Pro-Palestinian transit ads stir controversy

Pro-Palestinian transit ads stir controversy

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 5:41 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 28 at 11:57 AM

Poll:
Should TriMet be allowed to put limits on ads purchased for display on buses and trains?

PORTLAND -- A controversial advertising campaign will appear on TriMet buses and trains starting this Sunday.

The provocative ads depict a shrinking Palestinian territory over the years and a growing Israel. Next to a series of maps, the ad reads: "4.7 million Palestinians are classified by the U.N as refugees."

The large ads will be plastered across 20 MAX trains and 9 TriMet buses. They were paid for by three pro-Palestinian groups, including a Jewish organization, according to Maxine Fookson with Jewish Voice For Peace.

It has already sparked an outcry from other Israel supporters.

Members of the Jewish community in the Portland Metro area complain that the ads are divisive and inaccurate. Proponents of the ads disagree.

“Is it inflammatory? Well, I'm offended at it because it looks like a Jewish land grab, when in fact that's not the case at all," said Bob Horenstein with the Jewish Federation of Portland.

“The consequences of showing what we believe to be the true situation can only be positive because I think Americans need to be informed about what is really happening there," said Peter Miller, with Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights.

TriMet is caught in the middle of this controversy. In 2008, a judge ruled that because TriMet is a government agency, it must accept all advertising, regardless of the content.

TriMet officials said they were appealing that decision to the State Supreme Court.

The ads were scheduled to appear for at least a month.

Similar billboards posted in New York sparked controversy there as well.

(KGW reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report.)

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