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They Are the Facts: Boston's MTA Restores (Briefly Pulled) Ads on Palestinian Land Losses

by Abby Zimet

Just a day or two after Boston's Transit Authority pulled down 80 posters on subway station walls showing the dramatic loss of Palestinian lands to Israel since the creation of the Jewish state - evidently in response to pressure from the Anti-Defamation League - it is putting them back up. The MBTA cited "a breakdown in our established procedures for handling complaints," which presumably,  roughly translates as, "We should not be in the business of giving in to political censorship of what are the facts on the ground." Similar ads in New York and D.C. have likewise met with well-funded complaints, but not removal. Ad sponsor Henry Clifford on the maps and accompanying text noting that 4.7 million Palestinians are classified by the U.N. as refugees, "If the facts are inflammatory then they are inflammatory." One small victory. More on the power of pictures - in this case, graffiti - here.

"They're accusing me of wrongdoing - of trying to inflame something when the fact is their response is more inflammatory than my ads. I don't see how maps that present historical and geographical facts can be called inflammatory or anti-Semitic, or misleading. They are the facts and if you notice we don't editorialise. We present the facts and we let people decide for themselves what the conclusion is."