American Muslims for Palestine has started an advertising campaign ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next week and issued the following press release:
The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015 will unveil its latest ad campaign that uses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s breach of protocol to focus on the detrimental impact our ‘friendship’ with Israel has on the United States.
Netanyahu caused controversy when he circumvented the White House and accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. Critics accuse Netanyahu of meddling in US affairs.
This may be the case. Speaking in 2001 about how he could manipulate the United States, Netanyahu was videotaped saying, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.” The video and comments were widely reported on in 2010 in Israeli and American media.
“At a time when the United States is close to a deal with Iran, Mr. Netanyahu is coming to persuade Congress to trade in a peaceful, diplomatic solution for war,” said Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid, AMP national political coordinator.
AMP’s ad also calls for an end to US aid to Israel, which props up policies that contravene international law, deprive Palestinians of their human and civil rights, that thwart peace in the Middle East and threaten American national security.
The ad, which will run on buses along Capitol Hill, downtown DC and the Cherry Festival route, is the third campaign AMP has launched in the nation’s capitol. Another multi-city national campaign is due out in late March.
“We use transit advertising because we can reach a maximum number of people,” said Kristin Szremski, AMP national director of media and communications. “Our mission is to educate the public and get the Palestinian narrative into mainstream dialogue and our ads accomplish those goals.”
While many view Netanyahu’s speech as disrespectful to the US President, AMP asserts that disrespect is a symptom of the much larger problem of American support for Israeli policies, which contravene international law and deprive Palestinians of their human and civil rights.
“Last summer, the Israeli military used American-funded weaponry to kill more than 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza,” Dr. Abu Irshaid said. “Killing civilians violates numerous international laws. Using an American arsenal to do so violates American law.”
Israeli policies also contravene American national interests. “There are groups that use American support of Israel as a recruitment tool, threatening our national security. Our unconditional support hurts American standing throughout the world and makes Americans less safe,” Dr. Abu Irshaid added.
Israeli is the largest recipient of US foreign aid, each year receiving more than $3.1 billion in foreign military financing funds, plus loans, grants and Department of Defense appropriations.
There is historical precedence for tying aid to human rights. AMP calls on Congress and the US State Department to hold Israel to the same standards by withholding aid until it complies with international law and ends the occupation.
AMP also has been part of the highly successful #SkipTheSpeech campaign with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink and Roots Action. Nearly 60,000 people either signed a petition or sent more than 110,000 messages to lawmakers, asking them to boycott Netanyahu’s address. On Monday, several coalition members delivered constituent letters or petitions to 75 lawmakers who have pledged to skip the speech or who were still undecided.
The American Muslims for Palestine is a national grassroots organization, whose mission is to educate the public about Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage. For more information, go to www.ampalestine.org.