he NYPD ramped up security at 10 subway stations yesterday after the MTA was forced to install a controversial ad campaign branding enemies of Israel “savages,” sources told The Post.
The 46- by 30-inch ads – which the MTA unsuccessfully tried to block – were pasted into subway walls throughout the day in heavily trafficked areas such as Grand Central Station and Times Square.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a pro-Israel group spearheaded by activist Pamela Geller, paid $36,000 for 30 days of ad space.
Straphangers of all religious backgrounds blasted the ads.
“I’m appalled at the fact they can use the term ‘savage’ so easily, categorize the whole Muslim world under the word ‘savage,’ ” said Javerea Khan, 22, a Bronx Muslim.
She called the ads a “slap in the face to all Muslims.”
“It’s disheartening something like this would actually go up.”
And Rebecca Klinger, who is Jewish and has lived in Israel, called the ads “contrary to Jewish teachings and Jewish philosophies.”
“I find it appalling that anyone claim[ing] to be pro-Israel would suggest some human beings are savage and less than human. The Nazis tried to do the same thing to the Jews, to make them seem less than human,” she said.
Riders also said the ads make them fear for their safety, because the subways have long been pegged as a terrorism target and because of the violent protests in the Middle East over a low-budget anti-Muslim movie.
“I think it’s dangerous. There are people who will take it to the next level,” said Joanne Behan, a regular subway rider from Brooklyn.
“Some people believe that Americans are against Muslims and this can add to that. I don’t think they should be up.”
The NYPD quietly increased its presence at the stations with the ads – which include 28th Street on the 6 line and 34th Street on the 1 line, sources said.
Those stations will undergo extra scrutiny from transit police and beat cops alike, both underground and on street level, the sources said.
But NYPD spokesman Paul Browne insisted there would be no change “in security, posture or staffing because of the ads.”
Vandals already tore down one ad at the 72nd Street 1 train station just hours after it was hung.
While some riders found the ads offensive, they conceded it’s protected speech.
“It’s the language of war. Ads like this are divisive and propaganda,” said Cyrus McGoldrick, a Muslim and director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
But he did say he believed Geller’s group is protected under the First Amendment.
Geller was adamant there was nothing wrong with the ads. “Anyone who kills innocent civilians, it’s savagery,” she said.
The MTA initially refused to run the ads, citing “demeaning language.”
Geller sued in federal court and won on First Amendment grounds.
She added she might make one change if she had to do it again.
“I might change ‘support Israel’ to ‘defend America,’ ” she said.
Source: The NY Post