Tuesday, September 25, 2012

American Freedom Defense Initiative Post Anti-Jihad Ads in NYC Subways

It is rare that I ever feel the need to speak about things going on in the world. Normally, I take everything that happens with a massive grain of salt and reconcile with the fact that the world is fucked and go on living. However, every now and again something irritates me to the point where I feel a burning desire to say something. Anything.

If you aren't familiar with the situation, a pro-Israel group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) have recently postered the NYC subway system with signs comparing Jihadists to savages and calling for the support of Israel. The MTA originally tried to block the ads but the AFDI won the ensuing court and as a result the signs were posted yesterday.

Before I get to talking about my main issue with the signs, I feel that I should make two things clear. First, I am in no way trying to say the AFDI are not well within the constitutional rights to post these ads. They rightfully won their court battle with the MTA and should be allowed to post these signs according the United States Constituion. Second, I wholeheartedly disagree with the message put forth by these posters. To relegate any group of human beings to that of a savage is wrong no matter the atrocities they may have committed. Doing so is counterproductive to the goal trying to be accomplished by this organization and takes away any credibility this organization has with the "civilized" people they are trying to appeal to.

Now to the main point of my writing this.

How simpleminded and obtuse can this organization possibly be? If these people are the "savages" you suggest, then how does publicly antagonizing them serve any purpose? The ads have been posted in the aftermath of violent reactions to an anti-Islam YouTube video that ridicules the Prophet Mohammed. The AFDI claims they are trying to protect innocent people from "the tens of thousands of rockets going into Southern Israel from Gaza. The blowing up of a bus of Jewish women and children in Bulgaria." While these are undoubtedly abhorrent acts that deserve retribution, how do these ads do anything but exacerbate the situation? The answer: "they don't".

The only purpose the ads serve is to potentially endanger the millions of innocent people that ride the subway every single day. We have already seen the reaction to the YouTube video in the middle east and now with these signs, it feels as though its only a matter of time before there is a reaction in New York City.

Its extremely disconcerting that this organization cannot see the fundamental flaws in this ad-campaign and have gone ahead despite the public outcry. The executive director of the AFDI, Pamela Geller was quoted as saying "I will not sacrifice my freedom of speech so as not to defend a savages." It is this kind of short-sighted fulfillment of constitutional rights, without internalizing the potential consequences, that endangers the American way of life conservatives like Pamela Geller work so hard to protect.

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