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Commuters see Hitler on DC buses

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Not inside the buses, but on the outside. Specifically, on 15-foot-long posters placed on 20 District of Columbia Metro buses for the coming month, according to a May 20 London Daily Mail report. The bus posters feature an archival photo of Adolf Hitler chatting with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1921 through 1948. A caption under the photo identifies its subjects as "Adolf Hitler and his staunch ally, the leader of the Muslim world, Haj Amin al-Husseini," while the headline claims "Islamic Jew-Hatred" is "in the Quran."

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"During World War II," says al-Husseini's Wikipedia entry, "he collaborated with both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy by making propagandistic radio broadcasts and by helping Germans recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. On meeting Adolf Hitler he requested backing for Arab independence and support in opposing the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home."

As a response to a March and April American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) bus poster campaign calling for an end to American aid to Israel, it's the latest shot in a propaganda war whose battlefields are the outsides of public buses in American cities from Washington (DC) to Washington (state) – and often the insides of their courtrooms.

  • Washington – In late March, AMP launched a bus poster campaign showing Uncle Sam waving a small Israeli flag with the headline, "We're sweating April 15 so Israelis don't have to!" A subhead says, "Stop US aid to Israel's occupation!" The just-released American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) poster counters that claim by noting, "Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries." Metro, Washington's public transit agency, accepted the ads mainly because they had to, "having previously lost a First Amendment case against...AFDI" in "a federal judge ordered Metro to display ads that stated, 'In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad,'" the Times of Israel reports.
  • Seattle – AFDI has had to go to court for the right to run ads in the other Washington, specifically Seattle. In December, 2013, when the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign ran bus posters saying, "Share the land. Palestinian refugees have the right to return. Equal rights for Palestinians," AFDI countered with a look-alike layout headlined, "Share the land. The Palestinian Authority kills any Muslim who sells land to a Jew. Equal rights for Jews."
  • Denver – When the Jewish National Fund held its national conference there towards tin November, 2013, the Colorado BDS (boycott, disinvest, sanction) Campaign ran posters headlined, "Want peace? Stop ethnic cleansing in Palestine" on Regional Transportation District buses and light rail trains. A November 4 Denver Post editorial called them misleading and the accusations "false," adding that "you cannot accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing and expect to be taken seriously by those familiar with the facts." AFDI countered in December with bus ads saying, "The Palestinian Authority is calling for a Jew-free state. Equal rights for Jews."
  • Tampa – Last September, when CAIR ran ads positioning their organization as a kind of legal aid service for discriminated-against Muslims, AFDI copied the layout to offer free aid to Muslim girls fearing honor killings by their families. They also ran a series of ads featuring quotes from Muslims claiming to have been "cheated" and "defrauded" by CAIR's legal services.
  • San Francisco – After fending off city council attempts to censor bus posters which quoted prominent Muslims saying things such as, "Killing Jews is worship that brings us closer to Allah," AFDI took a kinder, gentler tack in April, quoting prominent Muslims making anti-homosexual statements. In San Francisco, where homophoibic bigotry trumps "Islamophobic bigotry," the April campaign met with widespread support.

In at least four major cities – Seattle, San Francisco, Washington and Boston – AFDI has had to take legal action to defend their First Amendment right to advertise. Only in one – Boston – has Islamist advertising been legally challenged, and then only temporarily.

AFDI having prevailed in Washington, their bus ads will remain up for four weeks. According to WJLA-TV, CAIR is responding by offering "free copies of the Quran."

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