6 caught hanging anti-Bush banners

Posters in Jerusalem show US president in kaffiyeh; Ben-Gvir: "Free speech isn't just for lefties."

Anti Bush Poster (photo credit: )
Anti Bush Poster
(photo credit: )
Jerusalem police on Tuesday arrested six far-right activists who were putting up "incendiary" posters depicting US President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres wearing traditional Arab headdresses, police said. The six, two minors and four adults, told police that they had been paid to put up the posters by a far-right activist, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. The posters, which label the three leaders "accomplices to terror" over the image of a US flag, were put up in anticipation of Bush's Wednesday arrival in Jerusalem. The six suspects were nabbed "red-handed" overnight at the entrance to the city and on Hebron Road, the police said. Two of the suspects were subsequently released by a Jerusalem court on the grounds of freedom of speech. The judge said that depicting a person wearing a keffiyeh did not constitute a racist act, and merely testified to the authors' lack of taste. The four remaining suspects were later released by police following the court's decision. Earlier, far-right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir was detained for questioning for allegedly paying the group to put up the posters. All six are suspected of affiliation with Ben-Gvir's ultra-nationalist organization. Ben-Gvir called the posters "legal" and said they fell within the realm of freedom of expression. He added that police should learn that freedom of speech did not apply only to leftists. The Justice Ministry has previously ruled that similar posters of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin dressed in a keffiyeh did not constitute incitement. Meanwhile, also in anticipation of Bush's visit, thousands of people formed a human chain around the walls of Jerusalem's Old City to protest any future division of the city. Later in the evening, about 500 people demonstrated at the entrance to the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, where a recent expansion plan sparked international condemnation. The protesters planned to head to various West Bank outposts after the demonstration.