A federal judge says a pro-Israel advocacy group known for publicly criticizing Islam can display its political advertisement containing the phrase "Hamas Killing Jews" on New York City's buses.

Judge John Koeltl (KOHT'-uhl) said in a decision made public Tuesday that the advertisement is protected speech. The judge said he was sensitive to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's claim that the ad could incite violence. But he noted that substantially the same advertisement ran in San Francisco and Chicago in 2013 without incident.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed last year by the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said the agency is disappointed in the ruling and is reviewing its options.

The judge suspended the effect of his order for a month to leave time for appeals.