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Countering Subliminal Anti-Israel Messaging on the Run

StandWithUs is countering the anti-Israel billboards that have appeared at Metro-North stations with ads portraying positive side of Israel.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 7/17/2012, 9:01 AM

commuters
commuters
Reuters

StandWithUs (SWU), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to informing the public about Israel and combating anti-Semitism, is countering the anti-Israel billboards that have been posted at ten Metro-North stations with their own billboards portraying Israel's achievements and desire for peace.

The anti-Israel billboards, which first appeared last week at the Chappaqua, New York Train Station, is titled “Palestinian Loss of Land- 1946 to 2010” and attempts to showcase that the expansion of the Jewish state is achieved at the expense of the ‘Palestinians.’

StandWithUs, however, is set to combat this lie by placing at least 50 pro-Israel ads in similar locations. They organization is in the process of refining their messaging with CBS Outdoors and will soon release a photo of the billboards, according to a Scarsdale website.

The organization countered 25 anti-Israel ads in New York's subway system with 25 ads in September of last year that informed the public that “Israel Needs a Partner for Peace.”

In 2007 and 2009, SWU ads appeared in Washington, DC, Albuquerque and Houston, with the message, "Teach Peace, Not Hate."

In 2010 SWU, together with other groups, successfully persuaded Seattle's Metro to reject proposed ads with inflammatory, anti-Israel accusations.

The anti-Israel billboards have received a great deal of attention.

Assembly member Robert Castelli (R, C - Goldens Bridge) was quick to call the billboard "anti-Israeli" and asked Metro-North President Howard Permut to remove it immediately, according to the Chappaqua Daily Voice.

"I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment right of free speech in the Constitution, and certainly a proponent that the people of Israel and Palestine should live in harmony together," Castelli said. "However, the subliminal message that this particular billboard carries is an anti-Israeli message that I believe has just the opposite effect of creating peace and harmony between the Israeli and Palestinian people." 

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely complex and cannot be summarized in a series of four maps," said Ron Meier, ADL New York Regional Director in a statement.

Commuters at the station have offered "feedback" to the ads, as well, with one saying, the ads should be removed, as she believes they “encourage hate crimes."