BART allows Advertisement from Holocaust Denial Hate Group

Bart officials defend decision to approve advert from Institute for Historical Review, known for publishing antisemitic views

BART, Bay Area Rapid Transport, the public transit agency in San Francisco, has approved advertisements from a group that promotes Holocaust denial and antisemitic views, claiming the organization has a “free speech” right to buy train station billboards.

BART HAS CREATED A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT:

In the divisive Trump era wherever the President of this country has failed to denounce the KKK and Nazis, we in San Francisco can ill afford to allow this to pass by as if unimportant. This is how hate creeps into unsuspecting communities. This is how hate is legitimated. This is beyond free speech – its is a mobilization to cause harm. It is a participant in the inciting of violence. It serves to legitimate physical harm to Jews. Would the Gay community be okay with this if THEY were the target?

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The officials defended their decision to allow ads for the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has classified as a hate group that aims to “defend Nazism” and spread Holocaust denial propaganda.

According to the Guardian’s report:

The electronic billboards, which say “History Matters!” and provide the name of the California-based organization, are in rotation at two Bart stations in San Francisco. They come at a time when antisemitic incidents have accelerated at alarming rates in the US and across the world, and as far-right groups and neo-Nazis have increasingly pushed racist and fascist views under the guise of advocating for free speech.

“We cannot deny the ads,” a Bart spokeswoman, Alicia Trost, said in an interview on Tuesday, noting that the agency does not endorse the message or group. “You have to look at it for exactly what words are used and what images are used … There is plenty of case law and court rulings that show if you deny the ad, you can be taken to court, and you’ll lose, and that’s obviously costly.”

The ads, which are running for most of September in the Powell and Montgomery stations, have prompted some backlash from the public, said Trost: “When people look into it, they are upset about the ads, which is understandable.”

The IHR was founded in 1978 by Willis Carto, a prominent far-right figure and Holocaust denier. The group previously published an antisemitic journal and sponsored Holocaust denial conferences, according to the SPLC, a not-for-profit that documents extremism and rightwing hate movements. IHR has been on the decline in recent years, but still runs a website where it promotes “extremist books and other materials”, the SPLC said.

The IHR website published an article saying there is “no evidence for Nazi gas chambers” and another saying “Germans were no more antisemitic than any other people”.

The Anti-Defamation League has also documented the IHR’s history of marketing Holocaust-denial ideologies.

“It’s pretty astounding to me that they would be running ads from this group,” said Heidi Beirich, the SPLC’s intelligence project director. “It has a clear track record of making light of Nazi atrocities … The last thing we need to do is give [the IHR] publicity and recruiting opportunities.”

and further:

Mark Weber, the IHR’s director, said his group paid $6,400 for the ads and that Bart initially rejected his proposal when the designs included a link to his webpage. After he removed the URL, the transit agency said the ad met its guidelines.

The SPLC says Weber has played a significant role in popularizing Holocaust denial viewpoints

…. ….

The Harm is done –  as Weber notes the Ads are helping popularize his organization further:

He said the Bart ads have already led to an increase in traffic to his website and some inquiries from the public, but did not provide details.

Further notes the Guardian:

Deborah Lipstadt, an Emory University professor and expert on Holocaust deniers, said the IHR was instrumental in presenting the denial ideologies as academic inquiry, framing their work as “revisionist”. The group has long promoted “distortions and inventions of history”, including the tactic of questioning the number of deaths, she said.

Bart should not have given the group an opportunity to promote itself, Lipstadt added: “This is an attempt by an entity that for a long time has been rather moribund to see if in this climate, it can reemerge.”

Apparently – On the IHR store, Weber has promoted his writing, including one talk lamenting “the Jewish-Zionist grip on the media” and an address by him titled “An Introduction to Holocaust Revisionism”.

I REPEAT:

BART HAS CREATED A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT:

In the divisive Trump era wherever the President of this country has failed to denounce the KKK and Nazis, we in San Francisco can ill afford to allow this to pass by as if unimportant. This is how hate creeps into unsuspecting communities. This is how hate is legitimated. This is beyond free speech – its is a mobilization to cause harm. It is a participant in the inciting of violence. It serves to legitimate physical harm to Jews. Would the Gay community be okay with this if THEY were the target?

Is this an invitation to Hate Groups to descend via advertisement into progressive San Francisco spewing their filthy hate?  Will BART distinguish between homophobia and anti semitism when challenged or see hate as hate?

I think if the San Francisco LGBTQ community was exposed to a flurry of advertisements by BART, paid for and promoting the groups which SPLC designate as anti-LGBT Hate Groups, the community would run riot and shut BART down.

Imagine if all of these following groups suddenly approached BART and insisted on an advertisement – would BART apply the same response as it has done for this anti semitic group?

Here are 2017’s SPLC list of Hate Groups against Gay people:

Abiding Truth Ministries* (Springfield, Massachusetts)
Alliance Defending Freedom* (Scottsdale, Arizona)
American College of Pediatricians* (Gainesville, Florida)
American Family Association (Franklin, Pennsylvania)
American Family Association* (Tupelo, Mississippi)
American Vision* (Powder Springs, Georgia)
Americans for Truth About Homosexuality* (Naperville, Illinois)
ATLAH World Missionary Church (All The Land Anointed Holy)* (New York, New York)
Bible Believers Fellowship* (Worthington, Ohio)
Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) (New York, New York)
Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) (Washington, District of Columbia)
Chalcedon Foundation* (Vallecito, California)
Christian Civil Rights Watch (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Conservative Republicans of Texas (Houston, Texas)
D. James Kennedy Ministries (formerly Truth in Action)* (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
Faith2Action* (North Royalton, Ohio)
Faithful Word Baptist Church (Tempe, Arizona)
Family Research Council* (Washington, District of Columbia)
Family Research Institute* (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Family Watch International* (Gilbert, Arizona)
Generations With Vision* (Elizabeth, Colorado)
Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment (H.O.M.E.)* (Downers Grove, Illinois)
Illinois Family Institute (East Peoria, Illinois)
Illinois Family Institute* (Carol Stream, Illinois)
Liberty Counsel* (Orlando, Florida)
Mass Resistance (St. Louis, Missouri)
Mass Resistance (Statewide, Colorado)
Mass Resistance (Statewide, Texas)
Mass Resistance (Torrance, California)
Mass Resistance* (Waltham, Massachusetts)
Mission: America* (Columbus, Ohio)
Pacific Justice Institute* (Sacramento, California)
Pass the Salt Ministries* (Hebron, Ohio)
Pilgrims Covenant Church* (Monroe, Wisconsin)
Probe Ministries* (Plano, Texas)
Public Advocate of the United States (Merrifield, Virginia)
Ruth Institute* (Lake Charles, Louisiana)
Save California* (Sacramento, California)
Stedfast Baptist Church (Jacksonville, Florida)
Stedfast Baptist Church* (Fort Worth, Texas)
The Campus Ministry USA* (Terre Haute, Indiana)
The Pray in Jesus Name Project* (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Tom Brown Ministries* (El Paso, Texas)
Traditional Values Coalition (Anaheim, California)
Traditional Values Coalition* (Washington, District of Columbia)
True Light Pentecost Church* (Spartanburg, South Carolina)
United Families International* (Gilbert, Arizona)
Verity Baptist Church (Vancouver, Washington)
Verity Baptist Church* (Sacramento, California)
Westboro Baptist Church* (Topeka, Kansas)

TAKE ACTION:

Bart needs to take a stand against hate of all kinds and show up for  San Francisco’s refusal to participate in inciting hate. I do believe BART can easily distinguish this as inciting dangerous conditions and for that reason should take down the ads.

If you think BART should remove this advertising, please let them know.

Bay Area Rapid Transit is a rapid transit public transportation system serving the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The heavy rail elevated and subway system connects San Francisco and Oakland with urban and suburban areas in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties.

EMAIL ADDS OF BART BOARD:

Debora.Allen@bart.gov
Joel.Keller@bart.gov

Rebecca.Saltzman@bart.go
v
Robert.Raburn@bart.gov

boardofdirectors@bart.gov 
 -John McPartland, Thomas Blalock, Lateefah Simon
nickj@getsfmoving.com

bevan.dufty@bart.gov

Non-emergency telephone number – tel: 877 679-7000/ 877 679-7000
Oakland/Berkeley/San Leandro –  tel: 510 465-2278/ 510 465-2278
San Francisco/Daly City te – 415 989-2278 / 415 989-2278
South San Francisco/San Bruno/San- tel:650 992-2278 /650 992-2278
Concord/Walnut Creek/Lafayette/ Antioch/Pittsburg/Livermore/Orinda – tel: 925 676-2278 /925 676-2278
Hayward/San Leandro/Fremont/ Union City/Dublin/Pleasanton”tel 510 441-2278 / 510 441-2278
Richmond/El Cerrito -tel:510 236-2278/ 510 236-2278
All other locations: – tel:510 465-2278/ 510 465-2278

BY MELANIE NATHAN,
Past VP, San Francisco Pride Board.

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My e-mail commissionermnathan@gmail.com
Support our work at African Human Rights Coalition
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2 thoughts on “BART allows Advertisement from Holocaust Denial Hate Group

  1. Wow, I never thought it would be so easy for these dirt-bags to steamroll the CA transport co. What does the Gov. or elected officials have to say about this???

  2. Such total bullshit! Let’s put swastikas on the sides of trains too! It’s free speech! Next let’s deny Japanese internment camps, slavery and genocide of American Indians!

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