Anti-Israel Ads At Westchester Train Stations Spark Debate

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Pro-Palestine ads went up at some Metro-North train stations Monday in Westchester County, including White Plains. Photo Credit: Chaya Babu

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Advertisements with a controversial message against U.S. foreign policy toward Israel went up Monday at Metro-North train stations across Westchester County.

In bold letters, the ads say: “Americans Give Israel $3 Billion Per Year! End Apartheid Now! Stop U.S. Aid To Israel.”

American Muslims for Palestine, a grassroots advocacy organization, sponsors the ad. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority makes it clear in a disclaimer on the poster that it does not endorse the views expressed.

Monday’s launch was the start of a nationwide outdoor advertising campaign. The ads, which will appear at 25 stations along the Metro-North lines, will run for four weeks before moving to another metropolitan area elsewhere in the nation.

Commuters in White Plains responded to the appearance of the ads Tuesday.

“There’s a huge population here that’s pro-Israeli, and they might take offense to that and it could be divisive,” Bob Darwish said. “And there are people who believe that this country comes first, saying that this is America, not Israel. The economy is still really bad, and things, priorities, should be recalculated.”

Rasheda Oakman said she doesn’t think the messages foster negative sentiments or controversy.

“I feel like the side that decided to put the ad out seems to care about their opinion more than the other side,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it; I just think if there’s someone out there who supports an issue and has the means to publicize that, then that’s fine.”

In a statement on the website for American Muslims for Palestine, its Chairman Hatem Bazian said, “We timed the release of our ads with President [Barack] Obama’s visit to the Middle East to underscore his administration’s failure to address the true cause of conflict: Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and its racist apartheid policies, which subject Palestinians on a daily basis to humiliation, deprivation and a loss of their basic rights, including the freedom of movement.”

The poster also quotes Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu as saying: “I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.”

Scott Richman, regional director of AJC Westchester, a Jewish advocacy group, told The Journal News that the ads are "completely false."

“It’s an attempt to demonize Israel, linking it to the terrible apartheid regime that existed in South Africa,” he said. “It’s a ridiculous allegation. With apartheid in South Africa, blacks were not citizens and could not vote. In Israel, Palestinians constitute 20 percent of the population. They are full citizens.”

This is not the first time that advertisements at Metro-North stations have included potentially incendiary messages. Last August, a billboard that said, “19,250 Islamic Attacks since 9/11, It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism” stirred up controversy after it appeared at the Hastings train station.

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Comments (10)

Putnam 1955:

Let's see what happens if an anti-Islam billboard goes up. Let's see how tolerant of free speech the Islamo-fascists are. Just like they were with Theo Van Gogh, Lars Hedegaard and Geert Wilders who is now marked for death. People need to understand that Islam is mostly a political system pretending to be a religion. They hate gays whom they believe are "unclean" and women are less than second class citizens who must be subservient to men. Theo Van Gogh was slaughtered on the streets of the Netherlands, like an animal simply for criticizing Islam. Stop pretending that the problem is Israel.

one unusual guy:

You are aware that Israel keeps annexing Palestinian land for radical Jewish settlers. There is this mind set that Israel is always 100% right and Palestinians are always 100% wrong. Since 9/11, apparently no Muslim group has any legitimate complaints about anything. Flies in the face of reality.

kaceboy:

Israel did not attack the USA and kill 3000 innocent people whose only mistake was that they did not call in sick on 9/11. Also, Israel is our only ally in that area of the world. The need for their support is greater now than ever before. That were given that land after WW2. Read the Balfour Declaration. Why shouldn't the Jews have a homeland?

Kyle Scott:

We never got the full story of the attack on the US Navy ship Liberty by Israel. Only ally in that part of the world? I'll be your friend for billions a year. The only other religion to have a "homeland" is the one that is in Vatican City.

kaceboy:

Billions for National Security is better spent than billions for entitlement programs which have always been a failure. Vatican City is not a homeland for Catholics. Why can't Israelites have a homeland?

Kyle Scott:

Atheists have no homeland. Same for Buddhists, Lutherans and Hindus among others. There are places that are predominantly Hindu (India) but it isn't the Hindu homeland. In 1948, people were kicked out of their homes to make room for this homeland. Some of those are still alive and there's no wonder why they and their descendants aren't happy about it. That's why there shouldn't be an Israel and the way it was implemented was terrible. I'll put the question to you that nobody has been able to answer for me-why should there be an Israel?

kaceboy:

They should have a homeland because so many were displaced after WW2. There were refugees from the death camps. Here's a question that nobody can answer for me. Where should they have gone? Why NOT Israel?

Kyle Scott:

If that's the rationale for having Israel, why didn't it get placed in German territory? The Palestinians didn't have anything to do with the death camps but lost their space because the Germans did. They're paying for what someone else did. Can't you see why they should be upset?

brian.vaughn.777:

Unfortunately, "free speech" means sometimes seeing or hearing speech you disagree with. I don't like it, but the ads should stay up.

bill10526:

The biggest impediment to the eradication of polio from this world comes from imams. 9/11 and other horrific acts of terror - radical Muslims. I know where the the billboards belong.

Sadly, our president, through his association with Columbia University, took into his heart the Palestinian world view. In his recent address in Israel, he asked Israelis to walk in the shoes of the Palestinians who, like them, dream of a home land. The homeland in their dreams encompasses a land that is now Israel. If one walks in their shoes he would bomb pizza parlors.

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