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April 15, 2013 2

Anti-Israel Organizations Attack Israel with Tax Day-Themed Campaigns

Today, April 15, is “Tax Day,” the date by which all Amer­i­cans are required to sub­mit their tax returns to the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS). While it is an appro­pri­ate day to spend a few min­utes think­ing about what our gov­ern­ment spends our tax dol­lars on, there are sev­eral anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions that are cap­i­tal­iz­ing on today’s dead­line to ini­ti­ate cam­paigns about what the U.S. gov­ern­ment should not spend its money on: aid to Israel.

In the past week, two promi­nent anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions have launched a new web­site and a new report call­ing for an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Although a pri­or­ity that has long been at the fore­front of the domes­tic anti-Israel movement’s agenda, it has picked up steam in recent years due to eco­nomic con­cerns caused by the Great Reces­sion, seques­tra­tion and bud­get deficits.

The first cam­paign, titled “Demand a Refund,” was ini­ti­ated by the US Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occu­pa­tion in coor­di­na­tion with Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, Jew­ish Voice for Peace, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Com­mit­tee (ADC) and CODEPINK. The campaign’s web­site fea­tures a peti­tion from tax­pay­ers to Pres­i­dent Obama which reads, in part, “As a tax­payer, I am out­raged that your admin­is­tra­tion is report­edly open­ing nego­ti­a­tions to give Israel up to $40 bil­lion in U.S. taxpayer-financed weapons,” an appar­ent ref­er­ence to defense weaponry and tech­nol­ogy that the U.S. sells to Israel.

The peti­tion claims that Israel uses Amer­i­can weapons to “com­mit sys­tem­atic human rights abuses” and “oppress Pales­tini­ans.” It also crit­i­cizes Pres­i­dent Obama for increas­ing the amount of aid to Israel dur­ing his admin­is­tra­tion. The orga­niz­ers of the peti­tion hoped to gain 10,000 sig­na­tures by today (the cam­paign was launched last week). At present there are a lit­tle more than 3,000 signatories.

And just last week, the anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion If Amer­i­cans Knew (IAK) released a new report titled “The Stag­ger­ing Cost of Israel to Amer­i­cans” to coin­cide with Tax Day. Orig­i­nally pub­lished in 1998, the new ver­sion of the report was writ­ten by Pamela Olson, a new ana­lyst for IAK.

Although the report makes sim­i­lar alle­ga­tions to the anti-aid peti­tion high­lighted above – not­ing, for exam­ple, that “it is crit­i­cal to exam­ine why we lav­ish so much aid on Israel” – the lan­guage cited in this report is far more egre­gious. It claims that U.S. aid to Israel is a result of the “Israel lobby” and insists that the U.S.-Israel rela­tion­ship harms the U.S. because Israel causes “rage and resent­ment among bil­lions of peo­ple… and sells America’s mil­i­tary secrets to its enemies.”

In its men­tion of the “Israel lobby,” the report goes so far as to allege that the U.S. and Israel do not enjoy a strong rela­tion­ship because of shared val­ues or inter­ests but because “Con­gress­men receive pay­ments and sup­port from the lobby in exchange for their loy­alty.” The report also asserts that U.S. aid to Israel makes the pos­si­bil­ity for peace between Israel and the Pales­tini­ans “even more distant.”

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December 12, 2012 9

New Anti-Israel Ad Hits The New York Times

A bla­tantly mis­lead­ing and anti-Israel adver­tise­ment appeared in the national sec­tion of The New York Times today. The ad, which attempts to show that much of Pales­tin­ian land has dis­ap­peared since 1946, was spon­sored by the Com­mit­tee for Peace in Israel and Pales­tine (COPIP) and If Amer­i­cans Knew, a vir­u­lently anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion run by a for­mer jour­nal­ist named Ali­son Weir.

The half-page color ad is iden­ti­cal to a series of bill­boards that appeared at MetroNorth sta­tions in Westch­ester over the summer.

The ad’s attempt to boil down what is an extremely com­plex con­flict into four sim­ple maps with dif­fer­ently shaded regions appears to be a delib­er­ate attempt to demo­nize Israel and place the entire onus of respon­si­bil­ity for the con­flict on the Jew­ish state. The first map is par­tic­u­larly egre­gious: It seems to depict that all of Israel was owned by Pales­tini­ans pre-1948 when, in real­ity, much of the land was owned by non-Palestinian absen­tee land­lords who lived else­where in the Mid­dle East, includ­ing Cairo, Bagh­dad, Dam­as­cus and Beirut. The ad also ignores the his­toric Jew­ish con­nec­tion, phys­i­cal and spir­i­tual, to the land of Israel.

The MetroNorth ads were spon­sored by COPIP’s chair­man, Henry Clif­ford. This lat­est ad is co-sponsored by Clifford/COPIP and Weir, who has pre­vi­ously spon­sored anti-Israel ads and bill­boards with dif­fer­ent themes else­where across the coun­try. In fact, Weir sent an e-mail to her sup­port­ers yes­ter­day announc­ing that her organization’s cam­paign to end U.S. mil­i­tary aid to Israel, called “Stop the Blank Check,” plans to launch addi­tional anti-Israel bill­boards and news­pa­per ads across the United States.

Bill­boards and pub­licly placed adver­tise­ments have become a more pop­u­lar tool used by the anti-Israel move­ment in the past year. Anti-Israel bill­boards have appeared in Den­ver, Detroit and Los Ange­les since last March.

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March 14, 2012 12

Anti-Israel Billboards Surface in Denver and Detroit

Pay much atten­tion to the bill­boards you see on the high­way? Well, some anti-Israel groups in the United States are bet­ting you do and pay­ing to adver­tise their mes­sage on promi­nent billboards.

Last week, three anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions  – If Amer­i­can Knew, Deir Yassin Remem­bered and Jew­ish Wit­nesses for Peace and Friends – responded to a pro-Israel bill­board in Detroit by secur­ing bill­board space of their own with the mes­sage, “$8 million/ Day to Israel? Our money is needed in Amer­ica!” Another bill­board that recently appeared in Den­ver read, “Tell Con­gress: Spend Our Money at Home Not on the Israeli Mil­i­tary.” The Den­ver bill­board was paid for by the Coali­tion to Stop $30 Bil­lion, a New Mexico-based group that first dis­played a sim­i­lar mes­sage on a bill­board in Albu­querque in 2009.

In addi­tion to these new bill­boards, anti-Israel signs and adver­tise­ments have reg­u­larly appeared  on buses and sub­ways in large met­ro­pol­i­tan areas since 2010, includ­ing New York City, Wash­ing­ton, D.C., San Fran­cisco and Chicago. The ads, which call for an “End [to] U.S. mil­i­tary aid to Israel,” were orga­nized by a coali­tion of national anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions oper­at­ing under the umbrella of a cam­paign called “Be On Our Side.”

It seems likely that the activists pay­ing for and plac­ing these ads are newly opti­mistic that their mes­sage will res­onate in light of the frag­ile state of the U.S. econ­omy and the national debt. The Coali­tion to Stop $30 Bil­lion, for exam­ple, explains: “All this money is flow­ing away while Amer­ica is suf­fer­ing the worst finan­cial col­lapse since the Great Depression.”

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