BATTLING FOR FREE SPEECH IN NEW YORK / Exclusive: Pamela Geller tells of court hearing challenging censorship of anti-jihad ad (WND-WORLD NET DAILY COMMENTARY) by PAMELA GELLER 04/11/12)
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Last Tuesday, in the shadow of the site where the World Trade Center
towers once stood, freedom’s A Team gathered to fight not for the
Second, or for the Eighth, or for the 10th, but for the First
Amendment. Robert Spencer, David Yerushalmi, Robert Muise and I
converged upon the United States Courthouse to battle the
neanderthals of the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority. The
deliberations took four hours.
We filed a lawsuit against the MTA to combat Jew-hatred in the city’s
subways. Jew-haters can run ads suggesting that Israel’s self-defense
is the obstacle to “peace” and that U.S. military aid to Israel also
acts as an impediment to peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The anti-Israel ad blames Israel, its military and U.S. military aid
to Israel as the cause of Palestinian terror directed against
innocent civilians in Israel and abroad.
Jeffrey Rosen, director of real estate for the MTA, admitted that the
decision to reject our AFDI pro-Israel ad – and he called it the pro-
Israel ad – laid solely with him. This member of the tribe eagerly
accepted an anti-Israel ad calling for the end of U.S. aid to Israel,
in his view because it was a strategy for peace. What it is in
reality is a Final Solution for the elimination of Israel. But this
self-important jackass knows better than everybody.
Rosen’s almost irreconcilable thinking gave even the most astute
among us great pause. Even the judge, Paul Engelmayer, seemed
astounded when Rosen admitted that ads saying “Southerners are
bigots” or “Blondes are brain-dead” would be acceptable, but ours
was “demeaning.” Which it was not. Mr. Rosen went on to admit that in
the past 15 years, the MTA had never before rejected an ad based on
its being “demeaning”: ours was the first.
What I found contradictory was that Rosen admitted that he would run
an ad saying “Support Israel, defeat jihad,” but somehow it was not
OK to run it with the tagline, “In any war between the civilized man
and the savage, support the civilized man.” How can that be
reconciled with his claim that the ad was insulting to a religious
group – Muslims – based on his understanding of the word “jihad” as a
religious concept that had nothing to do with violence and terrorism?
And how does he further reconcile his claim that the ad was demeaning
to a nationality (“Palestine,” which doesn’t even exist) with his
position that the anti-Israel ad was not demeaning to a nationality
(Israel, which really does exist)?
The issue is viewpoint censorship versus content censorship. And, of
course, it’s all ridiculous, because not only did Rosen (who is a
lawyer) agree, but both lawyers for the defense agreed that our ad
was political speech, which is the most protected class of speech
under the First Amendment.
Needless to say, our crack world-historical legal team, David
Yerushalmi and Robert Muise, was brilliant. Yerushalmi was relentless
and caught Rosen in numerous self-contradictions, leaps of logic and
inconsistencies. Muise made a ringing summation, explaining the
case’s First Amendment significance. In a just world, this would be
an open-and-shut case. Muise made the point that pro-choice ads the
MTA ran, that demeaned women and pro-life advocates (based on
religious beliefs), were deeply offensive to him as a Catholic. So
clearly the MTA is being selective in which religion can or cannot be
offended. Is that the MTA’s position – that homicide bombers, the
targeting of innocent civilians and violent Jew-hatred are sacrosanct
and cannot be criticized?
How many New Yorkers found the anti-Semitic ads the MTA approved
offensive and bigoted, or an incitement against the Jews? But they
ran them anyway. Our ads are not nearly as controversial, but they
are pro-Israel, pro-freedom.
Judge Engelmayer clearly did his homework, was very thorough and
inquisitive, and challenged both sides – although the defense had
more holes in their argument than Swiss cheese. He made reference
numerous times to a recent precedent that establishes our case. I
pray that he follows American law in American courts.
It was interesting also that both Rosen and the defense tried to put
our websites on trial. But Engelmayer would not allow the proceedings
to go off on irrelevant tangents, or our political views to be put on
trial in PC Manhattan. Instead, he insisted that the case concerned
the “four corners” of the ad – that is, the content of the ad alone.
The very idea that the MTA would censor free speech in defense of the
blasphemy laws under the Shariah speaks volumes as to the success of
the stealth jihad in America.
After last week’s hearing, I feel confident about this case. But if
Judge Engelmayer ends up ruling against us, I hope that the MTA is
prepared to go to the Supreme Court. Because we are. (© 2012
WorldNetDaily.com, Inc. 04/11/12)
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