Jewish Independent Editorial, Sept. 6, 2013
Fifteen buses and one transit station in Vancouver will be sporting geopolitical propaganda for the next few months. Paid for by the Palestine Awareness Coalition, the ad campaign features four maps – each showing a shrinking “Palestine” succumbing to an encroaching Israel – with the headline “Disappearing Palestine.” There is much deception in the ads, no historical context, a conflating of peoplehood with nationhood, etc., etc. But is deception/misinformation in advertising enough of a reason to ban said advertising?
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Pacific Region, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver were among those calling for TransLink to reject the ad campaign, as “these advertisements distort history, are malicious and essentially question the legitimacy of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.” A legal opinion procured by CIJA-PR and Federation concludes that TransLink is permitted “to have a policy that provides for a safe and welcoming transit system and to exclude advertisements that objectively and reasonably interfere with that goal.” TransLink, however, contends (also based on a legal opinion) that it must run the ad because its advertising policy “cannot violate freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” “except in accordance with Section 1 of the Charter, which makes all Charter rights subject to ‘such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.’” Continue reading