IsraeliIDF is pleased to follow up on the story we brought you only days ago.

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Seattle billboards on Israel canceled after controversy

Months after trying to place controversial ads about Israel on Metro buses, the Seattle group behind the ads said its latest effort to put a similar message on billboards has also been rejected.

The group, the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC), said billboard company Clear Channel Outdoor had placed three of the group’s signs last week and this week.

The signs say, “Equal rights for Palestinians – Stop funding the Israeli military.”

But on Wednesday, Clear Channel announced it was cancelling the contract, saying it re-evaluated its decision after people complained, according to SeaMAC.

“We don’t under what is objectionable about equal rights…” SeaMAC volunteer Ed Mast said Thursday, standing near billboard on Elliott Avenue West that once had his message. It now said, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

“This leaves us censored now twice in Seattle.”

Olivia Lippens, president of Clear Channel Outdoor Seattle, said the company is committed to ensuring that “all messages we post, and any websites they promote, adhere to community standards and are not offensive towards any business.”

“Upon further review, it became evident that a campaign sponsored by Stop 30 Billion.org promoted a website that is not in keeping with those standards,” Lippens said in a statement.

“As a result of that review, we removed this advertising from our displays.”

The website Lippens refers to is for an umbrella group called the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel. The $30 billion refers to the amount the United States has committed to giving Israel in military aid over the next decade, says the group.

(The actual website on the billboards is for SeaMAC, whose site is stop30billion-seattle.org).

Mast said the billboards were placed on Aurora Avenue, Elliott Avenue West and Lake City Way. Lippens said Clear Channel was working to remove them in the next few days.

Last year, King County had authorized SeaMAC to put ads on Metro buses that said, “Israeli war crimes: Your tax dollars at work.”

But news of the ads prompted a torrent of complaints and threats of violence, and county officials worried about civil disobedience and terrorist acts.

Executive Dow Constantine reversed the decision in December, before the ads ever went up. SeaMAC and the ACLU then sued the county, saying the decision violated the Constitution.

The controversy also prompted King County Metro to announce new transit advertising policy earlier this month, saying it will take ads for non-profits, but that certain political and public issue ads will be banned.

Visit seattlepi.com’s home page for more Seattle news. Contact Vanessa Ho at 206-448-8003 or vanessaho@seattlepi.com, and follow her on Twitter as @vanessaho.

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