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TRANSPORT FOR London (TfL) has ruled that a taxi advert campaign featuring posters highlighting the objections of Palestinian groups to the 100 year anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration breaches the rules of the licensing authority.

Lobbyists launched a “make it right” campaign  with 52 black cabs with a logo to: “Raise awareness about the consequences of the Balfour Declaration which subsequently led to the forced expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.”

In a letter seen by the Jewish Chronicle, a female TfL customer service assistant said the hackney carriages which carried the adverts were, “unfit” to hire passengers.

The licensing authority employee wrote:

This signage is not authorised by TfL and breaches our policies regarding advertisements on taxis licensed by us. Political statements of this nature are never acceptable. Our licensed taxi drivers have a duty to be seen as politically neutral at all times.

“Also, as part of the terms and conditions of a taxi owner or driver’s licence, he or she must act, ‘To promote good relations between persons of different racial groups, religious beliefs and sexual orientation.

“I have seen the ‘Make it Right’ advertisement you’re referring to, as it’s already been reported to us. Taxis found to be displaying this signage are liable to be issued with ‘unfit’ notices by our compliance officers, which means they cannot be used to ply for hire again until the offending advertisement has been removed.”

Taxi-in-PiccadillyNick, a Jewish black cab driver, told the Jewish Chronicle:

I wholeheartedly welcome this decision by TfL. As far as I am concerned, these anti-Balfour adverts represent yet another attempt to deny the Jewish people their right to a homeland in the state of Israel. These ads are, as TfL confirm, deeply offensive to the entire Jewish community.

A spokesman for the Palestinian Mission UK said: “We are deeply disappointed that TfL refused to run our modest advocacy campaign which aimed to raise awareness among the British public about the way the Balfour Declaration affected the Palestinian people.

“It was appropriate and timely to run this campaign as we mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which was instrumental in the forced expulsion of the Palestinians from Palestine who made up 90 per cent of the population in 1917.

“There would be no better way to mark the centenary than for the British government to formally recognize the State of Palestine, pressure Israel to end its occupation and the building of settlements and guarantee Palestinians their basic rights and self-determination.”

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PHC Magazine

PHC Magazine