Pro-Israel groups attack bus ad in San Francisco
AMP counters that political speech is not anti-Semitic
|Jewish Voice for Peace supports ad campaign|
(SAN FRANCISCO 05/10/2013) – The American Muslims for Palestine, a national grassroots organization educating the public about Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage, today announced its nationwide outdoor advertising campaign has come to San Francisco’s Muni buses. The ads call for an end to Israeli apartheid and to unconditional American aid for Israel. The campaign, which will appear on buses from the Presidio garage, will run for four weeks before moving to Chicago, Washington DC and elsewhere in the country.
“Our ads utilize a quote from Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, who endured South African apartheid and has compared what is happening in Palestine with what black South Africans experienced. We are critiquing Israeli and American policies in efforts to raise awareness about how American taxpayers fund Israeli apartheid and oppression of the Palestinian people,” said AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian, who is also a senior lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley.
This point is especially critical right now as AMP has come under renewed attack by the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Relations Council, which are attempting to stifle open debate on these important issues by labeling any public critique of Israel as hateful and anti-Semitic.
“The attempt to characterize our efforts as anti-Semitic is a time-worn smear tactic used by pro-Israel organizations to shut down free speech. It is no more anti-Semitic to critique Israeli policies than it is Islamophobic to criticize Iran,” Dr. Bazian said.
AMP considers Jewish participation in our work to play an essential role in advocating for a better future for all the people of the Middle East. AMP has worked with such organizations as:
Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Justice in Palestine, Jews for the Palestinian Right of Return and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. AMP routinely features Jewish speakers at its conferences and lectures.
While Israel denies its policies constitute apartheid, Tutu has said, “I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.”
Each year, the US gives Israel more than $3 billion in unconditional military aid. AMP asserts that our financial support, as well as our unconditional political and diplomatic support of Israel, in light of its continued and flagrant violations of international law, weaken America’s position throughout the international community and hurts our national interests.
Apartheid runs counter to every principle Americans hold dear. Israel’s military occupation violates the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness enshrined in our own Declaration of Independence.
The American Muslims for Palestine is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to educate the American public about issues related to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage. For more information, go to www.ampalestine.org.