Late last Friday, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a motion for preliminary junction asking United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to require New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to run a “Hamas Killing Jews” advertisement on MTA buses. The motion followed on the heels of the filing of Ms. Geller’s federal civil rights lawsuit against the MTA after it refused to run the following ad:
As noted in the motion, the MTA’s rejection was based upon a “security assessment” by the MTA, claiming that it feared that some New Yorkers (presumably Muslims) would likely take the Hamas quote to kill Jews as a religious instruction and engage in imminent violence and attack Jews.
Ms. Geller’s message is timely in light of the fact that Hamas continues to call for Israel’s destruction. Moreover, the Israel / Palestinian conflict has drawn intense international media attention as Hamas uses human shields (mostly women and children) to protect its rockets and jihadis as they set about to murder innocent Jewish men, women, and children.
David Yerushalmi, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented,
“The MTA may not impose content-based restrictions based upon imaginary threats, as in this case. To do so is to grant the jihadists a victory they could not achieve with airplanes, shoe bombs, and the like.”
Robert Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, added,
“The MTA’s prior restraint on our client’s speech is not only wrongheaded, it is clearly unconstitutional. Under the First Amendment, the government is not permitted to impose special prohibitions on speech out of fear that some members of the public might react violently to its content. Quite simply, the First Amendment knows no heckler’s veto.”
“If the MTA can get away with this obvious ploy to manufacture a threat when this ad has already run without incident in Chicago and San Francisco for months, it will use this pretext to shut down all unwanted speech. This would not only make a mockery of the First Amendment, it would actually encourage the thuggery and violence the MTA now claims it fears.”