A group of Palestinian activists have paid for New York subway ads calling for an end to “Israeli Apartheid” and asking the US to stop providing foreign assistance to Israel. The ads have sparked outrage of Jewish groups, but will remain for four weeks.
The ads went up in the beginning of Passover, a sacred Jewish holiday that began last week. Paid for by the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the ads depict the silhouette of a defenseless Palestinian child who is taken hostage by a large Israeli soldier – even though the scene takes place on Palestinian ground. The organization claims this image is based on an actual photograph.
In blood-red sky that also makes up part of the Palestinian flag is a quote by Nobel Piece Prize winning South African activist, Desmond Tutu.
“I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land,” the quote reads. “It reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.”
By comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa, the ad has outraged both US and foreign-based Jewish groups who feel offended by the harsh accusations and outraged that they were posted on Passover.
“While Americans certainly have a right to free speech and advocacy, the abhorrent allegation of apartheid is both factually incorrect and morally reprehensible,” Geri Palast, managing director of the Israel Action Network, told the Jerusalem Post. “Israel is a democracy that includes rights for all citizens from all origins.”
The South African policy of apartheid (“separateness”) legally enforced racial segregation between blacks and whites both economically and socially to maintain ‘white supremacy’. The Anti-Defamation League, which works to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, told the Jerusalem Post that the organization was “deeply disturbed” by the comparison that the ad makes.
“Their ad campaign ignores the complicated nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is part of the campaign to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state,” the organization said in a statement. “It shows a profound lack of sensitivity that they chose the first day of the Jewish holiday of Passover to announce this malicious and false ad campaign.”