Fighting BDS With Billboards

Billboard-Wars-2[1]— by Ferne Hassan

The pro-Israel billboard visible on I-95 at Lehigh Road since March 5 is a part of a much bigger campaign.

StandWithUs (SWU) has countered anti-Israel messages on mass transit and highways across the U.S. since they first appeared in 2007. For the first time, SWU is running a billboard in Philadelphia. Reinforcing the U.S.-Israel relationship, the billboard’s run will last four weeks. It tells commuters, “Now Is the Time to Stand With Israel. Join Us.”

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SWU is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about Israel, and to combat anti-Semitism. Its goal is to promote discussions that will lead to peace in the Middle East.

SWU was founded in Los Angeles by Roz Rothstein, a daughter of Holocaust survivors. She founded the organization in 2001, during the Second Intifada, as she felt that Israel needed more support from the community. SWU helps students and community members fight the BDS movement with materials, information, and resources.

The director of SWU-Philadelphia, Joseph Puder, explained the billboard‘s message:

Israel shares the same core values that the United States holds dear: freedom of religion, speech, and a respect for human rights. The connection between both countries is strategically sound and mutually beneficial and we felt that it is important to emphasize this in these perilous times.

The associate director of SWUs-Philadelphia, Ferne Hassan, noted that the local organization has reached its first anniversary and this billboard campaign helps reinforce its alliance with the community. The flags of Israel and the US in the background serve to highlight the stron connection between the two countries.

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