Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Boycott Israel" bus advertisement is back in the news:

Some of the public is commenting on the fact that AATA Board Chairman Bernstein is a board member of
Michigan Israel Business Bridge--

"AATA Preps Stage for Future Transit Choice"
ANN ARBOR CHRONICLE (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
December 26, 2011

'...Comm/Comm: Bus Advertisement Lawsuit

'By way of background, the AATA currently faces a lawsuit over its rejection of a proposed advertisement that included the text, “Boycott ‘Israel’ Boycott Apartheid.” [For a detailed account, see Chronicle coverage: "Bus Ad Rejection Affirmed"]

'Before approaching the podium, Henry Herskovitz asked if it was appropriate to speak to the lawsuit that had been filed against the AATA about the rejection of a bus advertisement. Herskovitz noted that public speaking at the start of the meeting is intended to be limited to agenda items, and while the lawsuit was not an agenda item, it was included as part of the meeting minutes that were in the board’s information packet for that evening’s meeting. Board chair Jesse Bernstein told Herskovitz it was fine for him to speak on that topic.

'Herskovitz introduced himself as a taxpaying supporter of AATA and a frequent rider. Three board members had conflicts of interest, he contended, in making a decision to reject the advertisement. He emphasized that he supported the right of anyone to join any group they like. However, he said it merits pointing out that Bernstein is a board member of Michigan Israel Business Bridge. MIBB is a nonprofit created “to facilitate business and investment opportunities between Michigan and Israel for their mutual economic benefit.”

'Herskovitz contended that a second conflict was the fact that Jerry Lax is legal counsel for the AATA and also a member of the Jewish Federation of Ann Arbor. Board member David Nacht is member and supporter of the Anti-Defamation League, he said. [Nacht's profile on Linked In also lists membership in the American Civil Liberties Union, the group that is providing legal counsel for the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the AATA over the bus advertisement.]

'The three men, Herskovitz said, support the State of Israel – they’re free to do that. But they had a conflict of interest when polled for their vote on the ad – an ad that was critical of the state of Israel, which they support, he said....'


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