Conflict apparent on public transit


Dueling advertisements for and against American tax dollars being given to Israel and the Palestinian Authority can be seen on Metro buses on the streets of Washington, D.C., this month.

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) bought bus ads to run during the District’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Their ad, which features Uncle Sam holding an Israeli flag, states, “We’re Sweating April 15 So Israelis Don’t Have To: Stop US Aid to Israel’s Occupation!”

StandWithUs, a Los Angeles-based Israeli advocacy group, purchased ads that follow the same cherry blossom route as the AMP ads did. Their ad reads, “Not With Our Tax Dollars. Stop U.S. Aid for Palestinian Terrorism.”

Osama Abu Irshaid, AMB board member, explained the meaning behind the tax-day reference. “While Americans are struggling to pay their taxes during these difficult economic times, our hard-earned money is going to a country that has implemented the last and longest-lasting military occupation in the modern world,” he wrote in a press release.

“We tie foreign aid to human rights in other countries,” he said. “Why don’t we do the same in Israel.”

If AMP wants to point out what they consider to be money poorly spent, StandWithUs is ready to take them on. “They are the ones who are misappropriating money, turning it into garbage and violence,” said CEO Rox Rothstein.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank uses American tax dollars to pay monthly salaries to convicted Palestinian terrorists, giving the highest wages to those who killed the most Israelis, Rothstein charged. Palestinian terrorists get free medical care and an education while they are in Israeli prisons. Meanwhile, they sign papers to allow their family to receive an income from their violence, she said.

“Why would anyone be interested in peace if they can make a lot more money” being terrorists, she said. “They can make actual cash by doing terrible, horrific things.”

Funding for StandWithUs’ campaign came from grassroots donations. “There are people who want to educate large numbers of people,” Rothstein said, adding that the campaign cost about $5,000.

The bus ads are designed to more than just counter the AMP’s ads, she said, adding that her organization wants people to understand that the Palestinian Authority is not accountable for the money it receives from the United States and many European countries.

Rothstein’s group “urges Congress to condition future Palestinian aid on the immediate cessation of the Palestinian terrorism industry, demands complete transparency on use of donor funds, and demands that the Palestinian governmental institutions supporting terrorism be shut down,” she said.

The AMP ad campaign cost about $10,000 and was designed to reach “the average American,” said Abu Irshaid. The idea is to “get to the American people, tell them our side of the story. We are just trying to lay out the facts.”

The StandWithUs ads first went up April 11 on seven buses and will run for four weeks.

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