New York City MTA Votes to Trash the First Amendment

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

A century of free speech in New York’s most public square — the streets, the buses, the subways — came to a screeching halt last Wednesday when the  Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) voted to ban all issue and political advertising, solely in order to silence me.

The meeting kicked off with discussion about the MTA’s billion-dollar debt. Still, this irresponsible and totalitarian vote against political ad revenue was voted in. What’s interesting, but not surprising, was what MTA Board member Charles Moerdler, an attorney for the notorious leftist United Federation of Teachers, inadvertently revealed about why the ban was being considered. Moerdler’s rant was not about the anti-Hamas ads that the court had ordered the MTA to run. No, in a vicious and disgusting tirade, he attacked our ads that expose his pals, wealthy Jewish donors who support Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions initiatives against Israel.

Moerdler railed against our ads exposing wealthy donors’ support of the New Israel Fund, which supports BDS organizations, shrieking about lashon hara, the Hebrew term for defamatory speech about another person. Actually, truth is not lashon hara; calling me an egomaniac and a zealot, as Moerdler did in his remarks, is. Calling our ads “filth,” Moerdler made no mention of the damage and destruction of BDS to the Jewish state. Yet even an Israeli court ruled that funding BDS was terrorism. Moerdler and his country club buddies are OK with that, but a “zealot” calling them out about it is “filthy.” And after several board members stood in defense of free speech, Moerdler berated us again with his “filthy” mouth.

Moerdler used the Holocaust and Mein Kampf as examples of why free speech should be banned — but it was because free speech was banned that totalitarianism was able to spread in Germany. If the Nazis had allowed free speech, they would never have remained in power as long as they did. His flaunting of being a Holocaust survivor was simply evil. Moerdler has previously argued that it’s “morally wrong” to put out inaccurate information, which is exactly what this dishonest fascist did Wednesday.

Watch his villainous remarks here and here.

The ugliness of Moerdler’s remarks was surpassed by MTA Board Member Ira Greenberg, who said that my ads “make me want to strangle the life out of the person who took them out.” And I’m the hater? Hey, Ira, if that MTA thing doesn’t work out, maybe you can get a job with ISIS.

Between Moerdler and Greenberg, they ought to be jailed for their hate speech.

Moerdler’s libels and lies are “tolerant.”

Greenberg’s death threats are “tolerant.”

Baltimore burning is “free speech.”

But our ads get banned. Got it? We are marching to totalitarianism. Watch the entire deluded circus here.

It was a circus because the five public speakers, including me, all spoke in defense of free speech, opposing the ban, yet the ban still carried. Every MTA Board member who spoke in the executive session, with the exception of the power-mad Moerdler, spoke in defense of free speech. Moerdler was the only one on record to support the ban. The fascist cowards who voted for the ban did not go on the record. They knew. The vote for the ban passed — a craven sore loser move in light of our AFDI victory in court last week, when a federal judge ruled that our ads criticizing Hamas must run. 

Clearly the fix was in before this meeting ever took place. The vote was obviously a fait accompli. When it came in, approving the ban despite the overwhelming support for free speech, Moerdler’s grin was perfectly evil. One can only imagine the pats on the back over brandy and cigars. And now, the enemies of freedom are rejoicing across the world.

It also bears mentioning that when I spoke, they cut my mic. They did not do that to anyone else. What are they so afraid of?

This is a classic case of the powerful trumping the rights of the common man so as to protect their little club. The political and media elites only allow the public discourse to fall within a certain political spectrum. My ads drove them crazy because they fell outside of that spectrum; I was vaulting over their controls and bringing truths to the public that they didn’t want known. They had to move to shut me down.

Don’t think for one second that this is a defeat for me. I’ll continue to do the work with more gusto. Even though the ban was put in place solely because of me, it is a stunning assault upon First Amendment rights in general. Even Board members expressed real concern that the ban would be challenged and overturned. We aren’t the only ones who see the problem with this: Christopher Dunn, associate legal director for the New York Civil Liberties Union, said: “It is unconscionable that you are thinking about barring all political ads from the transit system.”

New York City is the capital of the free world. The world looks to us. What message did the MTA send Wednesday? Every city will follow suit. It was a dark day for freedom but have no fear. But this is not over. Not by a long shot. We have already begun to pursue this legally; our lawyers David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise have already written to the MTA asking that our ads be put up forthwith, as they are not political.

And if we ultimately lose, it is no understatement to say that the freedom of speech and free society in the West is lost. And horribly enough, it will be, as predicted by jihadists and the hundreds of Muslims groups named in the largest terrorist funding trial in our nation’s history, “by its own hand,” as the Muslim Brotherhood itself put it:“The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” (More here.)

The rich and powerful trumped our unalienable rights in New York City, April 29, 2015.

But rewarding savagery with capitulation and fear will only bring more bloodshed and more terror. You haven’t seen anything yet.

 Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter here. Like her on Facebook here.


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