Supporters of Israel mounted an impressive campaign this week to try and prevent Seattle buses from running anti-Israel advertisements, sending over 1,800 email messages to local government council members and to the bus company involved.
The planned advertisements show a group of Arab children standing near a bombed-out building and carry the text: "Israeli War Crimes: your tax dollars at work." The ads are supposed to appear on at least 12 buses that run through downtown Seattle, starting December 27, the second anniversary of the Cast Lead counter-terror campaign mounted by Israel after eight years in which Gaza terrorists shelled Israeli population centers.
Pro-Israel group StandWithUs alerted supporters worldwide to the planned campaign and asked them to send email messages of protest to the King County Council members and to the Metro bus company.
"We've received copies of over 1,800 emails so far," StandWithUs informed its supporters Thursday. "And we know that that is only a small portion of the emails that have been sent - not everyone copied us on their emails. Plus, the phones at Metro have been ringing off the hook with complaints about Metro accepting the anti-Israel 'Israeli War Crimes' ad."
"Since Monday, StandWithUs Northwest's professional and Seattle lay leadership have been on the phones, calling King County Council members, lobbying them to come out in opposition to the anti-Israel ad."
"As a result of your emails and calls, and calls from other community members and leaders, along with StandWithUs Northwest lobbying, we know that at least three King County Council members have publicly come out in opposition to Metro running the ad. The first to speak out was Council member Peter von Reichbauer. Yesterday both Council members Reagan Dunn and Jeanne Hague also came out very strongly with statements opposing the ad."
StandWithUs also succeeded in having a 'stuffed' poll on the subject of the advertisements pulled from the Internet. KING 5 TV, which first broke the story, had an on-line poll on whether or not Metro should carry the ads. "It very quickly became the most visited page on their website, with tens of thousands of people voting. Blogs across the country directed people to vote in the poll. By Monday evening, slightly more than 50 percent of the votes were against Metro running the ad. Then, between late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, more than 15,000 nearly unanswered 'yes' votes came piling in, supporting Metro running the ads."
StandWithUs Northwest's co-chairs called KING 5 and explained that it was statistically nearly impossible for so many 'yes' votes to come in so quickly in a legitimate way. KING 5 responded immediately by investigating the problem and, within an hour, pulled the poll off the web.
In addition, StandWithUs and three other community organizations - the AJC, the Federation of Greater Seattle and ADL - met Wednesday afternoon with representatives of the King County Executive's office and the senior management of Metro. "Both the King County Executive's office and the Metro management heard our position. No decision was reached at the meeting, but we expect to hear from them shortly," StandWithUs reported.
Meanwhile, the David Horowitz Freedom Center announced on Thursday that it has purchased thousands of dollars of ads to counter the anti-Israel campaign. The Freedom Center's ads will read "Palestinian War Crimes: Your Tax Dollars At Work" with pictures of Israeli bus passengers killed by Arab suicide bombers during the Second Intifada.
The Freedom Center is encouraging people who want to assist its pro-Israel campaign and expand it to other cities in the U.S., to do so by helping fund for these counter ads. Click here to help out.