Anti-Islamic ads on Metro North platforms

August 17, 2012 2:47:27 PM PDT
An ad on train platforms is raising eyebrows because of its message.

It links nearly 20,000 terror attacks to Islam.

The ads are part of a growing trend and could lead to changes.

Finding a new platform where Metro North commuters usually platform to their train, is a new form of billboard carrying a pointed and sometimes controversial message.

"This is the first time seeing something like that, it's strange to me," a commuter said.

"How long has it been up here?" another commuter asked.

The message this time is an anti-Islamic advertisement paid for by the "American Freedom Defense Initiative".

Its leader Pamela Geller emailed, "I wanted to provide an opposing view, telling the truth to counter the fallacious and deceptive anti-Israel ads."

Marketing expert Timothy de Waal Malefyt, a visiting associate professor at Fordham's School of Business sees these new types of ads largely speaking to ideology.

In a wall of commercial advertising that line Metro North platforms, pitching cars, insurance, and fast food, this pro-Palestinian ad first appeared, some finding it offensive, and some not.

It was countering what was thought to be factually incorrect, and then a pro Israeli message appeared.

75 billboards in six variations. They were placed at stations, paid for by the group, "StandWithUs".

On its website, Avi Posnik, the New York regional coordinator said, "We challenge what they said with fact. This is what we will do throughout the country as need be."

Pamela Geller's group plans to take her campaign nationwide hoping it will be effective.

She said, "We are trying to affect public opinion so as to bring about political change. That is a long process."

"I am totally indifferent really. It doesn't really affect me," a rider said.

For its part, the MTA sells advertising space to raise revenue, officials adding it doesn't endorse viewpoints.

However, a spokesperson said, the "MTA is currently reviewing its policy of accepting non-commercial viewpoint advertising."

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