Billboard campaign to end US aid to Israel hits LA — thanks to CBS

ActivismIsrael/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 41 Comments
Melrose Walnut r
Stop30Billion Billboard at Melrose and Walnut, Los Angeles

Exciting news. The Coalition to Stop 30 Billion to Israel has put up 23 billboards across Los Angeles in an awareness initiative to stop military aid to Israel. The message:

Tell Congress: Spend Our Money at Home, Not on the Israeli Military

Millions of Americans will be exposed to these billboards every day as commuters in the country’s second largest metropolitan area are stuck in traffic on some of the most congested roads in the world. Stop30Billion Co-founder Armen Chakerian told me the campaign plans to put up additional signs in different spots in LA each month.

This is the largest advertising campaign launched by Stop30Billion thus far.  Last spring its successful campaign in Denver, Colorado, garnered lots of attention from citizens and local media.

Stop 30 Billion is a grassroots campaign with humble beginnings, funded by ordinary citizens. They got off to a rocky start when their first billboards were taken down under pressure by Lamar Outdoor Advertising after only three weeks even though they had signed a contract to run the billboards for eight weeks. The billboard company for Stop30Billion’s LA initiative is CBS Outdoor, the outdoor advertising division of media conglomerate CBS Corporation.

Due to the tremendous pressure CBS Outdoor will undoubtedly encounter in the days and weeks ahead, Stop30Billion and its partner the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation have asked us to sign a petition to thank CBS Outdoor.

In a blog post titled “Dodging the ‘Hebrew Hammer’ in the Fight for Justice,” writer Richard Edmondson traces the hurdles in Stop30Billion’s history and interviews Coalition co-founders Susan Schuurman and Armen Chakerian:

Q: Tell us about your new ad campaign and how it differs from previous ones.

A: Our new ad campaign features an American flag. We wanted to emphasize that our message is indeed a patriotic one in that domestic needs are being short-changed by sending billions of dollars per year to support the Israeli war machine. This message seems to be resonating even more during this current economic down-turn. We also feel that more and more Americans want politicians to focus greater attention on infrastructure, education, and healthcare needs at home……After our billboards were taken down prematurely, however, we purposefully tried to find less provocative phrasing that would have a better chance of not being suppressed by opposition pressure.

Q: Your ads seem to have caused considerable consternation within the ranks of pro-Israel groups, but of course the real question is how much of an impact are they having with the public? Do you have any sense of public opinion about the ads and to what degree they may be influencing the way people think about the Middle East?

A: Combined with other communities’ campaigns, we feel that our messaging has created a safer space within which to criticize Israeli policy without being called “anti-Semitic.” In addition to being seen directly by tens of thousands of passers-by, the billboards led to media coverage both in Denver’s local Jewish community newspaper and on Denver channel 7.

Replicate this campaign in your area!

Here’s a short ‘n sweet 41 second video filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico archived  by campaign co-founder Susan Schuurman on the first day the billboard campaign was launched by the Coalition to Stop 30 Billion in 2009.

41 Responses

  1. Philip Weiss
    June 13, 2012, 10:13 am

    Bravo. And I must say I am intrigued by the fact that a leftleaning group is being patriotic in its appeal. This reminds us of a core principle of organizing: Go to a community’s self-interest! This is the American community’s self interest. And defining community in Israel and Palestine seems to me the greatest challenge. The Israeli community is very clear about its self-interest; the trick is to shift its self-definition

    • Annie Robbins
      June 13, 2012, 10:20 am

      they are being really smart about this. i’m so excited it gives me chills. LA, wow, just wow.

      hats off, huge.

      • seafoid
        June 13, 2012, 10:34 am

        Wonderful

        Whatever Zionist thuggery got the original billboards down- it’s back to square one for the bots .

        • Annie Robbins
          June 13, 2012, 11:46 am

          this is going to require some terrific support from the community. i really hope people sign the petition to cbsoutdoor and hopefully it will help generate some additional donations to keep the billboards afloat longer.

          end the occupation mentions:

          For every $365 contributed, another billboard will carry the message for four weeks.

          link to blog.endtheoccupation.org

          seems really doable/cheap.

  2. American
    June 13, 2012, 10:39 am

    Perfect. Smart.

    Because appealing to people’s self interest gets their attention moreso than a message about a injustice or conflict abroad they don’t know much, if anything, about.
    When you look at anti Israel comments by the general public net user, the majority of them are complaints about what Israel first does to the US and the amount of US tax dollars that go to Israel.

  3. Boycott Israel on Campus
    June 13, 2012, 11:45 am

    Look, I’m thrilled that an ad says to spend our money at home, not on the Israeli military.

    I personally prefer to say “Cut off the Billions to Israel, and spend it to Rebuild Detroit”. With a photo of Israeli soldiers pointing their guns at Palestinian children (there are many of these photos).

    I prefer to line up with Black America, which since the 1956 war has identified more strongly with the Arab world than any other segment of North America.

    I prefer never to line up with flag-waving racists and their military. Never.

    Loyalty to the American flag has a very bloody and racist symbolism. That flag is associated with so many genocides, so many openly racist massacres (think Vietnam, and Iraq, and the Congo, and Iran, and Mississippi).

    Arab Americans are dying of loyalty to the American flag. It binds their mouth shut so they cannot cry out when Congress shovels another trillion towards another war in the Middle East (Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, and soon Iran.)

    The American and Israeli flags represent exactly the same thing. They represent racist robbery against nonwhite humanity. That is the reason for the U.S.-Israel alliance. They really want the same thing.

    • iamuglow
      June 13, 2012, 1:28 pm

      “I prefer to line up with Black America, which since the 1956 war has identified more strongly with the Arab world than any other segment of North America.”

      What is your source for this?

      My personal experience has been the opposite. I’ve heard ‘don’t compare 400 years to your struggle’ and ‘where were they when black americans needed help?’…or else its the whole ‘God gave the Jews the land’ line of reasoning.

      As for the flag, it’s a symbol. If you want to change people consciences you have to use symbols that have meaning to them…

    • Citizen
      June 14, 2012, 6:10 pm

      Boycott Israel on Campus –I think you are really short-sighted. Much good has also been done, both for America, and for the world, under the American flag. You cede its use. I imagine you have never talked to an American veteran or any member of his family. Get out of your cocoon. If America stands for nothing but what you attribute its flag to, what are you doing here? Go someplace where the flag of the country more stands for what you believe in. Why should only Fox News talking heads and GOP lackies be sporting American flag pins, or crossed US-Israeli flags (at the same level)?

      • Boycott Israel on Campus
        June 14, 2012, 8:10 pm

        Telling me to get out of the United States is not exactly the kind of “freedom” I was hoping to enjoy here.

        But that is what you get, when you ally yourself with the “Patriots”.

  4. iamuglow
    June 13, 2012, 11:49 am

    It is a great ad. The flag is perfect.

    I wonder if the word ‘military’ is even necessary?

    ‘Spend our money at home. not on Israel’

    • MRW
      June 13, 2012, 6:06 pm

      The word military is essential. It’s an appeal, also, to the 5 million active US military.

      • NickJOCW
        June 14, 2012, 4:06 am

        My gut instinct agrees with iamuglow. The word ‘military’ strikes me as having potential to split the response. When someone once asked Giacometti why his sculptures were so thin he replied: Because I remove everything that is not necessary. J’enlève tout ce qui n’est pas nécessaire. But it is perhaps splitting hairs and I am making a modest donation all the way from struggling southern Spain

      • iamuglow
        June 14, 2012, 11:52 am

        Its splitting hairs, but there are people who will see ‘Military’ and think thats ok /Israel is fighting our same enemy/

        Its not just that American is giving military aid to a country, but its giving a ‘rich’ country military aid.

        “44 million Americans have no health insurance
        Israel provides its citizens with free universal healthcare
        ‘Spend our money at home. not on Israel’
        Stop30billion.org”

        • Annie Robbins
          June 14, 2012, 12:33 pm

          nick, iamuglow, everybody.. if you open the interview provided in the main post there is a short history provided including offshoots. if you want a billboard in your town which reads:

          “44 million Americans have no health insurance
          Israel provides its citizens with free universal healthcare
          ‘Spend our money at home. not on Israel’

          contact link to stop30billion.org and they will inform you how to do that in your town or city. you can tailor your ad to suit your community (i think) although one might imagine it is cheaper to go with the design that’s already created but i don’t really know. i will email susan and armen and find out. already there are off shoots in many many communities. they sent me a pdf with instructions once but i don’t know where it is or i would post it.

          just do it!

  5. rensanceman
    June 13, 2012, 12:19 pm

    Bravo indeed! Here in los Angeles, which has sizable and vocal Jewish community, the Melrose area, where a billboard is located, is extremely ethnic (Cantor’s Deli is renowned). There will undoubtedly be vigorous efforts to have it removed.

    One more brick removed from the base of the Zionist structure.

  6. Theo
    June 13, 2012, 12:54 pm

    I see the first board was installed in 2009, also three years ago. Did it bring anything? In my opinion no and no again.
    Americans just drive by and do not care, they were trained for generations: in company do not talk about politics or religion, so they are simply ignorant.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 13, 2012, 1:14 pm

      actually if you follow all the links you can see the campaign has expanded greatly and instigated a lot of debate and exposure.

  7. Boycott Israel on Campus
    June 13, 2012, 1:04 pm

    It is good to try and change the atmosphere in favor of BDS.

    That’s how the abolitionists won. They were always a scorned minority, until the Black population started escaping from slavery in the 1860′s, during the Civil War.

    This led to Black men joining the Union Army and defeating the Confederacy forever. The abolitionists helped Blacks and whites to imagine that Black people actually could and should be free.

    BDS is doing that now for 300 million Arabs, who should be free– but who are mostly still in bondage to various dictatorships and occupations supported by the U.S. and Israel.

  8. CloakAndDagger
    June 13, 2012, 1:09 pm

    Grassroots.
    The only answer.
    The American answer.
    The patriotic answer.
    Nothing else can work.

    If we have learnt one thing from the Ron Paul campaign, it is that grassroots can be rapidly made into a powerful force if they can be galvanized into a single focus. For Ron Paul, the cause is Liberty. Millions of people stopped whatever they were doing and rallied to his cause and continue to do so today despite the titanic onslaught against them from the RNC and their media whores. He has even inspired people in other countries, an amazing feat considering that he is shut out or disparaged by the zionist controlled media (ZCM).

    Even the unemployed donated to his campaign. People travelled great distances to his rallies and gave freely of their time and effort to evangelize his cause. Whether you love him, hate him, or are indifferent to him, you cannot deny that he has inflamed passions in a previously apathetic youth in our country as well as the more mature citizenry in a fashion not familiar in recent memory.

    While the jury is still out on whether he will be nominated, it cannot be denied that he has unleashed a revolutionary force that is historical – and so welcome in our current state of affairs.

    We need to arouse the same level of passion and commitment to our effort and breed another grassroots movement akin to his. I love the passion of these billboard makers. It reminds me of how we financed a blimp with Ron Paul’s name on it to make people aware of him while the media was (and still is) shutting him off from public view.

    I was astonished to see how many in the RP campaign are well aware of the grip that Israel/AIPAC has on our government and on our personal lives. These are patriotic Americans who want our nation restored to the principles that we have identified with. Whatever you think of the founding fathers and whether you believe their motivations for the Republic, over the years we have transformed and evolved our concept of freedom and personal liberty to what became the America of our minds. These patriots are wedded to that vision of freedom and liberty and are going to incredible lengths to make others aware of what happened to the America that inspired us and filled us with pride once.

    These same passionate individuals and countless others can be mobilized in a cause to rid us of Israel’s tentacles. The idea that some political leader will save us is delusional. The forces in place and the system as it is constructed will not allow itself to be overcome through itself. The only way to save ourselves is to seize the reigns of the horses.

    It is time to stop.

    Stop bickering about this Left vs Right dichotomy.
    Stop bickering about Progressive vs Conservative principles.

    These are like “Free Speech Zones” – controlled enclaves created by “the system” to give us the illusion of power.

    Our true power comes from the fact that we are many and they are few.
    Their power comes from perpetuating the myth that they have power.

    Grassroots. That is the answer.

    Let’s not waste our precious time trying to convince politicians to do the right thing. Let’s not waste our time working to get one whore after another elected in the hope that they will be different from the whore preceding them. These efforts make us falsely believe that we are making progress, and are ultimately delf-defeating.

    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels when used as rhetoric. But patriotism is also our salvation since, for the human organism, self-interest overrides all.

    It is in our self-interest to restore the cause of liberty.
    It is in our self-interest to destroy the power construct that shackles us.
    It is in our self-interest to cut Israel and its supporters in the US loose to fend for themselves.
    It is in our self-interest to tar and feather every traitor in our midst that raises Israel’s interests above our own.

    And for once, what is in our self-interest is also in the self-interest of the world.

    Let’s learn from these billboard people and the Ron Paul people and take back our country.

    • CloakAndDagger
      June 13, 2012, 1:36 pm

      Urk! “reigns” should have been “reins” – when spellcheckers are not enough!

  9. HarryLaw
    June 13, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Annie, I remember a piece on this last year, these billboards must be very expensive, I also remember Jeff Blankfort putting up a home made poster over the freeway made out of a sail, he says it was very effective especially when he trained a headlight on it at night, surely this kind of thing link to mobile-billboards.co.uk would be much cheaper or maybe more effective around a city or at specific functions like at AIPAC, Do you think I should contact them with the idea? Also there would be no need to censor the content.

  10. Boycott Israel on Campus
    June 13, 2012, 1:32 pm

    When you say “tar and feather every traitor” to the United States, remember these things:

    * Tarring and feathering was often fatal when it was actually done. Read about the tarring process and you’ll see why.

    * The United States has waged a direct genocidal war on Afghanistan for over a decade with the vote of Ron Paul, who is forever tied to his party (the party of racism), and to his own years of racist newsletters. You want to demand loyalty to that?

    * There has been no mass media mention of any calls for Palestinian liberation from Ron Paul. There have been no calls for boycott against Israel from Paul.

    ————————–

    * Read Ron Paul’s campaign website at link to ronpaulmyths.com :

    “MYTH: Ron Paul is anti-Israel.

    “FACT: Ron Paul strongly supports Israel.

    “Ron Paul strongly supports Israel’s right to self-determination.

    “Ron Paul voted to oppose a Congressional resolution condemning Israel for bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactors.

    “As President, Ron Paul would seek to remove billions in aid from Israel’s enemies.

    “Paul recently re-affirmed his support for Israel, explaining his belief that America should be Israel’s ‘friend’ but not it’s ‘master.’ He goes on to explain that America should “refuse any arms sales that would undermine Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.”

    —————–

  11. CloakAndDagger
    June 13, 2012, 1:51 pm

    @Boycott Israel on Campus

    When you say “tar and feather every traitor” to the United States, remember these things:

    * Tarring and feathering was often fatal when it was actually done. Read about the tarring process and you’ll see why.

    And your point is?

    You appear to have missed the point of my post (or I didn’t make it clearly enough).

    While I am a supporter of Ron Paul, the post is not about Ron Paul, but about the power of being able to energize the grassroots.

  12. radii
    June 13, 2012, 1:57 pm

    never thought I’d see this in Los Angeles – the Jewish population here feels like the majority at times it is so huge … great to get the non-zio-propaganda side out there

  13. Boycott Israel on Campus
    June 13, 2012, 3:06 pm

    My point is that you have tapped into a powerfully ugly nerve center in American political life: red-blooded, violent patriotism. (Tarring, feathering, lynching.)

    That kind of big salute to the American flag, the American military, etc. is too closely tied into America’s history of highly racist conquests and destruction of native people on every single continent.

    That kind of patriotic appeal is poison to Arab Americans, because Arab-American flag-waving is only “rewarded” with the usual white-supremacist wars and deportations that have become so familiar to Arabs who have any contact with America.

    Much better for all of us, including Arab Americans, to identify with Black people and their history of defiant self-assertion, defiant demands for human rights, in the face of this white racist beast which is called “patriotism”.

    Allying yourself to “patriots” is allying yourself to the Klan.

    Ally yourself to a healthy defiance against racism instead.

    • libra
      June 13, 2012, 6:36 pm

      BIOC: “…in the face of this white racist beast which is called “patriotism”.

      What crassly stupid statement. Not only an insult to all patriotic Americans but patriotic people across the globe. I don’t think I’ve come across a mind quite so poisoned by “anti-racism”.

    • CloakAndDagger
      June 13, 2012, 6:44 pm

      References and associations with the Klan notwithstanding, there is a place for hangings – and traitors are at the top of the list for those.

      I respect yours and others’ abhorrence of hanging (or tarring and feathering). I am mostly onboard with that. I draw the line at treason. When those who would call themselves Americans would willfully do harm to other Americans, either through avarice or fealty to another country, the end of a rope is completely justified in my book. Oh, and child rapists too.

      Being patriotic does not make me a klansman or an ally of the Klan. Quite the opposite, actually.

      Frankly, I don’t need to identify with Arab-Americans or African-Americans, or any other ethnic group in order to feel moral-outrage as an American. I seek no tribal identity beyond that of being American with a primacy for American self-interests. If others benefit in our pursuit of American self-interests, as they would when personal liberty is one of those pursuits, then so much the better.

      • Boycott Israel on Campus
        June 14, 2012, 7:43 am

        Would you have hung the very loudest and most determined opponents of the U.S. war in Vietnam, like protesters at Kent State and Jackson State, who were shot dead by the U.S. National Guard and the police? No one spent a day in jail for those kids’ murders.

        Would you have hung the loudest and most determined opponents of the U.S. war on Nicaragua, like Ben Linder — who get shot dead by U.S.-backed contras? No one spent a millisecond in jail for his murder.

        That kind of murderous white racism — the kind that you can read in Ron Paul’s newsletters– is what you are allying yourself with, when you become a “hanging patriot”.

        As you say, you are not fighting for Arabs or Blacks, but for your own heavily-armed white tribe — that thing which is called “Americans” among Klansmen and Republicans.

        The BDS movement really needs thousands of idealistic, marching Arab American college students to lead it. Not old white racists who never cared a day in their life for Arabs.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 13, 2012, 11:53 pm

      Allying yourself to “patriots” is allying yourself to the Klan.

      not where i come from

  14. DICKERSON3870
    June 13, 2012, 6:57 pm

    RE: “Stop30Billion and its partner the US Campaign to End
    the Israeli Occupation have asked us to sign a petition to thank CBS Outdoor.” ~ Annie Robbins

    MY COMMENT: I signed the petition thanking CBS Outdoor and made a modest donation towards the Stop30Billion billboards in LA via PayPal.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 13, 2012, 11:52 pm

      awesome dickerson. thanks

  15. NickJOCW
    June 13, 2012, 7:25 pm

    This is great! This is the spirit I remember from 50 years ago. I didn’t think I would live to see it again.

  16. jimmy
    June 13, 2012, 10:24 pm

    gotta wonder if Sumner Redstone all of a sudden grew a conscience ….

    We need a few of those over Washington D C

  17. yourstruly
    June 14, 2012, 8:24 am

    just signed petition & donated the cost of carrying the message on one billboard for a week. such a message is worth how many comments/posts on the internet?

  18. mariapalestina
    June 14, 2012, 2:05 pm

    Great approach. Americans might not all understand what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people, but they know what our leaders in Washington are doing to the American people. Let’s hope this gets the people’s attention and action.

  19. Miriam
    June 24, 2012, 10:43 pm

    And now…tonight, I got a message from one of the folks who got the contract with the advertisers, who got the contract signed and delivered the “free speech” i.e., moolah….and his message was that they PULLED the advert…ripped off the image of the American flag…because of complaints….reneging on their signed contract…SO
    ALL of us are needed to CALL the advertisers …to demand they honor the contract and allow for our “Free” speech rights….encourage the oppo to buy their own dang boards…but allow us our message….put the adverts back up @ STOP THE $30BILLION.com
    ” I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore.”