Saturday, January 14, 2012

Silenced in Seattle, SeaMAC presses on with ads against settlements, child imprisonment and collective punishment

Seattle Middle East Awareness Campaign is a coalition member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. A few of our past blog posts about the group's pioneering efforts to change Palestine-Israel discourse through advertising are here and here and here and here and here.

by Annie Robbins on January 12, 2012

The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC), the same organization who battled it out with King County Metro over the “Israeli War Crimes” bus ads last year, has been running half-page ads in both the Seattle Weekly and The Stranger since Dec 28th, commemorating the Gaza massacre. The next campaign of print ads, Collective Punishment, (above) will be running over the next several weeks.

Press Release:
King County first approved and then censored SeaMAC’s bus ad on December 23, 2010. King County Metro then twice revised its advertising policy to prevent any “public issue advertising expressing or advocating an opinion, position or viewpoint on matters of public debate about economic, political, religious or social issues”. In spite of that policy, King County Metro has since accepted advertisements for the Mormon religion and a labor rally, as well as a recent ad that said “Buy American”.
“It’s hard to see how King County has been unbiased or ‘viewpoint neutral’ when they have continued to run other political and religious advertisements while censoring ours,” said SeaMAC volunteer Edward Mast.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington is representing SeaMAC in a lawsuit against King County for breach of contract and for violating SeaMAC’s First Amendment right of free expression. The trial was scheduled to begin in federal court on October 31. King County lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and a federal judge granted King County’s motion on October 10. SeaMAC has filed an appeal with the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Another SeaMAC ad, with the slogan EQUAL RIGHTS FOR PALESTINIANS, was accepted and put up on billboards in April 2010 by Clear Channel Outdoor, a private firm. Clear Channel then censored SeaMAC’s ads. Clear Channel had also run other controversial ads which caused public outcry, including an ad that advocated laboratory testing on live animals.
“Why should criticism of Israel be singled out for silencing?” says Peter Lippman, another SeaMAC volunteer.
SeaMAC’s print ads about Israeli war crimes are part of a series that began last August in Seattle Weekly and The Stranger. The ongoing series draws attention to Israel’s policies of segregation and apartheid, as well as the treatment of Palestinian child prisoners and Israel’s attempt to impose a non-viable fake state on Palestinians living under Israel’s illegal military occupation.
So here’s a huge shout out to SeaMAC for relentless and untiring activism to bring awareness to Seattle and the entire Northwest, and, more than that, for serving as an example of how communities across America can pressure our government to stop funding Israel’s occupation and war crimes.

Below are two more ads from SeaMAC’s ongoing series. The complete series of print ads can be viewed at