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July 11, 2012

New Biased Billboard Campaign in Westchester

Several misleading billboards featuring maps of Palestine/Israel from 1946-2010 sponsored by a local anti-Israel group are currently on display in Metro-North train stations in Westchester.

The billboard at a Metro-North train station  

The billboards attempt to showcase 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 in Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut.

They also try to convey that Israel is rapidly taking control of land that would comprise an eventual Palestinian state. ADL issued a statement on the billboards, describing them as “deliberately misleading and biased.”   

The group that placed the ad, the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine (COPIP), and its chairman, Henry Clifford, have a record of advocating against Israel. The group, for example, recently endorsed the Jewish Voice for Peace-led divestment campaign targeting TIAA-CREF for investing in companies that allegedly help Israel maintain the occupation.

In the past, Clifford has inflammatorily alleged that Israeli leaders have “always planned to take over all or most Palestine and to expel as many Arabs as would be necessary.”

What is perhaps most troubling is the group’s attempt to explain Palestinian terrorism as a result of Israeli policy or U.S. aid to Israel. A post on COPIP’s blog from May 2011 includes a flier that reads, “Mothers do not raise their children to be terrorists. Only when all hope is lost for a decent, secure life is a terrorist created.” It later asks, “Could it be that billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Israel is actually helping to create terrorists?”

COPIP is a member group of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a large anti-Israel coalition based in Washington, D.C.

In the past year, anti-Israel billboards have appeared in several cities across the country, including Denver, Detroit and, most recently, Los Angeles.

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