Ads About Palestine Were Removed From MBTA Stations After ‘Numerous Complaints’ [Update]

The T’s advertising agency took them down in less than a week, but now they are going back up.

Photo via

Photo via

Update, 4:30 p.m. Friday:  According to an MBTA spokesman: “The ads are going back up. Their removal was the result of a miscommunication between the MBTA and its contractor, Titan. There was a breakdown in our established procedures for handling complaints about specific ads.”

Earlier: After receiving multiple complaints about large signs depicting a shrinking Palestinian landscape, which were put up around the MBTA system, the T’s advertising partner, Titan, pulled them down.

The ads went up around the transit system on Monday, and were paid for by The Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, a group that describes itself as “a diverse, community-based group dedicated to organizing activities and educational events that advance the cause of peace and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.”

But according to Henry Clifford, chairman of the committee, Titan told him that within hours of the signs being posted, which Clifford paid for, the T fielded “numerous complaints,” and they were “informed … to remove all of the posters from the system.”

Titan told Clifford they would reimburse him for the cost to run the advertisements.

Boston reached out to the group sponsoring the ads as well as the T’s ad agency, but did not receive an immediate response from either.

While the email from Titan to Clifford seems to indicate that it was the T that urged the ad agency to remove the posters because of the complaints, officials from the transit agency said it was ultimately Titan’s decision. “The MBTA informed Titan of the complaints, and Titan decided to remove the ad,” said MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

It’s not the first time that these particular advertisements have stirred controversy. In 2012, The Committee Peace in Israel and Palestine paid $25,000 to have the signs go up at 10 “Metro-North” stations for 30 days. The signs describe the loss of “Palestinian Land from 1946 to 2010.”

Last year, when complaints surfaced in New York and Washington, D.C., Clifford told Fox News that “Anyone who challenges these maps and the content of these ads, it’s they’re obligation to show that they’re historically wrong. The ball is in their court.”

Members of the Jewish community called for the removal of the ads in New York, but the transit agency there didn’t take them down.

In Boston, representatives from Jewish Voice for Peace said they are “glad to hear” that the MBTA ads showing maps of “Palestinian Loss of Land” are going back up.  “These maps educate Boston T-riders on the effects of Israeli policies, like the expansion of illegal settlements, on Palestinian society. As Palestinians lose their land, they also lose their homes, villages, freedom of movement, and access to basic resources like farmland and water.  We must acknowledge the reality in these maps in order to create justice, equality, and security for Palestinians and Israelis,” they said in a statement.

Feuds over “appropriate” advertisements on the MBTA’s platforms, stations, and vehicles have been an issue in the past with other companies and organizations as well.

In September, an anti-street harassment group lodged complaints with the MBTA over a cartoon of a female with the words “Tap Booty” written next to her. The advertisers chose to remove the ad after receiving complaints via social media.

In 2011, the MBTA banned anti-Scott Brown ads from being placed along the tracks, sponsored by, because they allegedly violated the T’s advertising guidelines. That same year, ads that said “Judgment Day,” and gave a date declaring the end of the world, were removed from MBTA buses.

  • Chris Hadrick

    “Anyone who challenges these maps and the content of these ads, it’s they’re obligation to show that they’re historically wrong. The ball is in their court.” indeed

    • Matthew

      Love the one person voting against your post yet unable to reply with a response to it 😛

    • Asher

      a good explanation of “the map that lies”.

      • Chris Hadrick

        Much of his argument in the begining hinges on the fact that ottomans and British and whatnot controlled it. from what I understand, it was relatively autonomous under Ottoman Control. Certainly they didn’t have checkpoints and settlements and so forth the way they do under what you’d call Israeli control.

        and this “The vast majority of the total land, however, belonged to the government, meaning that when the state of Israel was established, it became legally Israel’s.”

        is really beside the point. I’d be more apt to consider the guys rebuttal if he weren’t so disingenuous. It’s obviously fine to support Israel and Zionism but the idea that Palestinians haven’t been largely herded into the West Bank and Gaza is silly. and they have only minimal internal controls, Israel controls all sorts of stuff from the outside for their security purposes.

        “Of course, before 1948 the word “Palestinian” more often than not referred to Palestinian Jews, not Palestinian Arabs. ”

        the place was majority Arab for about 18 centuries before Zionism.

        This is a good book if you ever get the chance check it out

    • Davillus Hynzerelli

      The Arab “so-called Palestinians” have NEVER ruled that land. It’s been ruled by Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Israelites, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks,Romans, Byzantines, Sunni & Shia caliphates, Crusaders, Ottomans & then finally the British.

      • Chris Hadrick

        Whatever they were called they were there and constituted a majority. modern notions of ownership are besides the point.

  • Symcha

    They forgot to add the part in 1948 when Israel was attacked by all surrounding arab countries that led to their gaining land. Plus there was never a country called Palestine!!!!!!!!!

    • SMK

      I’m sure you meant there was never a country called Israel. I’m assuming that’s a typo because no one would be silly enough to state such a blatant lie as fact. Historical maps and documents, religious scriptures, and any other number of documents verify Palestine.

      • Davillus Hynzerelli

        The Romans called that area Palestine back when they ruled loooooooooser.

  • JD

    Can’t dispute the land grab symcha, have to reditect the conversation? Typical

    • Davillus Hynzerelli

      The Heebs should drive all the mooslimes out & grab the West bank & the Gaza strip too & hopefully u by the throat & throttle u good wussie maggot

  • mplo

    Imho, it’s one thing to try to educate people about what’s going on, by holding seminars, meetings, conferences, etc., but these ads really don’t belong on an MBTA subway train.

  • Asher

    what a biased article. quotes from the radical leftist JVP and the people who put up the ads, but nothing from the many people who support israel, not genocidal terrorists.

    • Matthew

      May be one biased article but on the other end of the stick the opposing side also has there heavily biased articles. You rarely ever get a neutral article. Some simple facts then, When the land was partitioned based on population the Palestinians got a raw deal. They had 2/3rds the pop but got 1/3rd the land.

      • Asher

        untrue. the arabs were already allotted a state in Transjordan, composing 75% of the British Mandate

        • Matthew

          Wrong, The native population from Transjordan and Palestine viewed them selves as separate.

          As such you can not use the argument of a larger area just because they are of the same descent of religion. Looking just at Palestine/Israel the territory broken up clearly favours the Jew’s and persecutes the Palestinians.

          • Guest

            Oh get over yourself, the arabs got fertile land and the Jews got inhospitable desert in the south. considering that a few years before the “palestinian” arabs had identified with syrian nationalism, considering their history of violence and terrorism against the jewish population as far back as the 1920s, and considering their support for the nazi regime*, they did just fine.

          • Asher

            get over yourself. the arabs got fertile land and the Jews got inhospitable desert in the south. considering their history of violence and terrorism against the jewish population as far back as the 1920s, and considering their support for hitler’s regime*, they did just fine.

  • BigsticksWalksoftly

    Another blatant example of chauvinistic, might is right behavior. The misinformation and censorship must STOP! As an American I find it appalling how Palestinians are portrayed as dancing terrorists while the Zionist terrorists continue their occupation. I can’t understand how any law abiding American can support, unconditionally, the acts perpetrated against the indigenous Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Druze innocents in the land of Palestine. I just can’t see how any American who would support this constant destruction against Palestinians; unless you thought slavery was a great idea, or the Jim Crow laws of the South should be brought back, or apartheid in South Africa was a good idea or you approve of how Hitler treated the Jews, Poles, Gypsies, Gays, etc. You don’t solve 1 refugee problem by creating another one!

    • Davillus Hynzerelli

      Oh shuddup, u mutt. Might is right & has always been since the dawn of mankind. Take that big stick out of your4ss tinkerbell.

      • Matthew

        Might is right huh? Right tell me where you want to meet up then mate and we will settle it up on who is right? Wanker likes to act big and tough on the net but in rl you would be a little panzy

        • Davillus Hynzerelli

          That’s my name & my pic is on FB. I’m in S FLA. I’ll meet u in Mizner Park in Boca Raton or I’ll be up in Clearwater in on Feb 5th at Shephard’s tough guy. If you’re in the states punk & want a hard lesson on manners & to sip your food through a straw for a month try me MFer.

          • Matthew

            Big words but thumbs up for accepting the challange, Next question.. Planning to visit Australia any time soon? Aussie boy.. Victoria, Melbourne. 128 Graham st Broadmeadows is my address. Ever make it down this way we can go a few rounds and Ill supply beer after =]

          • Davillus Hynzerelli

            Foolhardy puttin your address on the internet but no worries cuz I worked w/ a cool bloke from Adelaide years ago & we ended up good mates but I never made over there so I doubt I ever will. I’ll raise a pint to u anyways. Cheeeeeeeeeeers,

          • Matthew

            Probably stupid but what the hell, Love how beer can solve half the arguments in life =)

      • BigSticksWalkSoftly

        Unfortunately might is NOT right. Having power and control via violence begets further violence. For example, whether it is child abuse on an individual level, or ethnic cleansing on a societal level. To go along with Matthew, I would rather learn to get along with my neighbors and enjoy my free time at a local bar with a beer, rather then staying away from some bogeyman and surrounding my house with security bars.

    • SMK


  • Davillus Hynzerelli

    The Arab “so-called Palestinians” have NEVER ruled that land. It’s been ruled by Egyptians, Canaanites,Philistines,Israelites,Babylonians, Persians, Greeks,Romans, Byzantines, Sunni & Shia caliphates, Crusaders,Ottomans & finally the British.

  • Davillus Hynzerelli

    Sorry Arab “so-called palestinian” garbage the heebs are running u out of there. GOOD RIDDANCE mooslime scum.

  • Matthew

    Fertile land? Actually if you know anything about the Palestinian territories and Israel you would know that Israel got t he bulk of the fertile lands.. As for violence against the Jewish population should I not point out many of the first attacks in the 1920’s were started by Jewish terrorists and not by the Palestinians?

  • Stop the bs

    I must say that the comments here have a good point- both sides must do more. In communication, education and understanding the other side. BUT I am furious about these maps because they are historically WRONG. You can accuse both sides in many accusations but you can not promote maps that are wrong. There were no changes in the Israel boundaries in 2010 and most important, Palestine was not a country in 1946. Yes, Arabs lived in this land but so as Jews and Christians. Stop being Hippocrates that wants to fight for world piece. Be educated and know the history instead of posting misleading information around the world. The situation is complicated and will never be solved without both sides taking action and stop blaming the other side.

  • Russ Gallegher

    The UN like to say that everyone is a “refugee.” They run a refugee RACKET. Right now they’re trying to cram Europe and the US with millions of military-age Muslim males. They’re all “refugees.” Yeah, right.