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Out the subway window: Update

An ad you can see (or not) on the A Train in New York City....!!! OY! Alas! So much for civilized man!Read all about it at Ha'aretz. Which has a picture of the whole ad.Update (Sept. 25): But overnight, more free speech. The Forward reports on Jewish opposition to the ads.

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and some other progressive Jewish organizations have a counter campaign against these ads. (Jews Against Islamophobia). .

Could the signs be any more ironic?

Here's more information, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center, about Pamela Geller, executive director for the (poorly named) American Freedom Initiative:"Geller uses her website to publish her most revolting insults of Muslims: She posted (and later removed) a video implying that Muslims practiced bestiality with goats and a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad with a pig's face (observant Muslims do not eat pork). Geller also has denied the genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces in Srebrenica calling it the "Srebrenica Genocide Myth," even though the Serbian government itself issued a state apology for the massacre."Also this:"Through her website, Geller has promulgated some of the most bizarre conspiracy theories found on the extreme right, including claims that President Obama is the love child of Malcolm X, that Obama was once involved with a "crack whore," that his birth certificate is a forgery, that his late mother posed nude for pornographic photos, and that he was a Muslim in his youth who never renounced Islam. She has described Obama as beholden to his "Islamic overlords" and said that he wants jihad to be victorious in America. In April 2011, Geller accused Obama of withholding evidence in the then-upcoming trial of accused Fort Hood mass murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan."

All the carping from the Left aside, thankfully America will side with the Jews.

On a local call-in show last night, reactions ran 2 to 1 against the message of this ad. But the minority was vocal in its support, relying on predictable canards ("not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslim"), rationalizations ("I wish it could have been phrased better, but the underlying idea is right"), and patronizing lectures ("there's a historical and political nuance here that people who don't follow the news just won't pick up on"). Depressing. I nonetheless made an informal wager with someone on how soon the ads would be "defaced" (that might be the wrong word here) and I'm happy to say I lost: I bet a day or two, not overnight.

Ken: But have no sympathy for Muslims? Is that what you're saying?

Dominic P: Does look like there was a plan to retort. They are nicely printed and designed.

Peggy, you saw Roger Cohen's op-ed today, I hope. Cohen an antisemite??!!!

Thank you Michael. Hadn't seen it! I would make a joke about all of us being anti-Semites now, but it's sure to offend someone!

@Ken (9/25, 10:56 am) A couple of thoughts in reaction to your comment:1 - As a matter of historical record, it is the American left/Democratic party that has been and remains more committed to democracy, international engagement, Israel, and opposition to anti-Semites.2 - Given the history of the treatment of Jews by we Catholics over the centuries, and how recent the Church's rejection of supersessionism is, it seems to me that any statements we make about how we "side with the Jews" are best made haltingly, and with great humility. Commentator Arrested for Defacing Ad Calling Israels Opponents Savage

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