A U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Seattle-based King County officials did not violate free speech by prohibiting local buses from displaying anti-Israel advertisements.
The ruling came in reference to a 2010 advertisement on a bus reading, “ISRAELI WAR CRIMES YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK.” Although the county initially approved this ad, a local news broadcast about the campaign caused public uproar and led to photos of injured or dead bus passengers being placed under the door of the local transportation authority service center. As a result, the county decided to reject the ad, while also rejecting a number of other ads proposed by pro-Israel groups.
In response to the rejection of the ad, the county faced a lawsuit from the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, a pro-Palestinian initiative. A judge in a lower court eventually ruled in favor of the county. On Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco also said that Kings County had the right to bar the advertisement because it created a hazardous environment for bus passengers.
“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, Reuters reported.