Why does TfL (and Boris) tolerate anti-Israel anti-Semitism?
Would Boris permit these advertisements to appear on London's buses, especially during the Olympic Games? No? Perhaps they are a little too much in-your-face, and somewhat insensitive during the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre. But TfL have approved this advertisement for Al-Quds Day, which amounts to the same thing (just not so in-your-face):
The moment the Mayor of London stepped in to censor the perfectly legal advertisements of Anglican Mainstream for their alleged 'homophobia', there was a danger of his intervention being perceived as personal disapprobation, and any future inaction as tacit endorsement of a campaign. Boris said of the Anglican Mainstream advertisements: "London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses."
Perhaps so. But is it not just as 'clearly offensive' to advertise an Islamist day of fanatical celebration which opposes a homeland for the Jewish people (ie Zionism) as well as Israel's control of Jerusalem? Al-Quds Day was inaugurated by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who declared the liberation of Jerusalem a religious duty to all Muslims (ie Jihad). It is celebrated fervently by Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement, who are a little more extreme than Anglican Mainstream.
Yet here we are, with TfL promoting a manifestly anti-Semitic event, and Boris endorsing it through inertia and silence. For His Grace, he is all for such freedom of expression: it is his judgment that society is all the better for such vigorous expressions being permitted and crushed through sound argument. Freedom reigns while people spout their views, so he stands foursquare with Lord Justice Sedley, who championed the rights of people to express such views, quoting Socrates and two famous Quakers in doing so. There is no breach of the peace if what is said is merely offensive. He said: “Free speech includes not only the offensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, providing it does not tend to provoke violence.”
But Boris has a problem because he set a precedent: the official position of TfL in its acceptance of advertising is that it is intolerant of the intolerant. Yet the Islamic Human Rights Commission gladly entertains Islamists who spout such incitement as this:
This ummah needs a ruler who will stand up for Islam. Who will unite us behind Qur’an. Who will follow the words of the prophet and who will send an army. The army of Egypt is not the army of Egypt. The army of Iran is not the army of Iran. The army of Jordan is not the army of Jordan. These are the armies of Islam. These are the armies of the Muslim ummah. These are the armies that have to move. Takbir! Takbir! Takbir!This sounds pretty intolerant to His Grace. You can get further details over at Harry's Place.
...Yes, give your charity, may Allah accept it. Yes, make duaa (prayer) for the Palestinians, may Allah accept it. But you have to call, you have to demand, you have to march, that the Muslim armies, they have to disobey their orders. The Muslim armies in Egypt, Jordan and Syria, they have to disobey their presidents and these puppets of the West. They have to move across the borders. They have to liberate Gaza. They have to liberate Palestine, the whole of the land again. Takbir! Takbir! Takbir!
His Grace decided to write to Aiden Dunning, Director of Legal and Business Affairs, and to Mike Hemmings, head of Marketing. He received this response:
Thank you for your email regarding the Islamic Human Rights Commission campaign.Well, as readers and communicants will know, His Grace isn't overly fond of the ASA, and has zero confidence in the impartiality of their judgment. So he responded to Mr McDonald thus:
CBS Outdoor UK sought advice from the Committee of Advertising Practice and the advert complies with Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines and does not breach any UK ad regulations.
If you wish to make a formal complaint regarding the campaign, please contact the ASA directly.
Advertising Standards Authority
Mid City Place
71 High Holborn
Tel: 020 7492 2222
The ASA will confirm receipt of the complaint and advise you on how it will be proceeding.
Thank you for taking the time to contact CBS Outdoor UK
Head of Sales Administration
Dear Mr McDonald,His Grace has received no further response, hence this post (of which they were given due notice). If anyone wishes to take this up with the ASA, His Grace would be (mildly) interested to hear how you get on. In the meantime, Nigel McDonald can be contacted at Nigel.McDonald@cbsoutdoor.co.uk.
With respect, this isn't a matter for the ASA but for you.
A few months ago you pulled (at very short notice) the perfectly legal advertising campaign by a Christian group who happen to believe that homosexuality might be cured.
It was (and is) undoubtledly the case that 'the Committee of Advertising Practice and the advert complie(d) with Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines and (did) not breach any UK ad regulations'.
Please could you explain why TfL permits the promotion of a manifestly anti-Semitic event but not that which is deemed to constitute 'homophobia'?