Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign

ACLU Legal Exhibit

King County is being sued over its refusal to allow a controversial ad on Metro buses. The advertisement, sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, reads:  “Israeli War Crimes.Your Tax Dollars at Work.”

County officials originally agreed to the ad in December, but changed their mind when news of the campaign sparked international criticism and concerns about violence.

King County Executive Dow Constantine says the escalation of global interest in a bus placard critical of Israel introduces significant security concerns and makes Metro buses vulnerable to disruption. 

Because of this, he’s approved an interim policy that calls for a halt to the acceptance of any new non-commercial advertising on King County buses.

Metro expects to complete work on a permanent transit ad policy by the end of January.

A sign scheduled to run on Metro buses next week has King County officials debating the limits of free speech in transit advertising.

The ad features the words, “Israeli war crimes your tax dollars at work” next to a group of kids staring at a demolished building.

King County Councilman Peter von Reichbauer called for a re-evaluation of the proposed ads, set to roll out Dec. 27.  The date coincides with the two-year anniversary of Israeli military action in Gaza.