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Why Were these Billboards to End Aid to Israel Torn Down in L.A.?

July 5, 2012

This article is re-posted from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

As we mark our country’s independence today, we recall the ringing, aspirational words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” that all people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The long struggle for equality in the United States isn’t over.  As we continue to struggle today for equality here, our country’s $30 billion in military assistance and our invaluable diplomatic support for Israeli occupation and apartheid denies Palestinians that same equality, the very principle on which our country was founded.

A few weeks ago, the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, a member group of the US Campaign, drew attention to how our taxes bankroll Israel’s inequality toward Palestinians. They erected 23 billboards in the Los Angeles area to tell Congress to end aid to Israel.

Guess what? Almost as soon as the billboards went up, the billboard company—CBS Outdoor—took them down.

Why? Could it have been for the laughable reason that CBS Outdoor provided for breaking the contract, which was that we, along with the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, set up a petition to thank them for running these ads? Doubtful.

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the Anti-Defamation League didn’t take a shine to the ads? Or, maybe, it was because Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) complained about them in a press release?

Berman, who seems to have had no more important matter to take care of, such as helping to solve the national economic crisis or ending the war in Afghanistan, was agitated because he “must drive past” the billboards “every morning.” And, as Berman noted, he believes that he was elected to Congress by his constituents “in large part to fight for a stronger U.S.-Israel relationship. This has been, and will continue to be one [of] my top legislative priorities in Congress.”

Really, Rep. Berman? According to our website, your constituents are paying nearly $57 million of their hard-earned tax dollars from 2009 to 2018 to bankroll Israel’s illegal military occupation. We’re betting that you didn’t ask the 20 percent of families with children living below the poverty line in your district whether they sent you to Congress to fund the Israeli military?

From now until July 9, which is the seventh anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and corporations that profit from its oppression of Palestinians, help us collect 10,000 signatures to deliver to Rep. Berman letting him know that you support sanctions against Israel, including ending U.S. military aid.

This is not just another lame internet petition that won’t go anywhere. We deliver our petitions to their intended targets and put effective political pressure on them. Just last week, we organized a delegation to the State Department headed by Sandra Tamari, a Palestinian-American, who was discriminated against both by Israel and the United States when she was recently denied entry at Ben-Gurion airport.

Together with member groups Jewish Voice for Peace, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, and our friends at the Arab American Institute, we delivered more than 17,000 signaturesto the State Department protesting U.S. and Israeli discriminatory policies.  Check out the video from Palestine Studies TV as Sandra discusses our meeting with the State Department.

We’ve got a creative delivery planned for these petitions to Rep. Berman on July 9, but only if we have enough signatures to really show our strength. Help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures by signing today, and then forwarding it to all your friends, and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter.

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