Anti-Jihad Ads Start Running in D.C.; No Terrorism Yet


This week, thanks to a federal injunction issued last Friday, controversial pro-Israel, anti-jihad ads sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) began running in the Washington, D.C., subway system. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, who said an opinion explaining her reasoning will be available soon, evidently was not persuaded by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's argument that the ads—which urge people to "support Israel" and "defeat jihad," thereby siding with "the civilized man" rather than "the savage"—might "expose passengers to terrorism." Since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has said WMATA's advertising space qualifies as a "designated public forum," this fear of violence would have to count as "a compelling governmental interest" that could be served only by rejecting the AFDI ads. But the only evidence WMATA offered to back up its concern, aside from protests in other countries by Muslims angry about a YouTube video mocking their prophet, was a single email message in broken English threatening a violent response to the anti-jihad posters.

Collyer was even less impressed by WMATA's claim that AFDI's message amounted to "fighting words," defined by the Supreme Court in the 1942 case Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire as "those which, by their very utterance, inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace." The "fighting words" at issue in Chaplinsky were epithets ("damned fascist" and "damned racketeer") shouted directly at a city marshal, rather different from a controversial political ad. In any case, the Court never again used this doctrine to uphold a conviction, raising the question of whether it is still viable.

Yet the "fighting words" doctrine appears to be the inspiration for the ad rule adopted by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) after it unsuccessfully tried to prevent the AFDI ads from appearing in that city's transit system by declaring them "demeaning" to Muslims. The new rule bars ads that the MTA "reasonably foresees would imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace." Contrary to my initial report (subsequently corrected), MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg says the AFDI ads "are in compliance with our revised standards," meaning that, notwithstanding what WMATA claimed in D.C., they don't "present an actual threat to our customers and employees." The question remains: What sort of ad would? Is this new rule purely theoretical, a cover for the MTA's embarrassing First Amendment defeat? If it has any practical implications at all, it can only empower violent protesters (and censorious MTA bureaucrats) by making freedom of speech hinge on the anticipated reactions of the touchiest bystanders.

Speaking of which,  the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muneer Awad, tells CNN, "We're trying to make sure MTA has policies to discourage hate speech," adding, "These hate ads are part of a larger problem." The AFDI, of course, disputes that its ads (which it says condemn violent advocates of jihad, as opposed to Muslims generally) constitute hate speech. In any case, the message of the First Amendment litigation in New York and D.C. is that public transit authorities, once they decide to sell space for political ads, have no business excluding messages they consider demeaning or hateful. As the MTA concedes in a press release, "A cost of opening our ad space to a variety of viewpoints on matters of public concern is that we cannot readily close that space to certain advertisements on account of their expression of divisive or even venomous messages." It adds that "in our enlightened civil democracy, the answer to distasteful and uncivil speech is more, and more civilized, speech." If only public officials did not need courts to remind them of this well-established principle.

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  1. In any war between the enlightened man and a guy who thinks the Big Bang is a satanic conspiracy…

    1. What about those of us who think the Big Bang is simply wishful (fantasy physics) thinking given the lack of evidence supporting the theory?

      1. You are silly. There is lots of evidence for the big bang or expanding universe theory. What other theory explains the cosmic microwave background, the relative abundances of H and He and the fact that all galaxies appear to be moving away from each other?

        1. Given a long enough period of time a group of objects moving in random directions would always appear to be moving away from each other.

          Furthermore everything gives off microwaves…and light after traveling long enough will degrade to microwaves.

          Anyway the whopper of the Big bang is the mysticism of everything started from nothing.

          1. A singularity is nothing?

            Your understanding of cosmological theory is as great as your understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; that is, none at all.

            1. A singularity is nothing?

              Pretty easy to find physicists who claim the laws of the universe were forged in the big bang.

              Pretty sure Hawkins, Sagan and Tyson have all said as much.

              So yes first there was nothing…then !BANG! everything.

              1. Dude, stop it. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re embarrassing yourself.

                1. Make an actual argument.

                  Anyone can call anyone a poopoo head.

                  Also your argument about “A singularity is nothing” is only a rhetorical one.

                  What existed before the singularity?

                  By the way saying there was no time before the singularity does not help brush away the mysticism of the big bang…it amplifies it.

                  1. It’s only mysticism if you pretend that that is what physicists really claim. In reality, what they claim is that all evidence is consistent with the universe at one point being very very small. In any scientific theory you can get down to a level where people are still just ignorant.

                    1. “The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.”

                      It’s kind of funny, but there’s actually 78,800,000 results for ‘big bang nothing’

          2. No one claims that it started from nothing. They don’t know what it started from.

  2. Well, it’s a step in the right direction, I guess. Granted, at the end of that direction is a place we should have never freaking left, but whatever.

    Now I hope someone tries for some nudity in an ad next.

  3. It’s been said many times that the response to negative and hateful speech is more speech. It’s also funny how democrats don’t get this.

    Especially considering the fact that they believe that the response to too much spending is more spending.

    1. Obviously it’s because democrat spending is not negative and hateful.

  4. a single email message in broken English threatening a violent response to the anti-jihad posters

    “Credible threat”, Baby!

  5. Civility wins over savagery. Huzzah!

  6. “We’re trying to make sure MTA has policies to discourage hate speech,”

    Thereby betraying a complete misunderstanding of the limitations imposed on her by the First Amendment.

    1. Yeah, this judge sure seemed to talk out of both sides of her mouth. I’m glad the injunction was issued so the ads can run, but Judge Collyer was making judgments about the ad as to whether or not it should be considered “hate speech” when that should be entirely irrelevant.

      It’s pretty frightening to see such a core fundamental right dangling in the balance of the opinion of a single judge.

      But best worst system and whatnot.

  7. I am against supporting Jihad, but that doesn’t mean I am in favor of supporting Israel.

    1. What about when Israel sticks it to Jihad? You support Israel then don’t you

      1. If by support you mean, “I want our government to give money and arms to them” then no.

        1. Yeah, I wasn’t asking you.

          You’re someone who doesn’t want to do anything about Jihad. You’re active foreign policy position is to do nothing and just accept the consequences. That’s just brilliant.

          1. And I’m asking you, what do you mean by support?

            My position on jihad is to investigate and target people who are actually plotting credible terror attacks on the US. Indiscriminate drone strikes, not so much. Unless you really think thousands of Pakistanis would be committing terrorism in the US if it wasn’t for the drone strikes

            1. We’re targeting people in Pakistan because they are killing our soldiers in Afghanistan!!! Pay some attention.

              Supporting Israel means supporting Israel so they can defend themselves and/or stick to Jihad.

              I don’t give shit that you don’t like Israel or don’t want to support it. Good for you. But if they’re being attacked by Hamas I’m going to support them killing Hamas. If they’re using American missiles, more power to them and us.

              1. What the fuck are we still doing in Afghanistan 11 years after 9/11? That’s my entire fucking point! The vast majority of these people would be no threat if we took our troops out of harm’s way. And how do you know all these people are threats to our troops? Cause the government says so? They never lie, right? Oh but it’s the military, so like other conservatives, you turn off your skepticism. Sure some are, but that doesn’t mean they’re all out killing US troops, even if we ignore all the women, children, and other men killed by these drone attacks

                I don’t care if you wanna devote your time and money to supporting Israel. I’m not saying they’re wrong to fight Hamas. But that doesn’t mean I’m ok with you forcibly taking my money to support them

    2. Fair enough, that’s why the ad campaign also includes variants that state “Support America” and “Support Freedom”, but that never gets reported, because, you know, narrative.

      1. Support America

        Looking at Kelo supreme court decision i find it hard to see America is any better then Israel’s settlements.

        Maybe by quantity per capita America is better.

        1. Israel actually builds stuff on the property it takes.

          1. Also, Susette Kelo never waged war on the city of New London hoping to build settlements on city of New London property.

  8. Semi OT:

    Looks like there’s gonna be more questions about the Benghazi attacks:

    Lt. Col, Andrew Wood told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that U.S. security was so weak that in April, only one U.S. diplomatic security agent was stationed in Benghazi.

    The committee hearing followed assertions Tuesday night by the State Department that it never concluded that the Sept. 11 attack stemmed from protests over an American-made video ridiculing Islam. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in what the administration now says was a terrorist attack.

    Asked about the administration’s initial – and since retracted – explanation linking the violence to protests over the anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet, one official said, “That was not our conclusion.”


    1. I don’t understand why anyone -ANYONE AT ALL- would deny the fact that this was a coordinated attack knowing that al-qaeda flew its flag on the roof, RPGs and it was FUCKING 9/11/2012.

      But no, it was because of a youtube video.


      1. Not just RPGs. Multiple mortars, dropping rounds on the safe house, and I thought I read they started hitting on the first shots.

        This wasn’t just a coordinated attack. It was actually a well-planned and well-executed attack.

        1. That’s just how bad we insulted Islam with our pesky free speech.

  9. So if Israel supporters are going to call Islam uncivilized savages is it ok now to criticize Israel on libertarian secular grounds?

    Cuz I do not really see how putting settlements on other people’s property using armed military force as particularly civilized.

    Or is this too early….am I now an anti-Semite?

    1. is it ok now to criticize Israel on libertarian secular grounds?

      It never was not “not ok”.

      Cuz I do not really see how putting settlements on other people’s property using armed military force as particularly civilized.

      I hate to bust your bubble, but do you live on the island of Manhattan or are you in the process of returning your home to its rightful American Indian owner?

      If not, why not?

      ….am I now an anti-Semite?

      I don’t know, are you?

      1. I don’t know, are you?

        Don’t be an ass. I am saying on the grounds i outlined above. Being opposed to settlements.

        Anyway I guess you answered my question. Apparently I am an anti-Semite for opposing settlements.

        1. Anyway I guess you answered my question. Apparently I am an anti-Semite for opposing settlements.

          Do you always put words in the mouths of your opponents as a way of feeling unwarranted moral superiority or do you do that just for me?

          Or did your cognitive bias just skip over the part where I stated it was never “not ok” to criticize Israel, just because you’re rearin’ for an argument?

          1. I don’t know, are you?

            Why on earth would you ask if I am an anti-Semite?

            I did not put those words in your mouth.

            The correct answer is “You are not an Anti-Semite”.

            Anything less is punching below the belt.

        2. I am confused by your position, as apparently you are.

          Almost everyone here supports private property and is opposed to theft.

          Believing that certain areas should be Judenrein, on the other hand, is something entirely different.

          It appears that you are really more in support of the later than concerned with the former but perhaps it is only poor communication skills on your part.

          1. No idea what Judenrein is.

            1. Google is your friend, Corning.

          2. Judenrein was a Nazi term to designate an area cleansed of Jewish presence during The Holocaust.

            So you just accused me of wishing to cleans Jewish presence.

            How about you go fuck yourself Gill.

          3. It appears that you are really more in support of the later than concerned with the former but perhaps it is only poor communication skills on your part.

            So RC dean is asking for evidence of clear title.

            I make the assumption because the property is occupied by a foreign power clean title is impossible without duress
            and the assumption is either i am confused or a Nazi.

            Seriously Gill called me a full blown Nazi wishing to cleans lands of Jews.

            Gill did not make an argument as to how the title of settlement is clean or gained without duress…just “You are and idiot or a nazi”

            So explain yourself Gill. How are you not a race baiter? How are you not covering up an simple inquiry with instant accusations of antisemitism?

            How can any inquiry into the settlements be made by anyone?

    2. [shrugs] I can’t say that I’m too terribly bothered that people who went to war expecting to end up living in the homes of the people they are waging war on actually wound up lamenting that their victims are now living in their homes instead.

  10. Cuz I do not really see how putting settlements on other people’s property

    Its my understanding that the settlements are on property owned by Israelis. I haven’t heard that it was seized by the Israeli government, but that’s certainly possible. I don’t follow this issue especially closely, so if you have information on who actually owns the property where the settlements are built, and whether they acquired it by condemnation/seizure, I would be interested to learn.

    1. My understanding is that settlements are in Palestine. If they were not outside of Israel I would not call them settlements.

      1. That’s what I assumed you meant.

        However, that doesn’t answer my question about who actually owns the land where the settlements were built, and how they got ownership.

        1. Palestine is a non-state area controlled by Isreal.

          If the US citizens started moving into Somalia claiming land and were backed up by US forces I think I would have a problem with that. It is even worse with Israel in that the state of Israel have directly contributed to Palestine’s non-state status.

          1. I like how you skip over the fact that the Palestinians have never negotiated in good faith. Back in the early 2000’s Arafat could’ve had a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, but that wasn’t good enough for him.

            The Palestinians don’t want peace, they want victory.

            1. Palestinians have never negotiated in good faith.

              Doesn’t mean you can start putting condos on their land.

              This is pretty much why any logic can never be applied to the issue.

              Suddenly by opposing settlements I support the pile of shit which is Palestinian leadership.

              1. This is pretty much why any logic can never be applied to the issue.

                Ok, so you’ve admitted you’re doing nothing but emoting.

                I’m going to back away slowly now….no sudden movements, ok?

              2. More question-begging:

                Doesn’t mean you can start putting condos on their land.

                That’s what I’m trying to find out. Who owns that property? I strongly doubt the Israelis are building condos on land that is titled in somebody else.

              3. Ok, so you’ve admitted you’re doing nothing but emoting.

                Oh bullshit. I am saying that any exploration into the subject brings out the knives of the anti-anti-semite crowd.

                Why don’t you answer RC’s questions?

                You seem to think you know.

                While you are at it answer these questions.

                What is the tradition of property rights among the Palestinians?

                When the settlers acquired the land did they follow the rules of these traditions?

                Did the settlers impose their own property rights rules when acquiring the property?

                Were the owners under duress when they sold their property?

                Is it possible for the sellers of land within occupied lands to not be under duress?

                1. Israeli settlements in the occupied territories[1] (commonly referred to as simply Israeli settlements[2]) are the Jewish civilian communities built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and in the Golan Heights. Settlements also existed in the Sinai and Gaza Strip until Israel evacuated the Sinai settlements following the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace agreement and unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Israel dismantled 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, and all 21 in the Gaza Strip and 4 in the West Bank in 2005,[3] but continues to both expand its settlements and settle new areas in the West Bank in spite of the Oslo Accords which barred both Israeli and Palestinians from undertaking unilateral actions that would alter the status quo.[4][5][6][7]
                  The international community considers the settlements in occupied territory to be illegal.[8] Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and communities in the Golan Heights, areas which have been annexed by Israel, are also considered settlements by the international community, which does not recognise Israel’s annexations of these territories.[9] The United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel’s construction of settlements constitutes violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.


                  1. Nope, still doesn’t tell me how the current owners of the properties that make up the settlements acquired title.

                2. Why don’t you answer RC’s questions?

                  You’re the one who asserted that the settlements were built on other people’s property, so I was asking you.

                  1. You’re the one who asserted that the settlements were built on other people’s property, so I was asking you.

                    I have no fucking idea just like you have no fucking idea.

                    I admitted that below.

            2. The Palestinians don’t want peace, they want victory.

              They (Palestinian Leaders) want a kleptocracy and need an eternal enemy and a guilt ridden west to have it.

          2. C’mon, Corning. You asserted the settlements were built on other people’s land.

            I’m just asking: who owns the land where the settlements are, and how did they acquire title? Libertarians would have no objection to Israelis building on land they own, depending on how they acquired it. If they bought it from the former owners in arms-length transactions, well, that would be just fine, wouldn’t it? And those arms-length transactions could have occurred after Israel as a nation asserted control over these territories, yes?

            I really don’t know. It could be the former owners were simply dispossessed without compensation. Or it could be that they were paid off after an eminent domain-type seizure. Or, it could be that they sold their land fair and square.

            1. C’mon, Corning. You asserted the settlements were built on other people’s land.

              You are correct. I do not know. Assume for my arguments above that it was other people’s land.

              Also I think it is pretty hard for a fair claim on the land can be made in an occupied territory by citizens of the occupying power. Under the situation it is pretty easy to show that the sellers of the property are under duress.

              1. Assume for my arguments above that it was other people’s land.

                Umm, no.

                1. Umm, no.


                  Lets then assume the settlers have title.

                  How can that title be clear when the land they bought is occupied? How can the seller not be under duress?

      2. Are we talking about the Golan Heights or Judea and Samaria?

        1. Since Corning is referring to Palestine, I assume he doesn’t mean the Golan Heights.

          1. That’s a big assumption for someone who thinks a singularity is “nothing”.

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