Those riding the T in Boston will have likely noticed the newest line of anti-Israel posters gleaming from the walls. 80 posters depicting four maps that purport to illustrate “the Palestinian loss of land” to Israel between 1946 and 2010 are displayed in the metro. Next to the maps it says, “4.7 million Palestinians are Classified by the UN as Refugees.”
Among many inaccuracies, the first map depicts all of Palestine as “Palestinian land” in 1946 when, in fact, the land was under British control. 14 percent of the land was owned privately by Jews and Arabs, while the rest was public land. The was no country called Palestine, and the poster fails to illustrate that the UN proposed to partition the land of Palestine into a Jewish country and an Arab country, as there were both Jews and Arabs living in the land. The second map depicts the West Bank and Gaza as belonging to the Palestinians between 1949-1967, when really those two regions were under Jordanian and Egyptian control, respectively. The last two maps fail to depict Israel’s many offers of land for peace between 1967 and the present. The maps below depicts the truth:
Historical facts evidently are irrelevant to Henry Clifford, who runs the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine that funded the posters in the MBTA system. He had already brought distorted, historically inaccurate maps to New York subway system, and now he has brought them to Boston.
The New York-based American Freedom Defense Initiative is responding to the posters being allowed to stay in the MBTA system by bringing forth their version of pro-Israel posters. They want 10 of their ads to be displayed in the same stations where Henry Clifford’s posters are located. However, the MBTA has denied them. The MBTA states that it prohibit ads which contain “material that demeans or disparages an individual or group of individuals.”
The posters are meant to combat Jihad and read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel; defeat Jihad.”
The American Freedom Defense Initiative has stated in response to the MBTA’s refusal to post the ads that “this is viewpoint discrimination and a violation our first amendment rights. The MBTA may harbor the age-old hate of anti-Semitism and allow it on their transit platforms, but they cannot and will not silence us. They cannot pick and choose what position they prefer.”
The MBTA has stated that it may consider to change its decision should the AFDI change the wording of the poster. The AFDI, however, has refused to make any alterations to the poster. Lawyers on behalf of the AFDI argue that the MBTA is not fairly applying its advertising standards to the two groups in question. Last year, the AFDI had run these advertisements in New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority system, after winning a heated lawsuit against the transit agency.
At a time when Israel de-legitimization is on the rise, it’s especially important to debunk inaccuracies such as those illustrated on Henry Clifford’s maps and to communicate Israel’s active desire for peace and the many painful sacrifices Israel has made in the pursuit of peace with its Arab neighbors.