A Seattle group seeking to publish ads calling for an end to US financing of Israel suffered another defeat recently. Last year the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign tried to get ads pointing to "Israel's war crimes" to run on the sides of buses but they were cancelled.
The Seattle Times reported Sunday that the ad agency has now removed the "softened" message billboards as well.
The new ads showed a Palestinian boy behind a fence with the caption "Equal rights for Palestinians — Stop funding the Israeli military." The group's website is also mentioned.
The site states that "under Israeli military occupation, millions of Palestinians live in conditions which closely resemble the apartheid system that existed in South Africa."
It also claims that Israel is committing war crimes, violating the Geneva Convention by killing innocent people, expanding settlements and maintaining the occupation.
The site also claims that Israel carried out "ethnic cleansing" in 1948 and continues to do so today.
According to the report in this weekend's Seattle Times, the Clear Channel Outdoor ad agency initially decided to publish the ads, but resolved to take them down last week citing company policy of avoiding messages that offend certain persons or organizations.
The group had originally purchased four ads to run for four weeks, at $1,400 a piece. Three had already been put up throughout the city.
"We're trying to bring up a very serious human-rights issue that we're complicit with because our government supports these human-rights violations overseas," said Edward Mast Spokesman for the group. "We're not being allowed to talk about it."
Yet the ad agency claimed that they have no problem with the slogans in the ads but pointed to the website content as problematic.
In a statement, the company said it supports "community discussion of serious issues," but stressed it also wants to ensure any ads, including websites they promote, "are not offensive toward any business, group or individual".
Last Decemberm the same group sought to publish ads accusing Israel of war crimes on the sides of Seattle buses but following a large number of complaints from Jews, the King County transportation department announced they were withdrawing the ads stating that they could encourage violence.
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