BART defends approving Holocaust denial group’s ads

FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2013, file photo, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) passengers wait for a train in Oakland, Calif. A BART labor union overwhelmingly ratified a contract agreement Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, after a bitter dispute prompted two San Francisco area strikes, officials said. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

“I don’t understand how such a liberal area, that supposedly is inclusive, has magically become so anti-Jewish.” – Ethan Bearman, KGO810 Host

A Holocaust denial group has managed to snag a piece of ad real estate in one of the most liberal, and arguably inclusive, pockets of the country, San Francisco.

The controversial electronic billboards, rotating in the city’s Montgomery and Powell BART stations for the bulk of September, have sparked outrage from riders and left many puzzled as to why Historical Review — which has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — was given such access. According to SPLC, the California-based organization is an avid distributor of Holocaust denial propaganda and a defender of Nazis.

Following the public backlash, transit agency officials cited “free speech” rights to justify their decision to run the ads, which tout the message “History Matters!” and were reportedly bought for $6,400.

“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,” Bart Spokeswoman Alicia Trost said in an interview Tuesday, noting she understood why people were upset.

As someone who personally identifies with the Jewish faith, Host Ethan Bearman felt it was important to dedicate a segment to the subject. He demanded more actions be taken to stop a repeat occurrence and for more attention to be directed at the troubling rise of anti-semitism, pointing to a shocking Guardian report that found anti-semitic incidents in the U.S. surged 57 percent in 2017 alone.

“It’s not okay,” he said, “and I hope you start asking yourself why it’s not.”

Listen to the podcast below to hear him speak his mind on the story!


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