Toronto Transit Turns Down 'Inaccurate’ anti-Israel Ads

Ads dismissed for statement regarding the 'illegal’ nature of ‘loss of [Palestinian] land,’ spokesman says.

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The Toronto Transit Commission rejected four anti-Israel advertisements for being “inaccurate and misleading.”

Brad Ross, a spokesman for the transit commission, told JTA on Monday that the ads were turned down because they were “inaccurate and misleading.” The ads were intended to run on buses and subways, as well as the commission’s shelters.

Proposed by the Montreal-based Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, the ads were similar to the “Disappearing Palestine” ad that ran this summer in Vancouver’s transit system. The Vancouver ad showed four maps, spanning from 1946 to 2012, that suggested Israel was taking over Palestinian land.

The CJPME ads claimed that Palestinian “loss of land” has been “unfair” and “illegal under international law.”

“Our legal opinion,” Ross said, “is that there has never been a finding by any international court or tribunal with respect to the illegality of loss of land, and by making that statement, it potentially could cause discrimination or advocate hate towards a specified group, in this case Israelis and/or the Jewish people.”

Ross said the four ads contained similar language, maps and the line “illegal under international law.” He said, “the real legal issue” for the transit commission “was a statement that we determined to be either inaccurate or misleading.”

The CJPME, which was notified of the decision on Friday, may appeal the rejection, Ross noted.

CJPME President Thomas Woodley told JTA on Monday that his group had not seen the transit commission ruling and could not comment.

B’nai Brith Canada congratulated the commission “for making the right decision.” “In properly interpreting the law on free speech to understand that it does not include the right to spread false information, the TTC has not allowed itself to fall prey to the false anti-Israel propaganda campaign,” B’nai Brith Canada said.

A screenshot of the National Post showing the 'Disappearing Palestine' add in a photo by Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press.

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