Town to get pro Israel bus ad
A new pro Israel ad planned for Chapel Hill Transit buses calls for peace.
But if the furor such ads have caused in the past when placed on town buses is any indication, peace could prove elusive.
The ad called “Imagine Peace” is paid for by StandWithUs and Voice forIsrael.
The pro-Israel groups have bought ad space on other transit buses across the country to counter what they perceive to be negative ads about Israel.
Town officials said the ad, scheduled to go on Chapel Hill Transit buses in August or September, has been reviewed by Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos, who found that it complies with guidelines approved by the Town Council about seven months ago.
“Based on reviews by the Chapel Hill Transit ad manager and the town attorney, the ad complies with the ad policy adopted by the council in December 2012,” said Interim Transit Director Brian Litchfield.
The new ad shows what appear to be a young Jewish boy and a young Arab boy hugging and smiling for the camera.
The ad states: “Imagine Peace in a Middle East where Israel and her neighbors share technology and resources to create a future of peace and prosperity for generations to come. The possibilities are endless.”
It also contains the required note telling readers that the ad is paid for by StandWithUs and Voice for Israel, along with a local telephone number.
A message left at the number in the ad was not immediately returned Monday.
The contract for the ad space calls for two interior ads per bus.
Litchfield said the town is still waiting for the organization to finalize the contract.
Bus ads were hotly debated in Chapel Hill last year.
Debates over free speech and the appropriateness of certain ads erupted after the Church of Reconciliation bought and placed an ad on buses last summer urging the U.S. to end military aid to Israel.
The ad featured an Israeli man and a Palestinian man both holding their grandchildren with “Build Peace with justice and equality. End U.S. military aid to Israel” written underneath.
It touched off a fiery discussion about the appropriateness of political and religious ads on town buses.
The fire was further stoked when the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) submitted a proposal to place five of the pro-Israel group’s ads on the exterior of town buses.
The AFDI ad stating “In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man, Support Israel. Defeat Jihad” has caused major controversy across the country.
Pam Geller, the executive director of the organization, which has successfully sued to have the ad run by transit operations in Washington, D.C., and New York, threatened to sue if the town didn’t take its ad.
The council approved a bus advertising policy in December that allows religious, political and social issue ads, but restricts ads deemed false, misleading, deceptive or disrespectful.