Jewish groups join coalition against anti-Muslim subway ads in D.C.


Some national Jewish organizations joined a coalition of religious groups calling on the Washington Metro system to donate profits from an anti-Islam ad to charity.

“The placing of offensive, anti-Muslim ads in the D.C. Metro system is an important opportunity to affirm our commitment both to free speech and to a society that deplores hate and hate speech,” said Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington’s director of social justice and interfaith initiatives, and president of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.

“We are all part of one community,” she said.

The ad, currently running in four train stations throughout the Washington area, reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” It was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

Monday’s news conference was organized by the 28-member Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims, Upholding American Values and United Methodist Women. The coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups released a letter signed by 168 religious clergy members.

The letter states that the “ads espouse inaccurate and inflammatory stereotypes about American Muslims. These ads equate generalized 'savages' with 'jihad,' dangerously painting all Muslims as savages and suggesting that these generalized 'savages' must be defeated.”

Major Jewish organizations participating include Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Union for Reform Judaism.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority had sought to delay posting the four ads, calling for a one-month cooling-off period following the worldwide violence that followed the showing of the film “Innocence of Muslims.”

However, a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington cited the First Amendment’s right to free speech in denying Metro’s request.

N.Y. transit authority weighs options on anti-Islam subway ad


New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority said it is considering its options after a U.S. District Court ordered the authority to run an advertisement that reads “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

The MTA's quandary comes in the wake of recent protests in Arab countries and in Arab communities around the world over an anti-Muslim film that resulted in the deaths of American diplomats in Libya and violence at American embassies.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan told The New York Times on Tuesday that the authority will consider changing its ad policy at a board meeting next week — the same week that the ad is scheduled to run in 10 New York City subway stations as a result of the court order issued in August. The ad also reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.”

The ad is sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, or AFDI, whose executive director, conservative blogger Pamela Geller, is a fiery critic of Muslims, liberals and mainstream Jewish organizations.

In 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center branded the organization a hate group, while the Anti-Defamation League said in March that Geller “fuels and fosters anti-Muslim bigotry in society.”

The New York Times reported that ad space purchased by AFDI in Washington has been “deferred,” its transportation authority said Tuesday, “out of a concern for public safety, given current world events.” According to the Times, the New York MTA does not have the option to defer because of the court order.

In June, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles abruptly canceled an event at which Geller was scheduled to speak. While the federation did not comment publicly on its decision, the event’s sponsor, the Zionist Organization of America, said the federation cited security concerns for the cancellation.

In September 2011, the MTA ran ads calling for an end to U.S. aid for Israel.

Romney ad raps Obama for not visiting Israel [VIDEO]


A Mitt Romney campaign ad criticizes President Obama for not visiting Israel during his presidency and refusing to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The 30-second television ad rolled out Aug. 5, which features American and Israeli flags and Romney at the Western Wall, is titled “Cherished Values” and begins with the question, “Who shares your values?”

“As president, Barack Obama has never visited Israel and refuses to recognize Jerusalem as its capital,” says the ad for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. “Mitt Romney will be a different kind of president — a strong leader who stands by our allies. He knows America holds a deep and cherished relationship with Israel.”

Obama visited Israel during the 2008 campaign. President George W. Bush did not visit Israel until his second term.

The ad comes on the heels of Romney’s recent trip to Israel and concludes with Romney noting, “It’s a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

Obama’s staff has pointed to the frequent sharing of information between Israel and the United States and the millions allocated by his administration for the defensive missile program Iron Dome and other weapons systems in showing his support for Israel.

Turkish Hitler ad pulled after Jewish community protests [VIDEO]


A Turkish advertisement that uses Adolf Hitler to sell men’s shampoo has been pulled following protests by the Jewish community in Turkey.

The advertisers said Tuesday that the commercial, which features a clip of Hitler delivering an impassioned speech with a voiceover urging men to use Biomen shampoo, would not be used anymore. The ad ran on a Turkish sports channel.

“Decisive action by the leaders of the Turkish Jewish Community mobilized national and international public opinion against the shockingly offensive use of Hitler imagery for commercial purposes,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. “And in short order, the company responsible for this outrage reversed course.”

Turkish Jewish community leaders credited leading Turkish newspapers, including Milliyet and Hurriyet, with rallying public criticism of the commercial, and expressed gratitude for supportive commentary in news media and by Jewish organizations around the world, according to AJC.

In the ad, the dubbed-over Hitler says, “If you are not wearing women’s dress, you shouldn’t be using women’s shampoo either!”

Seattle buses to carry ‘Israeli war crimes’ ads


Buses in downtown Seattle will carry advertisements about “Israeli war crimes” to mark the second year since the Gaza war.

The Seattle Midwest Awareness Campaign has paid $1,794 to place the advertisements on 12 buses beginning Dec. 27, the day Israel entered Gaza to stop rocket attacks on its southern communities, according to Seattle’s King 5 News.

The ads feature a group of children looking at a demolished building under the heading “Israeli War Crimes: Your tax dollars at work.”

Advertisements are accepted for Seattle buses as long as they do not publicize pornography, alcohol and tobacco, and as long as the images and material used don’t interfere with public safety or incite a riot.

“As a government, we are mindful of the provisions in state and federal constitutions to protect freedom of speech,” King County Metro Transit spokesperson Linda Thielke told King 5 News. “So we can’t object these campaigns simply because they offend some people.”

Writing a Successful Personals Ad


So you’ve finally decided to place a personal ad.Can’t believe you waited so long. Just describe yourself, the personyou want to meet and — Shazam! Couple of phone calls, cafe, Italianrestaurant, and you’ll be on your way.

Easier than finding mustard at a hot dogconvention. Maybe you should go ahead and order the invitations now.Have them leave a blank so that, later, you can fill in the name ofthat other person you really need to make the wedding day extraspecial — your spouse.

Whoa! We may have gotten ahead of ourselves here.Before you start picking out fonts and French ways of cuttingvegetables, there’s one small matter — writing the ad.

There are two things you want to accomplish with apersonal ad: 1) get people to respond to the ad and 2) keep peoplefrom responding to the ad. The challenge is to get the right peoplein each category.

Start with “deal breakers.” For many, this meansan age range. Some people also indicate a religion or degree ofobservance. Religious Jews might say they want to meet someone whoregularly attends Friday services, or at least doesn’t think shul is what a5-year-old calls kindergarten.

So far, so good. But once we move past categoriessuch as age and religion, it gets dicey. The problem: Most of thereally important things don’t rule anyone out. For instance, it’sessential that your date be intelligent and have a good sense ofhumor. But putting these requirements in your ad won’t screen out alot of folks. That’s because few people, when asked to describethemselves, will say, “I’m dumber than a head of lettuce and wouldn’tknow a joke if it jumped out of my soup and sang a show tune.”

It’s tempting to think of writing a personal ad asif it were ordering ice cream. Cup or cone? Sugar or wafer? Sprinklesor nuts?

Yet there are big differences between a date andan ice cream. An ice cream will never gripe about your wardrobe, but,on the other hand, you can’t take it with you to the movies. Andplacing a personal ad is gutsy, while placing an ad for an ice creamis just dumb.

But the biggest difference is that everyone canagree on the traits of an ice cream. But people are more complicated.Everyone thinks he’s attractive, smart and funny, but we all knowlots of people who ain’t. You do the math.

This is one of the personals’ biggest problems. Wecould call it subjective self-appraisal. Nah. More like: “Who are youkidding?”

One quick glance at the personals should dispelany concerns about people today suffering from low self-esteem. Thetypical woman placing an ad is gorgeous and brilliant, with a heartthe size of Los Angeles. Think Michelle Pfeiffer with a Ph.D. inAstrophysics.

Meanwhile, the men are astonishingly successfuland athletic ex-models with summer homes in Crete and Bali. ThinkJames Bond with his own consulting business.

Maybe to save space, personals should include astatement that, unless otherwise indicated, all ad writers areattractive, smart and generally terrific. Then the occasional candidwriter could opt out — “Note: Elevator doesn’t go to the top floor.And if you walk up, the lights are on dim.”

So why don’t we all agree to leave out thestandard glowing adjectives?

It’s also best to avoid listing interests that arenot, well, distinguishing.

In short, if your ad looks like this: “Attractive,intelligent, funny professional, enjoys movies, beaches, sunsets,walks and conversation,” you are basically saying: “Vertebrate mammalwith opposable thumbs seeks same.” Or, to put it another way, “Ican’t think of a single thing that separates me from every otherhuman being on the planet.”

The best approach: Show, not tell. If you’rehysterical, wacky or brilliant, say something to prove it. Why shouldanyone take your word for it?

Also, be specific. Say what kinds of movies youlike, which outdoor activities you enjoy, and exactly where the giantstatue in you honor donated by the United Nations is located.

While details provide a better picture, I stillhave to wonder how much sense it makes to pick a date based on thefact that she rollerblades. In the end, I think maybe the best thingis to save a lot of ink and say what we really mean: “Superman seeksWonder Woman.” OK, we could also throw in age and religion.

So, to take an example, I might try: “SJ Superman,32, ISO NS Wonder Woman (astrophysics degree).”


Stephen A. Simon is a Washington, D.C.-basedwriter.

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