On the heels of a pro-Palestine ad at Metro-North stations and a judge ruling that the MTA shouldn't have rejected Islamophobic pro-Israel ads is a new poster controversy: At the Hartsdale Metro-North station, there's a poster that reads "19,250 Deadly Islamic Attacks Since 9/11/01* (*And Counting)" and "It's Not Islamophobia, It's Islamorealism." Naturally, this upsets a local Westchester politician.
Paul Feiner, the Greenburgh Town Supervisor, tells the Daily Politics that he wants the MTA "to warn passengers that the ads could be upsetting and don't represent Metro-North's views or that of the community," noting, "There are many Muslims residing in Greenburgh and in our villages. They should not be discriminated against. the posters encourage hatred, discrimination and do not help the efforts to fight hate crimes."
Feiner added that he wants the MTA to donate the ad profits to an anti-discrimination campaign, "I feel it's not a violation of free speech for Metro North to put up a competing sign and it's also not a violation of free speech if they donate the profits to an anti-defamation league or an organization that objects to hate crimes. I feel that it should be clear that the people of Metro North and the town do not support this message."
The poster is from the American Freedom Defense Initiative (from Pamela Geller), which complained about some Jewish organizations criticizing the ads, "Look how tough these Jews are when it comes to going after their own who are brave enough not to hide behind the genocidal rhetoric of the annihilators. Are we to understand that these liberal Jews sanction the jihad war on innocent civilians in Israel?"
The MTA has previously said about racist ads, "MTA does not, however, decide whether to allow or not allow a proposed advertisement based on the viewpoint that it expresses or because that viewpoint might be controversial. MTA (along with its advertising contractor, CBS Outdoor) does review advertisements, including this one, to ensure that they comply with MTA's uniform, viewpoint neutral advertising standards. MTA does not endorse the viewpoint expressed in this ad or any of the ads that MTA accepts for display on its facilities."