Human Rights Commission Praises Muni's Response to Furor Over "Defeat Jihad" Ad

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If San Francisco has learned anything from this pro-Israel Muni ad debacle it's that money talks.

First, the American Freedom Defense Initiative gave Muni $3,800 to plaster the city's buses with an ad that refers to enemies of Israel as subhumans. And while even Muni Board President Tom Nolan says he's offended by the message, the transit agency assures us they won't take the ads down.

Why? Nolan chalks this up to a potential First Amendment issue, going as far as to say that if Muni took down those provocative ads, then the agency would wind up in court -- and that would cost more than Muni earned from the ads. In the first five minutes. 

"What could happen here if we take them all down [is] we could be taken to court and [there] would be a big cost associated with that and we could be forced -- I guess like New York, to put them back up anyway," Nolan told CBS news.
By that logic Muni should stop running people over, too. Let's see if that happens.

In a particularly gratuitous compromise, the transit agency decided to donate the $3,800 in question to the city's Human Rights Commission. The HRC claims it will use the money paid by an ad-buyer -- described by both the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group -- to fight the kind of hate and intolerance it's being funded by.

So, on Wednesday the HRC didn't question how Muni managed to entrench itself in such a sordid situation but "praised" the transit agency for its thinly veiled act of kindness: 

The San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC) is praising the SFMTA which operates MUNI on its efforts in response to public outcry related to offensive ads that have recently appeared on the City's buses. A number of "watchdog organizations" that monitor community relations in San Francisco have called the ad's language inflammatory and clearly an example of hate and intolerance. The SF Human Rights Commission is condemning the offensive ads and notes that this type of messaging has no place in a City known for its long term history of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion.
We were confused by this astoundingly mixed message, so we called David Carrington over at the HRC. He assured us the commission's pro-Muni position had nothing to do with the infusion of cash it just received.

"At least they are responding to public outcry," he said. "They're turning this around and donating the money to the HRC so we can create a community and collaborate with the faith-based community to develop an awareness campaign against bigotry and intolerance.

"Hopefully people won't get caught up on the donation of the money, because that money will create an awareness to stamp out the messaging of intolerance." 

Nice. You know another way to campaign against bigotry and intolerance? Don't put bigoted, intolerant billboards onto city buses and then extract a payoff from the transit agency to "collaborate" on an "awareness campaign" about how bad that is.

There's a thought.

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16 comments
Sammy234
Sammy234

If the Human Rights Commission REALLY cares about Human Rights they will DEFEND Pam Geller's group's right to free speech. ESPECIALLY when the "hate" being espoused in this case is the  DIRECT QUOTES from Islamists. The American Left needs to stop pointing fingers and saying stupid things like "Islamophobe" and "racist" and wake the f up. Fascism lives and breathes among Liberals also.

Dudleyland
Dudleyland

@jilliancyork @ZahraBilloo I love Pamela Geller and agree with her. Any enemy of Israel is sub-human.

rajaykabaja
rajaykabaja

@jilliancyork I bet Geller is lovin that one, I almost want to wish her success if all other towns do the same

jilliancyork
jilliancyork

The ads are disgusting and vile.  Let's get that out of the way.

 

But are you saying you don't believe in the First Amendment?

geoffwking
geoffwking

This blog post somewhat misses the point. There could have been serious First Amendment problems with MUNI refusing these (admittedly vile) ads. As offensive as the speech in question is, the agency did the right thing by refusing to censor it. The answer to bad speech is good speech: write, protest, picket, boycott . . . whatever you prefer, but calling for censorship isn't the answer. And, given the law, it was never really much of an option for MUNI.

longobord
longobord

@cheimonette Money and 1st Amd. talk. The ACLU's defended the KKK to air their hateful program on public access. Unlikely for Muni to win.

rmajora
rmajora topcommenter

Calling terrorists "savages" is not the same as calling them "subhuman," Erin. Alas, savagery is all-too-human behavior. But at least you dropped the "Palestinian" falsehood.

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

 @rmajora Still beating that dead horse, I see.  And still in denial about Israel.

rmajora
rmajora topcommenter

 @kylem1701  @mrericsir  @rmajora

 The question Pontius Pilate asked Jesus: "What is truth?" Pilate, the first postmodernist!

 

But the real topic of this thread is the MTA's misguided deference to jihadists, the guys who shoot little girls who want to go to school.

 

Rob Anderson

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

 @rmajora Well, look at the ad -- it implies that Israel has done nothing wrong.

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