"American Muslims for Palestine" launches anti-Israel poster in New York train stations

In the latest public spat over the Middle East conflict, the Americans for Palestine group has launched posters insisting that the US should no longer support Israel

by The Commentator on 26 March 2013 15:49


Campaign and lobby group "American Muslims for Palestine" (AMP) today launched a new outdoor advertising campaign that will begin in 25 stations on the Metro North train line near New York City.

The ad will run for four weeks before moving to other cities around the country. The advert criticises US aid to Israel and uses a quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to imply that Israel is an apartheid state.

AMP however has come under criticism in recent years for a spate of 'radical' behaviour. In 2004, its chairman, Hatem Bazian, praised the “uprising in Iraq” (which was against U.S. soldiers) and the “intifada in Palestine” and said an American intifada is needed to “change fundamentally the political dynamics here.” He boasted, “They’re gonna say some Palestinian [is] being too radical – well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet.”

In 2012, Bazian described the U.S. as a racist country that tries to get “darker people [to] fight our war.”

AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid describes the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas as a form of “legitimate resistance.”

Another board member is Salah Sarsour. His brother was arrested by Israel in 1998 and informed his interrogators that Salah was financing Hamas through the Islamic Association for Palestine and the Holy Land Foundation.

In 2011, Steve Emerson wrote of AMP's 'web of Hamas support'.

"We timed the release of our ads with President 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,” Hatem Bazian, the organization’s chairman, said in a statement on its website. 

The AMP banners are the latest in a series of dueling posters that have been appearing at Metro-North stations since last year.

In one ad produced in September by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, Islam is linked to a rising number of terrorist attacks. The ad declares: "It's not Islamophobia, it's Islamorealism." That prompted community leaders and residents to stage a protest at the White Plains train station.

Public outcry also led the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to change its ad policy and require disclaimers on issue-oriented posters. The disclaimers must state that the MTA does not endorse the opinions in the ad. It must also disclose who paid for it.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said the new ads from the AMP include those disclaimers.

“MTA advertising spaces serve broadly as a vehicle for a wide variety of communications, including, at times, controversial ads that express viewpoints on matters of public concern,” he said in an email statement. “The First Amendment restricts the MTA’s control over the content and timing of the messages expressed in paid advertisements.”

UPDATE: Israel advocacy group StandWithUs has drawn to our attention that the group has countered every negative public advertisement with a positive message about Israel. Their work can be found here.

Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs told The Commentator: "Once again, anti-Israel groups are promoting lies and misinformation, this time in New York."

"They often choose holidays to launch campaigns, as they did this time, because they feel can silence the opposition.  The main point however is that they promote lies like this regularly, regardless of the day. It's like the Nazi, Joseph Goebbels used to say, 'if you repeat a lie often enough it will become the truth'.

"The bottom line is that there is no apartheid, not in Israel and not outside of Israel. Putting up a fence between Israel and the Palestinians is like a fence between any two countries, particularly those at war. Palestinian Arabs living in Israel are involved in all levels of politics and government. Palestinians living outside of Israel are not citizens of Israel and they dont want to be. They have their own government, school system and police force.  

"Placing billboards with misleading messages will not bring peace. People who are concerned about peaceful coexistence should encourage Hamas and Abbas to say yes to peace and stop launching rockets into Israeli schools, stop teaching children to hate and kill Jews, and accept Israel as the Jewish country next door."

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