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“In 2010, a non-profit group opposed to U.S. support for Israel proposed a bus ad that read: ‘ISRAELI WAR CRIMES YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK,’ along with a website address. The county originally flagged the ad as controversial, but decided it did not violate bus advertising policy and approved it.

After a local news broadcast about the impending ad, officials faced a public furor. Photos depicting dead or injured bus passengers appeared under the door of a transportation authority service center, the ruling said.

The county eventually rejected that ad, along with others proposed by pro-Israel groups. The pro-Palestinian Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign sued, and a judge in a lower court sided with the county.

‘Because the county simultaneously rejected all of the proposed ads on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — from opposing viewpoints — no reasonable jury could find that it engaged in viewpoint discrimination,’ 9th Circuit Judge Paul Watford wrote on Wednesday.

In dissent, Judge Morgan Christen said that while safety is a concern, ‘it also may be that the county inappropriately bowed to a “heckler's veto” and suppressed speech that should have been protected.’

She said the case should have been sent back to the lower court for more fact-finding.”

— Reuters: Anti-Israel ad can be barred from Seattle buses, appeals court rules (Mar. 18 2015)

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