Students protest controversial ads

    A series of advertisements for Campustruth.org, which have been taken out in college papers nationwide, have added further angst to already tenuous feelings regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have led several papers to discontinue running the advertisements, including the UCSD Guardian.

    One version of the ad depicts an athlete standing before an Israeli flag as a hero to Israeli children juxtaposed with a suicide bomber standing before an assault rifle as a hero to Palestinian children. Another version pictures Israelis mourning on Sept. 11 juxtaposed with armed Palestinians celebrating the attacks.

    At UCSD, members of Students for Justice displayed several examples of the Campustruth.org advertisements that ran in the Guardian during their biweekly Library Walk tabling on April 10.

    Members of the organization said they felt the advertisements were one-sided, misleading and promote hate on campus.

    “”It’s perpetuating stereotypes, it’s inciting hate on this campus, and I think it’s completely ridiculous,”” said Students for Justice member and Eleanor Roosevelt College freshman Zeina Saab. “”They do have their freedom of speech, but where do you say the line is drawn? Where can you say that this is going to cause harm to people?””

    Loris Elqura, also a member of Students for Justice and a senior at Revelle College, said the advertisements draw attention to violence rather than peace.

    “”Palestinians and Israelis want to coexist,”” she said. “”They want to live in peace. People don’t know that because the whole media centers on stuff like [terrorist acts and military action].””

    The Guardian, which began running the advertisements in late February, decided to discontinue running further advertisements after the April 7 issue. Michael Foulks, the Guardian Advertising Manager, said the decision was due to both internal and external opinion and follows the policy of the paper, which reserves the right to refuse advertising material containing obscene, sexist, racist or “”other materials deemed inappropriate.””

    “”I think it was a critical mass, realizing that all four ads — taking the campaign as a whole in account — there seemed to be no virtue to be had other than to attack a people,”” Foulks said.

    The advertiser, One Truth Foundation, will be refunded for the advertisements that were discontinued, according to Foulks.

    “”We want to encourage anyone’s free speech unless it’s purely offensive and has no other virtue than to be offensive and try and incite negativity,”” Foulks said.

    Foulks said that due to a recent decision by the editors, the business staff makes the final decision on whether or not to run advertisements that may contain controversial material.

    “”I’m delighted that finally, after literally weeks, someone came in and made us look closer at the matter, and I think that we made the right decision,”” he said.

    At the University of Michigan, the Michigan Daily ran 10 of the advertisements in October 2002. The paper reported on April 3 that they would continue running future Campustruth.org advertisements, although several of the ads would no longer run and each new ad would be approved on a case-by-case basis.

    The University of Chicago’s Chicago Maroon printed apologies to its readers, but decided to discontinue the advertisements.

    The Daily Illini at the University of Illinois decided to continue running the advertisements despite campus protests.

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