Thursday, August 30, 2012
North Carolina Town Removes Anti-Israel Bus Ads
But that move angered the ad’s sponsors as much as their appearance angered its detractors. The Chapel Hill town council plans to discuss the city’s policy for bus advertisements and decide if and how it applies to this situation.
It shows two older men holding their grandchildren and carries the caption “Join with us. Build peace with justice and equality. End U.S. military aid to Israel.” One of the men in the photograph is a Palestinian who claims that his West Bank home has been demolished five times. The other man is a member of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
The local initiative was launched by the church’s Salaam-Shalom group.
The church claims that the ads cost it approximately $1,500 to print, and an additional $1,200 to run on the town buses for one year. Pastor Mark Davidson of the church was quoted by Chapel Hill News saying that it did not “want to engage in anything that was disrespectful or offensive… [but rather] wanted something that would get people thinking.”
Chapel Hill Transit advertising policy states that all “political, religious, or ‘issue related’ advertising” must contain a conspicuous paid advertising disclaimer, which the Church of Reconciliation ads did not have. Davidson said the church is willing to comply with the condition in order to have the ads return to the buses.
“Chapel Hill needs to be the kind of place that can have a strong, robust discussion of the issues of the day,” said Davidson. “We don’t need a sterile public square.”