SEATTLE, USA: King County executive prevents “Israeli War Crimes” bus ads from appearing 24Dec10 December 25, 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.

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
Home:  831-425-2975

Cell: 831-234-9468

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:

Cell 360.477.8778

253 537 1405


For information about boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns:

Professor,Antioch College

For information about Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign

(425) 466-1002

(206) 307-3374 <> ,<>

VIGIL AND PROTEST to remember the assault on Gaza, 2008-2009
Monday, December 27
5:00 pm
Westlake Park – south end

Further perspective from

1. The bus advertisements are not anti-Israel, but pro-human rights.

2. When our US government gives one-sided support to Israel, citizens need to raise awareness about US support for Israel’s violation of international law and its war crimes committed against Palestinian civilians.

3. Criticizing a nation-state is not hate speech. Israel does not represent the Jewish people of the world; the Jewish community locally and nationally is deeply divided, with many Jews outraged at Israel’s actions and policies.  Criticizing Israel is not criticizing the Jewish people. Meanwhile, advocates for equal rights for Palestinians strongly oppose and condemn any violence against members of the Jewish community in this area.

4. Our government should support equal rights at home and overseas, not spend our money supporting grave Israeli human rights abuses including home demolitions, illegal expropriation of Palestinian land, torture and killing of civilians, and hundreds of checkpoints throughout illegally occupied territories.

5.  If you call KING5 TV, please emphasize that their language is distorted to the point of being far-fetched. They called the bus ad “anti-Israel and anti-US,” and it is neither. Ask them to be more level-headed and accurate in their reporting.

6. The ad is telling the truth.  “War crimes” is not rhetoric; it has legal meaning.  Israeli war crimes have been extensively documented.
– Gaza: 1400 killed in 2008-9, majority non-combatant, over 300 children; continued Israel attacks before and after.
– Illegal use of white phosphorus.
– Israeli soldiers admit crimes – Breaking the Silence,
– UN Fact-Finding Commission/Goldstone Report: “What occurred in just over three weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.”

– Amnesty International, July 2 2009: “In several cases Israeli soldiers also used civilians, including children, as “human shields”, endangering their lives by forcing them to remain in or near houses which they took over and used as military positions.”

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