Shireen Tawil in Mondoweiss:
In her latest attempt to fan the flames of Islamaphobia, anti-Arab sentiments, and blind allegiance to Israel across America, Pamela Geller launched an ad campaignimploring Americans, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat Jihad”. Published in August on buses and subway cars in San Francisco, the ad made its debut in New York City subway stations this week and is due to speckle the nation’s capital in the near future.
Geller’s vulgar and hateful ad campaign has rightfully received much resistance and heat from local populations, as well as the public transportation authorities whose vehicles it smuts. Local anti-hate activists’ creative and artistic responses have branded these ads as racist and hate speech. Her violent and distasteful language has been slammed for reeking of colonial racism and white supremacy. The San Francisco MTA refused to run the ad as it contradicts their stance against defamatory language, until Geller went to court and, winning the case, protected the ad under the First Amendment (much to their credit, in a refreshing reaction to being forced to post the ad, the SFMTA donated its proceeds from the ad to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission).
The language Geller employs in her ad is shocking, hurtful, divisive, violent, hateful, racist, and vulgar. But it is out there, and potentially spreading. The question now remains: what to do with it?