Left-wing ads on J’lem blocked from Egged buses

Controversial message would lead to vandalism, agency says.

egged bus 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
egged bus 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The company that sells advertising on Egged buses canceled an ad campaign by the non-profit organization left-wing Ir Amim about east Jerusalem because it was “too sensitive,” The Jerusalem Post learned on Tuesday.
The advertisements were based on an Israeli version of the popular children’s song “The Wheels on the Bus,” with rhyming verses about the driver taking them to neighborhoods like Silwan or Issawiya.
“The point was just to make people think about what it means to have a united Jerusalem,” said Ir Amim spokeswoman Orly Noy. “The campaign was directed at Jerusalemites, because you ride the bus every day but you’d never think of taking a bus to Issawiya,” she said.
The campaign was two-part: A few weeks after the advertisements using the children’s song about the bus driver began appearing, new ads would identify Ir Amim as the sponsor, with the words “If these neighborhoods do not appear on your map, they’re probably not part of our city.”
The content and graphics had already been approved and the campaign was supposed to be advertised on 40 lines starting Saturday night, after Yom Kippur.
But on Friday afternoon, Ir Amim received notice from the Cnaan Advertising Agency, which was places ads on Egged buses, that it would not run the campaign.
“After receiving the graphics and message of the campaign, the campaign is not being authorized by our company due to its sensitivity,” Cnaan wrote in its decision. “From our previous experience, that kind of campaign leads to those ads and the buses are being vandalized, and we want to avoid that.”
Cnaan Advertising refused to comment on the matter. Cnaan has sold advertising on Egged buses for the past seven years.
Noy pointed out that Egged buses regularly feature advertisements from rightwing groups like the Yesha Council and Elad, which manages the City of David.
“It says something very, very problematic about Israeli democracy and freedom of speech and the right to have a different opinion,” said Noy. “It’s impossible to handle public discourse if one side is being repeatedly silenced by the bullies and the violence.”
Ir Amim is considering appealing Cnaan’s decision within the company.