(Editor's Note: Below is a letter that Assemblyman Robert Castelli wrote to Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut regarding a controversial ad about changes to Israeli and Palestinians lands that has been placed in several stations. The places where the ad appears include the Chappaqua and Mount Kisco stations. To learn more, )
I am writing you relative to a billboard which has appeared at Metro-North Stations recently, that relates to Israel and Palestine.
While this billboard has been placed by an organization calling itself the “Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine” (COPIP), and there is no offensive language on the message, I submit to you that by its very nature, it is inflammatory and directs a negative message towards the State of Israel and her people.
I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment right of free speech in the Constitution, and certainly a proponent that the people of Israel and Palestine should live in harmony together.
However, the subliminal message that this particular billboard carries is an anti-Israeli message that I believe has just the opposite effect of creating peace and harmony between the Israeli and Palestinian people. I therefore believe that it would be in the best interest of our communities to remove the billboard, for the sake of peace and harmony in our community.
Therefore, I respectfully request that you consider, out of respect for the many Jewish members of our community, and people of Israeli origin living in our community, the prudence of removing this, post-haste.
I have forwarded, along with a photograph of the billboard, a background letter from the Anti-Defamation League, which I believe you should read thoroughly when considering what your options are in this case.
You have always been very receptive in the past. I hope this matter can be resolved quickly. Should you wish to discuss this matter with me further, I am, as always, at your disposal.
ROBERT J. CASTELLI
Member of Assembly