JCRC Statement on the MBTA’s Plans to Ban Political Ads

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston applauds the MBTA for reiterating its intent today to ban all political advertising at its stations and property after our expressed concerns with the tenor and distortions in the current ads about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.  JCRC has urged the MBTA to create a forward looking policy to ensure that the validity of political opinion is not subject to the whim of public officials. 

“The Jewish community believes deeply in the principles enshrined in the First Amendment and the value of robust and vibrant debate over complex political issues in the public square. However, such issues will not be resolved by misleading and provocative propaganda that stands to further divide the public,” said Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of JCRC. “The proposed policy outlined by the MBTA would remove them as arbiter of political questions and moves these debates off of billboards and back into the public arena.”

“The free and open exchange of ideas is a hallmark principle of a democratic society, and we believe that the best response to bad speech is more speech,” said Adam Suttin, President, JCRC. “However, this current example demonstrates not all arenas are appropriate for all types of debate.”