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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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August 31, 2012 0

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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June 15, 2012 5

Anti-Israel Billboard Campaign Hits Los Angeles

A Bill­board Dis­played in Los Angeles

Update: As of June 24th, CBS Out­door adver­tis­ing took down the 23 anti-Israel bill­boards because the Coali­tion to Stop 30 Bil­lion to Israel used the ‘CBS Out­door’ name in their pub­li­ca­tions with­out per­mis­sion. Nonethe­less, the group said, “we hope to con­tinue our L.A. cam­paign, but regard­less we will be look­ing at other cities to con­tinue this impor­tant work in the future.”

In a con­tin­ued effort to mar­gin­al­ize Israel through adver­tise­ments, a new bill­board cam­paign was launched in Los Ange­les this week by the anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion “Coali­tion to Stop $30 Bil­lion to Israel.”

Accord­ing to a press release issued by the US Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occu­pa­tion, there will be 23 bill­boards dis­played in the Los Ange­les area that read, “Tell Con­gress: Spend Our Money at Home, Not on the Israeli Military.”

The US Campaign’s press release asserts that the “Israel lobby” might try to put an end to the cam­paign, but that sup­port­ers of the bill­boards’ mes­sage “can­not allow them to sti­fle dialogue.”

U.S. aid to Israel is crit­i­cal for Israel, but it is crit­i­cal for the U.S. as well. Israel is required to spend most of the aid on American-made prod­ucts and mil­i­tary equip­ment, which ben­e­fits the Amer­i­can econ­omy. In addi­tion, the U.S. gov­ern­ment rightly con­sid­ers pro­vid­ing a key ally in the region with aid to be in its own best interests.

The Coali­tion to Stop $30 Bil­lion to Israel was first cre­ated in 2009 in New Mex­ico. The group has been respon­si­ble for anti-Israel bill­boards and ads in Albu­querque, Seat­tle and, most recently, Den­ver.

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