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Palestine | California | East Bay | Anti-War
BART Riders say no to racist doublespeak in our subway stations
Culture jammers target ads blaming Palestinians for violence in the Palestine-Israel region
Bay Area culture jammers targeted ads posted by the Israel advocacy group Stand With Us in Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in February. The new ads, which say "Tell the Palestinian leadership to stop promoting hate and violence" replaced ones that featured a partial face wrapped in a keffiyya. The original ads were taken down when community members protested that the keffiyya is an Arab cultural symbol and that its use in the ad constituted racial stereotyping and hate speech. The culture jamming activists say that the new ones are just as bad, but BART did not agree. See the photo essay below.
Installed in the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) January 2011 and removed due to customer complaints.
These placards replaced the ones above in several BART stations in February 2011
Those who complained were told the following "BART's policies allow for viewpoint advertising on the BART system. Because of this policy, and the free speech protections of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, BART is restricted from rejecting advertisements based solely on their point of view. Kindly consider that the distinction between an ad critical of the "Palestinian leadership" is different than something critical of the “Palestinian people” ... just as free speech protects the rights of US citizens to criticize the government. Criticizing Congress is not the same as demeaning or disparaging the American people"
Michael Moran, Mmoran [at] bart.gov
Bay Area culture jammers ask the BART to kindly consider that the ads contribute to the climate of anti-Arab sentiment and Islamaphobia that is already pervasive in U.S. media. Israel and its supporters use this climate to cloak and justify their own denial of Palestinian human rights. Moreover, equating "the Palestinian leadership" with the U.S. Congress overlooks the fact that the Palestinian people are denied national self-determination.
The following were installed on February 21 in BART stations throughout the Bay Area.