Saturday, December 20, 2014

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The Call Blog: Controversial Subway Ads Make Debut

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I welcome freedom of speech. It gives me the right to say I think this campaign is hateful, ignorant, aggressive and without class. It also gives me the right to say the woman behind it is simple, stupid, savage and worthless. Oh, wait. You find that offensive?

Controversial subway ads decrying enemies of Israel made their debut today at ten stations in Manhattan. The ads read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

The MTA initially refused to run the campaign ads, but a federal judge ruled they were protected under the First Amendment. The $6,000 campaign will run for one month, and follows deadly violence overseas in response to an anti-Islam film called "Innocence of Muslims."

What's your reaction to the message in this campaign? Should these posters appear in New York City subway stations? Do you want the MTA to continue to try to limit advertising it deems controversial?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

I will now be more afraid than ever to take the subway.

Rosalie from Canarsie.

The rich woman Right Wing woman who paid for those ads is not speaking for all Jews, nor is she speaking for all people who support Israel. She is inciting violence and bigotry. Her ads are dangerous and provocative and those ads are a slap in the face to all peace loving people. I think she will have the opposite effect that she intended. People who may have been pro Israel are now reconsidering their position due to people like her and her provocation for war.

Susan, Brooklyn, NY

In this day and age and after all the unnecessary wars and hatred in the world you'd think we be finding ways to make the world a better place, instead we use this type of hateful words and language to divide us further.

Bay Ridge

Hi John,

Before I give an opinion I would like to know the person or persons responsible for this controversial subway ad.


Wat wud the decision be if it said the opposite?? Badddd !!

TV Coach


I vote for the ads. Keep running them.

Port Richmond, SI

Well there is such a thing as Freedom of Speech, so if it does not violate the standards every other ad the MTA approves then its fair game. The issue now becomes will equal time be given to another group or groups with opposing viewpoints, like the old saying goes either it's all acceptable or none of it is. One would hope that provocative speech will just spur furious verbal debate, but if this becomes something that incites an undesirable response in those without the proper mental facilities, then I hope it was worth it.

The Bronx

These posters should appear WORLDWIDE. Seriously, retaliation in response to the film, that's such dead theory, we all know it was preplanned. And it should state 'DEFEAT TERRORISM.'

Howard Beach, Queens

This message is a calling for all terrorists to attack the New York subway system. There are terrorists networks right here in the City. The Federal Judge that ruled the protection under the First Amendment will have this on his conscience if a tragedy happens. I think the MTA should have appealed the rule of this Judge. When are we going to learn that we cannot mock Muslim ideas, especially all the uprising that is happening in the Mideast at this time. Since Sept. 11, 2001, we all live in a different world...a world that will never be safe again!!!!


The controversial ads have a right to be place in public transportation systems. You see its a free country and free speech is allowed. What was said is true for the terrorists in my view are nothing more than animals, especially when it comes to the killing of women and children.

Freddy-Glen Oaks Village

Jihad is arabic for struggle. Shalom is hebrew for peace. Jihad Shalom. Put them together. Struggle for peace.

Jimmy from the Bronx

Based on the US law, this ad is 100% legal. I don't understand on how supporting Israel will help against Jihad.

Based on history there are 3 things I have seen in the Arab/Muslim world that most people will never admit. 1.They never live in peace. 2. Their governments are only run with an Iron fist. 3. Afghanistan was never defeated in war.

What can an American honestly do I wish I knew.

Fresh Meadows (Queens)

These ads should NOT be allowed on the subway. I am SICK of both Israel and Islam. I wish they would both just go away. This is the United States of America and we should not have to put up with the garbage from both those groups.

East Village

The word "jihad" just means "struggle" in Arabic. Pamela Geller is ignorant or deliberately inflammatory.


Very Bad message. It equates Israel = gentleman as a 'good country' vs Jihad, a terrorist group that many people nevertheless equate with Arabs at large. So it perpetuates a negative view of Arabs in general

Sunnyside Gdns

The only savage is the state of isrAel that murders children and families. The state of israel is responsible for the death of 1000 palestinians in the gaza war of 2008. It was also the state of israel that killed over a1000 people in the 2006 lebanon war.


While I think Geller is entitled to her first amendment rights, I certainly hope New York Muslims, Christians, and especially Jews recognize that this woman is a bigot. Just because she has the money to plaster her group's hateful, racist message to a subway wall does not mean she should be embraced nor taken seriously. It's a shame that this woman is too delusional to understand how fearmongering breeds the very thing she thinks she is addressing.

-Melissa, Sunset Park

Hello John:

These ads are inflammatory and are not a good response to Islamic extremism. In fact, the language of the ad actually creates extremes: "civilized" verus "savage". People will react to these words and not to the underlying problem: the inability of different groups to see each other as human, and work toward greater understanding of our common humanity.


Does anyone know if these ads are paid by Islamic groups, Jewish groups or maybe by some terrorists that want to stir it up in NY? If the judge wants to approve of this ad, as an American citizen who lives in NYC I demand to know who pays for this ad.


Would the MTA post Playboy centerfolds too? If so, let's have them -- they're protected by the First Amendment. We don't need anymore inflammatory ads, including the anti-choice, anti-women from the Right to Lifers.




This ad is highly inflammatory and hateful. It foments an angry atmosphere of hatred in a crowded public place from which there is no ready escape. I am not certain I understand why the MTA doesn't have the discretion to run or not run any ad that is presented to it to begin with, but in any case the ad is definitely every bit as dangerous as crying fire in a crowded theater.


My thoughts on the ads: One may have the right express something... but Should they?... to what end? This seems like Pot stirring, at a time when it is unwise to do so.


Going "underground" to pronounce inflammatory political views with the intention to provoke is a psychological assault and tantamount to psychological guerrilla warfare which can only serve to continue to divide, vilify and foreclose the essential dialogue, curiosity and openness needed to transcend hate. It is a cowardly act in a country that sacrifices its men and women regardless of their religion to defend our collective freedom of speech and puts them on the front line to face death while we get the luxury to debate this issue.


wow, really people, freedom of speech? should be prepare for another controversial ads on any random issues then, can't complain


that ad should have never been posted on the subway system. It is more divisive instead of trying to work together. I think this woman is ignorant and has a negative approach.... talking about being savage.


Dear John,

I think it's reprehensible and completely irresponsible to place these ads in a small, enclosed and ultimately dangerous environment. I also thought of the "shouting fire in the movie theater" idea. Put these ads somewhere else, if one must; nothing good can come from this.

Shelley from Park Slope

I am opposed to name-calling in advertising. I think it sets a precident. Will we allow name-calling against Jews, African-Americans, Hispanics, Women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People? I support freedom of speech. However, name-calling is dangerous. It leads to violence. I think the ads should be taken down now.

Upper Eastside

People who are against these ads in NYC would be singing a different tune if the ad said "Support Freedom, Defeat Jihad" or Support America, defeat Jihad"


This is such a blatantly racist Ad; I have not seen such bigoted language accepted so openly since before the civil rights movement. How could hatred prevail in a nation which is viewed as a beacon of safety for all races, religions, and creeds. History doesn't have to repeat itself and it only does when ignorance and intolerance takes over our society.

Let us be united Americans and learn not to be divided by those who encourage hatred for their own personal gains. As a an American Muslim I invite everyone to educate themselves about the meaning of Islam, the Qur'an, and who the Prophet was before listening to those who have no authority to speak.

Howard, MD - Upper East Side

I agree with the freedom of speech. When it is hurtfull and mean then adults have to step in and correct it as many viewers have. If Adults dont check their statements, then is it any wonder that our youngsters are learning to be bullies and cruel. My family is muslim/christian/hindu/buddhist and Jewish mixed and it is hurtfull to all of us.


The ad does not say that Jews are civilized and that Muslims are savages; it clearly implies that jihadists, who kill people for no reason other than their religion, are savages. I think most Muslims would agree that killing innocent people are savages.

Renee from Briarwood

How is it offensive to call jihad and murder uncivilized? The ads reference the act of murder, not Muslims! It calls murderers savages. Those who associate murder with All Muslims should question their own prejudice not that of those who posted the ads!


I should hope any reasonably sane person would see these "anti-jihad"
posters for what they are: needlessly hateful anti-Arab propaganda. Do an Internet search on the "Stern Gang," Sabra and Shatila, and Rachel Corrie, and you'll find acts committed by Israelis that could be considered just as "savage" as any act by so-called jihadists. I have to ask: will we accomplish more as New Yorkers by emphasizing everyone's atrocities, or by appealing to our innate sense of cooperation? I should hope the latter will prevail.

Lower East Side

The ad simply reflects the ignorance of the advertiser in that they do not understand fully the idea of jihad. The concept of jihad is the idea of struggle, and it is understood on three levels:

1. A believer's internal struggle to live out the Muslim faith
2. The struggle to build a good Muslim society
3. Holy war - the struggle to defend Islam with force if necessary


Freedom of speech must be balanced with judgment. This ad is lacking in judgment and decency. It probably is within the law, but it is not within the principles that are valued by this great nation.

Helen from Manhattan

The U.S. government, politicians as well as large chunks of populations have sold their integrity to Israeli lobby. Pro-Israeli forces are holding America's prudency, integrity and honesty hostage. Jewish people need to tone down this rethorics and actively pursue peacefull living with Palestinians. Peace is always possible.

No, the poster is by no means appropriate.


Pamela Geller has total right to publish her ads. Freedom of speech is important. Nazi's forbade free speech and look what power they gained. The same with communists. Islam is trying to do the same and silence us all, while it's ideology is akin to Nazism and in great admiration of Nazism. Like with the B-movie Innocence of Muslims, which 99.9% of Muslims didn't even have access to view, Muslims are merely trying to exaggerate and pretend they are victims of this ad. The ad never says 'Muslim'; it talks about Jihad, about terrorism threatening a small country, Israel, which is in constant target of extreme hate and antisemitism. Muslims have never asked for a ban on their own hate propaganda which is massive in the Middle East. The fact that Muslims associate Jihad - an act of war and hate against non-Muslims - as a word denoting 'Muslim' should be a greater concern to all of us than the ad itself.

Park Avenue
Manhattan, NY

I think in the US we are too used to the extremely wide interpretation of freedom of speech that allows all types of inflammatory hate speech, even for the purpose of inciting violence. We are an extreme outlier among nations in this constitutional right. Other countries do place limits on hate speech and have laws that prohibit dissemination through public venues and airwaves. I would like to see further discussion and definition of "free speech" vs "hate speech" that might warrant some restrictions on it's promotion in the US. Perhaps with the broad means available today to widely promulgate hate speech, deliberate misinformation, and much destructive demagoguery we need to revisit this issue. The framers might agree it is time for an update. Many new laws have been written because new types of destructive and criminal behavior have been made possible in today's advanced media that were not possible before these technological advances, so our Constitutional law should be advanced and matured to accommodate these new challenges.

Freedom of speech should not necessarily be without limit. Thoughtful, well considered limits that are aligned with public safety and civil discourse might be a big improvement on current law.

Personally, I am very concerned about deliberately inflammatory speech being posted in NYC subways. It may create an unnecessarily dangerous environment. As a former first responder I deplore the idea of another 9-11, and anyone who feels no sense of responsibility or culpability for inciting, or increasing the risk of such calamities is demonstrating callous disregard for the lives of innocents. Facing the possibility of yet another scene of the bodies of New Yorkers littering the ground after an attack is all too real to many of us.


The right to free speech should not include the right to moronic speech, but alas, this, Chris Christie and fox news still exist.

-Luke, Grant City Staten Island

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