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August 31, 2012

Chapel Hill is Latest Town to Be Hit with Anti-Israel Advertisements

A new anti-Israel bus ad campaign was unveiled in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, two weeks ago. The ads are part of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s national “Be on our Side” campaign, which promotes ending U.S. military aid to Israel. They read: “Join with us. Build peace with justice and equality. End U.S. military aid to Israel.”

The ads reportedly appeared on nearly 100 buses in Chapel Hill but have since been taken down by Chapel Hill Transit, the municipal agency that runs the town’s transportation system.

The campaign was sponsored by the Salaam-Shalom group of the Church of Reconciliation, a Presbyterian church in Chapel Hill. The pastor of the church, Mark Davidson, had announced on a strategy call organized by the US Campaign several months ago that the ads were soon scheduled to appear. While the church seems to be the primary sponsor of the ad campaign, other local organizations, including Jews for a Just Peace NC, the North Carolina Chapter of Veterans for Peace and the Coalition of Peace with Justice also helped co-sponsor the ads.

The ads were removed from the buses on August 24 because they violated the transportation agency’s advertising policy, which requires that issue-related advertising contains a disclaimer notifying viewers that the signs are “paid advertising.” Although Davidson has expressed willingness to add such a disclaimer, it is still not certain that the ads will be placed back on the buses.

The Chapel Hill ads are just the latest in a series of anti-Israel billboards and ads that have appeared in cities across the country, including Denver, Detroit and Los Angeles. The most recent billboards in New York featured a misleading series of maps of Israel that attempted to portray how Israel is intentionally swallowing up Palestinian land.

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