada.

Of course, we could resort to the excuses many people give for Palestinian terror (it’s because of occupation, it’s because of ‘humiliation’, etc.) and say that it’s because Israel has been under relentless attack since the day of its birth.  But that wouldn’t excuse that behavior.

The difference is that Israeli leaders condemn those attacks. The PA leadership names summer camps and soccer tournaments for its savages.  There’s a very telling piece by Arnold Roth, whose daughter Malki was killed in a terror bombing in Jerusalem at age 15—read how Palestinian society and the Arab world in general don’t reject such acts:

There are many Palestinians who would be happy to trade the end of the occupation and a Palestinian state for peace alongside the Jewish state. Unfortunately, their voices are mostly quashed.

And JVP’s preferred solution of eliminating the Jewish state would simply increase such violence, not resolve it.

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Posted by Janice
08/21/2012  at  10:16 PM

Lets not forget that before Israel became a state two prime ministers to be were known terrorists, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. Not only were these terrorists elected to high office but they were honored throughout Israel.

Michael you and I will likely never agree. I want an end to occupation, an end to all the settlements, an end to the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians and a two state solution. Sadly, the Likud party has made it plain that they will never tolerate a Palestinian state between the river and the sea. So far Israel has so chopped up the West Bank with settlements that a contiguous and viable state is impossible. You know that and I know that and so does the rest of the world.

All that is left is for there to be a one state solution with one person, one vote or an official aparthied state. Which do you prefer?

Meanwhile for a perspective different from yours please read an essay by a former Israeli who laments what has happened to his country.

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Posted by Michael Harris
08/22/2012  at  08:09 PM
Do you support one of them being a Jewish state?

Mahmoud Abbas allegedly supports a two state solution and says he will neer accept a Jewish state nor give up the fictional “right” of return.  Omar Barghouti, BDS-er in chief supports a two state solution—“a Palestine next to a Palestine”. So when you say you support a “two state solution”, is one of them a Jewish state?

And not only has Netanyahu publicly echoed the statement of his 3 predecessors endorsing a Palestinian state, there are many proposals looked at by experts to create a contiguous Palestinian state in most of the West Bank—see the 4 part series in the Atlantic

If the Palestinians are so desperate for a state, why won’t they negotiate for one instead of insisting that Israel capitulate on all of their demands first?

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Posted by Janice
08/22/2012  at  11:24 PM
What I support doesn't really matter

It is more than obvious that there will never be a one state solution. There will be no justice for the Palestinians who were driven out in 1948 some of them by my now deceased LA born brother-in-law who, as a member of the Haganah, ethnically cleansed Palestinians from their homes in what is now northern Israel. He told me of how the Jewish forces came into the villages under cover of night and at gunpoint drove the hapless soon to be refugees from their homes across the border into Lebanon. They were not even given time to put on their shoes let alone take anything with them. If one of the refugees tried to return to his home to gather his possessions he was shot on sight.

This was not the only instance of ethnic cleansing committed by the Jewish forces. Read Benny Morris or Ilan Pappe who detail what was done. It is a shameful part of Jewish history.

Do I believe in the right of return? Yes I do. I believe that my Palestinian friends, one born in Jerusalem and one born in the Galillee have more right to return than do I who was born in the US.

Furthermore UN Res. 194 states that refugees willing to live at peace must be allowed to return or to be compensated. That resolution applies only to the Arabs of Palestine.

There is a Jewish state and if there is not one state for all then there should be a Palestinian state on ALL of the West Bank. It is not up to me to decide whether or not the Palestinians should recognize Israel as a Jewish state. It should suffice that they have already recognized Israel as a state and no longer refer to it as the Zionist entity.

I watched the Atlantic videos on land swaps. No where did they talk about dividing Jerusalem. They did not talk about the water sources most of which were grabbed by Israel. They left out the fact that Netanyahu has demanded that Israel retain control of the Jordan Valley. Even today Israel is destroying Palestinian villages in the Jordan Valley. Also left out of the Atlantic discussion was the fact that the wall has taken a considerable amount of Palestinian land in the West Bank and continues to take more even as the inhabitants of several villages demonstrate against the theft of their lands.

Michael, Israel has shown that it has no intention of there ever being a Palestinian state that is any more than a series of aparthied South Africa-like bantustans. That was the “generous offer” of the Oslo “negotiations” and Israel has offered little more since then.

Regarding “negotiations.” Have you forgotten that during the Oslo “negotiations” Israel doubled the number of settlements?  Obviously Israel was not operating as a good partner for negotiations and wanted to continue the land grab. Have you forgotten that Israel was supposed to leave Area C by 1999 and they are still there? For the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel is akin to two people “negotiating” over a pizza. While they talk one person eats up all the pizza until there is nothing left for the other person. I leave it to you to guess who is eating all the pizza. It isn’t the one who is left with nothing.

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Posted by Janice
08/23/2012  at  11:05 AM
Michael- read Haaretz Aug.1, 2012

Defective, partial implementation of the Oslo Accords has created the current situation, where the Palestinian Authority only controls the territory known as Areas and B, comprising 40 percent of the West Bank. These areas are scattered like an archipelago in the ocean of Area C – the 60 percent of the area under Israel’s control – cut off from each other and at the mercy of the Israel Defense Forces. Area C includes many settlements, few Palestinians and mainly open areas. The Oslo Accords required these open areas to be handed over to the Palestinians by 1999. This was never done.

Israel’s new approach can be called “Bibi C.” Netanyahu’s overarching goal is simple, the tactic is clever and the results are disastrous. The aim is to control as much territory with as few Palestinians as possible, and to claim that the Palestinians can establish a state on the remaining land.

In this scenario, Israel controls the Palestinian state’s entrances, exits and water supply, the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, the air space, most of Jerusalem and the border with Jordan. The room for flexibility in final status negotiations will decrease to the point where tunnels and bridges will be needed to create a territorially contiguous Palestinian state and the Palestinians will be left asking Israel how much of Area C it is willing to part with (very little).

The placement of 124 settlements and a hundred outposts, together with what academics used to call a “stakeholder analysis,” indicates that Netanyahu is interested in annexing about 40 percent of the West Bank. 

We should remember that in the talks between Palestinian leader Abu Mazen and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which almost led to an agreement, Olmert offered to annex about six percent of the West Bank with an equal amount of territorial compensation elsewhere. United States President Bill Clinton’s proposal spoke of three to six percent annexation, with compensation.

Israel has already de facto annexed Area C. The route of the separation barrier is no longer relevant. Creeping annexation is taking place deep within the West Bank, coming right up against Palestinian population centers in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron. Israel is investing billions of shekels in land in Area C and deliberately preventing the development of Palestinian infrastructure there. At the same time, a sophisticated campaign is under way to change the way the public regards Area C, and the Levy report is part of that. Also, in light of proposals to apply Israeli sovereignty to “all the communities in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu will be able to portray his plan as relatively moderate.

A situation is taking shape on the ground from which there will be no way back. If this trend continues, even if leaders like Yitzhak Rabin or Ehud Olmert come to power and wish to go back to the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders with territorial exchanges, the situation will not allow it. A downward slide toward the occupation of the West Bank, the crumbling of the Palestinian Authority and an apartheid regime are not far off.

The policy of de facto annexation will further weaken the moderate Palestinian camp, which will be forced to admit there is no way to bring about the end of the occupation and establish a sustainable Palestinian state by holding peace talks. At the same time, the Western and Arab world will realize where Israel is headed. The ramifications could be devastating, with Egypt and Jorda

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Posted by Michael Harris
08/23/2012  at  12:46 PM
and there you have it

so you support the same “faux-state” solution proferred by Omar Barghouti and others:
1. a “binational” state in pre-1967 Israel in which the Jews will quickly become a minority with the implementation of the fake “right” of return (no, UN GA resolutions do NOT make international law). This will result in the same outcome for the Jews as in the other Arab-majority states of the Middle East, and the loss of the existence of a Jewish state anywhere.
2. A Judenrein state on the West Bank and Gaza in which no Jews may live.

No, you don’t support peace between a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine.

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Posted by Janice
08/23/2012  at  10:15 PM
You are wrong, dead wrong

I said that there is already a Jewish state whether or not I support it and that state should continue to exist . But what there will never be, because Israel does not want it, is a Palestinian state unless it resembles apartheid South Africa bantustans. You know that Michael, admit it.

If Israel really wanted a Palestinian state they never would have built settlements nor would they have grabbed all the water resources, nor would the Likud party declare that there will never be a Palestinian state between the river and the sea.

I have yet to hear you say that Likud is wrong. I have yet to hear you say or write that the settlements are wrong. I have yet to hear you write or say that the oppression of the Palestinians is wrong. I know where you stand Michael. You have made it painfully clear.

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Posted by Janice
08/24/2012  at  09:58 AM
Michael on UN resolutions

I realize that General Assembly resolutions are not law but when the GA passed Res. 181 partiioning Palestine the Jews were ecstatic even though they really wanted all of the land.

Some people say that the Arabs of Palestine should have taken the land that the GA decided would be theirs and perhaps they should have done that. However it is likely that it would not have been long before Israel would have invaded and taken this land under one pretext or another.

Perhaps you are unaware that David Ben-Gurion had written that while he did not like partition he said that the Jews would reluctantly accept it but when they became strong as the result of becoming a state they would expand to all the area.

I truly believe that would have happened and had you been around at the time I suspect you would have applauded it.

Finally it doesn’t matter whether or not I support a Jewish state. If I don’t live in a country I do not have to support it or owe it my allegiance.  It is only the Jewish state to which some people demand total allegiance not only from Jews in the world but also from governments including our Congress.

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Posted by Dave Marshak
08/30/2012  at  04:33 PM

Any resolution which treats a single politically well connected group of people differently from all other groups in the same situation is manifestly unfair. That is so with the UN resolution that makes descendents of refugees who themselves were born elsewhere all refugees. It is evidence of the Anti-Jewish bias of many UN member states.

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