Pro-Israel group asks judge to override New York bus ad ban
Lawyers for a pro-Israel organization whose advertisement containing the phrase “Hamas Killing Jews” prompted a transportation agency to reject all political ads for city buses asked a judge on Thursday to order their message be displayed anyway.
The lawyers made the request of U.S. District Court Judge John G. Koeltl a day after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority banned all political ads on subway trains and buses in the nation’s largest mass transit system.
The MTA’s board voted after the judge ordered the agency to display the ads, saying they were protected by the First Amendment. The judge had immediately stayed the effect of his order so the MTA could appeal.
Attorneys David Yerushalmi and Robert J. Muise, representing the American Freedom Defense Initiative, told the judge the MTA’s decision was a “disingenuous attempt to circumvent” his order. They added that it was now clear the MTA did not plan to appeal and said it was appropriate for the judge to lift the stay and let the ads go up.