DENVER (CBS4) – New advertisements on Regional Transportation District buses in Denver are stirring up a lot of controversy because some people believe the ads take things too far.

The ads are currently on RTD mall buses and light rail trains. They depict a young Palestinian by an Israeli tank with the message, “Stop ethnic cleansing in Palestine.”

It’s an emotional topic with strong opinions.

“I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that,” Joe Garcia said.

Garcia says he’s not offended by the ads, but doesn’t feel they have a place in Denver or the United States.

The group behind the message called “No Tax Dollars To Israel” says the timing of the ads are no coincidence as many Jewish people recently came to Denver for the Jewish National Fund Conference last weekend. The group says they want Jews to see the ads.

“A lot of people don’t realize the price that Palestinians are paying and for Israel’s policies,” Paul Larduee with No Tax Dollars To Israel said. “This is not the picture people have of what’s happening there, and we felt it was important for that narrative to be out there.”

Ahmed Esmaeili, a Muslim, says we live in a free county and have the right to express opinion, but believes the ads are targeting hatred.

“I have a background from Muslim countries and I had a chance to speak with these people for a long time, and I know the idea, but it doesn’t mean that I have to believe them,” Esmaeili said.

The Anti-Defamation League, a national civil rights group, says the ads are misleading and terribly out of context. They say that nobody has ever alleged that there’s been ethnic cleansing in and around Israel and Palestine. They say ethnic cleansing brings to mind mass murders and rapes.

“Maybe your exploiting something that a very difficult and tough subject for both the Palestinian and Jewish people,” Garcia said.

The ads will run through Nov. 11.


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