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Judge rules against anti-Israel bus ads

Oct. 11, 2011 at 7:13 PM

SEATTLE, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Seattle has dismissed a lawsuit by a group that wants to run bus advertisements accusing Israel of war crimes.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones ruled Monday that King County and Metro Transit officials did not curtail the Seattle Middle East Awareness Campaign's right to free speech, The Seattle Times reported. Jones said the decision not to allow the ads to be posted did not involve the content of the ads and was a "reasonable restriction on a limited public forum."

The ads would have shown a photograph described as children in Gaza next to a building destroyed in the 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza with the headline "Israeli war crimes -- Your tax dollars at work."

Metro Transit originally agreed to accept the ads. But officials decided against them because of warnings from police about the consequences of running the ads and a backlash that included plans for a counter-campaign depicting Israel as the victim of terrorism.

Ed Mast, a spokesman for the organization that wants to run the ads, said the group is considering an appeal.

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