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MTA defends right to ban political ads
by Rich Calder
MTA lawyers on Friday argued that the agency had every legal right to revise its policy on political advertisements — and that it wasn't done to quiet a pro-Israel group seeking to attack Islamic fundamentalist.
During a hearing before Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl, MTA lawyer Peter Sistrom said he "strenuously takes issue" with any suggestion the agency's board two days earlier voted to revise its policy only because it wanted to prevent activist Pam Geller and her pro-Israel American Freedom Defense Initiative from running controversial ads on city buses.
"[The policy change] was in the works long before and was not aimed at these ads" — and Geller's group was "not a target," said Sistrom, referring to a planned AFDI ad that read "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" attributed to a Hamas group, as well as the message "That's His Jihad. What's yours?"
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