Pro-Israel ad campaign at Metro-North stations starts next week

This anti-Palestinian billboard went up last summer at This anti-Palestinian billboard went up last summer at the Metro-North station in Chappaqua. (Aug. 2, 2012) Photo Credit: News12

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The Israel-versus-Palestine war of the billboards will continue at dozens of Metro-North stations next week when seven pro-Israel ads go up touting the Middle East state's long-standing ties to the United States.

StandWithUs, a California-based supporter of Israeli causes, said it purchased the ads in response to pro-Palestine ads that appeared last month accusing Israel of carrying out its own version of apartheid.

"Anti-Israel activists continuously seek ways to attempt to undermine America's strong support for the Jewish state with campaigns that misrepresent Israel," said Roz Rothstein, the CEO of StandWithUs. "These anti-Israel billboard campaigns promote misinformation and prejudice, not peace."

The StandWithUs posters will appear from May 13 through June 9 at 25 Metro-North stations, including Ardsley, Hastings-on-Hudson, Yonkers, Ludlow, Bedford Hills and Spuyten Duyvil, Rothstein said. MTA officials refused to divulge how much was spent on the ad campaign.

The StandWithUs posters will begin their run after ads purchased by the American Muslims for Palestine have been taken down. One of those pro-Palestine ads called for the United States to cut off its financial ties to Israel. The pro-Palestine ads appeared at Metro-North stations during the Passover holiday and were timed to coincide with President Barack Obama's recent trip to the Middle East.

StandWithUs' text-only ads highlight Israel's contributions to the United States. "Israelis Invested $57 Billion in U.S. Companies Creating Jobs in America," one reads.

They are decidedly tamer than the provocative response ads that cropped up last month and were paid for by another pro-Israel group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Those ads showed hooded Islamic fundamentalists preparing to hang gay men and rape victims being flogged for refusing to marry their attackers.

In contrast, one of the StandWithUs ads shows two young boys -- one Palestinian, the other Israeli -- linked arm in arm. "Say No to Terrorism. Say Yes to Peace," reads the tagline. Another shows Obama greeting Miss Israel 2013, the first Ethiopian-born Israeli to win the title. Another boasts Israel's efforts to save the lives of Haitians by setting up an emergency field hospital in the earthquake-damaged country.

Hatem Bazian, the chairman of the American Muslims for Palestine and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, could not immediately be reached for comment.

It is the third time that StandWithUs has bought ads to counter anti-Israel billboards that have appeared throughout subways and rail stations owned by Metro-North's parent agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Last summer, the group purchased six ads that appeared at 75 Metro-North locations. And in 2011, its ads appeared in 25 New York City subway platforms.

StandWithUs also has paid for similar ads in San Francisco, Washington and Albuquerque in response to anti-Israel ads, according to the group.

"We will continue to set the record straight and to inform the public about Israel's challenges and extraordinary achievements in helping make the world a better place," Rothstein said.

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