Billboards showing a series of maps to bolster claims that Israel has systematically confiscated land from the Palestinians have appeared at some suburban New York train stations.
The ads that went on display this week at Metro North train stations in Westchester County show a succession of shrinking Palestinian territories in four maps and contain a headline stating that 4.7 million Palestinians are classified as refugees by the United Nations.
The billboards were posted under the auspices of The Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine and paid for by Henry Clifford, an ex-Wall Street financier who lives in Connecticut. Clifford, 84, is the chairman of the organization, a 10-member group that says it is dedicated to organizing activities and educational events that advance the cause of peace and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.
According to Lohud.com, Clifford paid $25,000 to display thebillboards at 10 Metro-North stations for 30 days.
“If the facts are inflammatory, then they are inflammatory,” Clifford told Lohud.com. “All of the Middle East is infected with the virus of the Arab-Israeli conflict. People need to know the truth of the matter.”
The Anti-Defamation League called the ads “deliberately misleading and biased.”
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely complex and cannot be summarized in a series of four maps,” said Ron Meier, ADL New York's regional director. “This ad campaign completely ignores the facts, including the history of land ownership prior to 1948, Israel’s repeated efforts to exchange land for peace, and the commitment of successive Israeli governments to achieving a two-state solution with the Palestinians.”
Metro-North said the ads did not violate its guidelines.
“We do not decide to accept or reject a proposed ad based on the viewpoint that it expresses or because the ad might be controversial,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan said in a statement. “The MTA does not endorse the viewpoint expressed in this ad, or any of the ads that it accepts for display.”
In June, the Coalition to Stop 30 Billion to Israel put up 23 billboards across Los Angeles in an initiative to halt military aid to Israel. The ads were taken down under pressure shortly after they went up.