Anti-Balfour taxi campaign ‘breaches rules’, says Transport for London

TfL says black cabs sporting "Make It Right" ads are unfit to hire passengers until wording is removed


London taxis displaying adverts which highlight Palestinian objections to Balfour Declaration and celebrations around its centenary breach official policy and are “deeply offensive” to the Jewish community, Transport for London has confirmed.

Activists had launched a “make it right” campaign in which 52 black cabs displayed a logo to “raise awareness about the consequences of the Balfour Declaration which subsequently led to the forced expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948”.

The campaign, commissioned by the Palestinian Mission to the UK, earlier saw adverts displayed at underground stations and on buses in the run-up to the anniversary.

In a letter seen by the JC, Claire Alabdalla, TfL’s customer services adviser, confirmed that black cabs carrying the adverts were deemed to be “unfit” to hire passengers.

Ms Alabdalla 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.”

One Jewish cab driver, Nick, from Chigwell, told the JC:"I whole-heartedly welcome this decision by TfL.

"As far as I am concerned these anti-Balfour ads 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."

The earlier tube campaign was also rejected by TfL because of a breach on “matters of public controversy or sensitivity”.

But it was believed that the black taxi campaign would be allowed to proceed because they the vehicles are subject to less stringent advertising rules.

The taxis were expected to drive around events organised by those celebrating the centenary, including Christian Zionists, who are organising a rally at the Albert Hall.



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