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The great Highway 17 billboard contest

Activism
on 10 Comments

Our friend Patrick in British Columbia writes:

These pictures are of competing billboard signs found on Hwy 17 near Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This road leads between Victoria (the provincial capital) and the ferry to Vancouver. These signs would be seen by thousands of people every day in southbound lanes. The billboard for BDS– boycott, divestment and sanctions– went up earlier this year. In response, the ‘I love Israel’ appeared sometime later (perhaps a couple of months later). It was placed, no doubt deliberately, just ahead of the BDS sign.

The contrast between the two signs seems to me both striking and telling. The BDS sign points to a hard objective reality, that of occupation and oppression. It asks onlookers to boycott Israeli goods, and the group behind the sign identifies itself. The attempt to counter this offers nothing more than an emotional attachment. There’s no attempt to present a counter-reality to the one depicted in the BDS sign, and no attempt to somehow defend or justify Israeli actions. All that the person or group responsible for the sign says to us is that they love Israel. To counter the objective reality depicted of the BDS campaign, it offers the viewer the purely subjective reality of some anonymous group or person.

Highway 17 billboard contest

Highway 17 billboard contest

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10 Responses

  1. amigo
    amigo
    July 27, 2015, 1:56 pm

    Somebody should put up a sign asking the Israeli lovers to put a sign showing a map of the Israel they love.

  2. just
    just
    July 27, 2015, 1:57 pm

    Thanks for this post~ you’re exactly right, Patrick.

  3. eljay
    eljay
    July 27, 2015, 2:03 pm

    … The contrast between the two signs seems to me both striking and telling. The BDS sign points to a hard objective reality, that of occupation and oppression. It asks onlookers to boycott Israeli goods, and the group behind the sign identifies itself. The attempt to counter this offers nothing more than an emotional attachment. …

    Sadly, the emotional plea to love an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” is likely more effective than the factual plea to support justice, accountability and equality.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    July 27, 2015, 9:20 pm

    I suspect that if you asked an expert in advertising they might say that the “I ❤ Israel” sign actually increases the effectiveness of the “End Israel’s Apartheid & Occupation” sign (for reasons that I will not go into except to say that an incumbent politician always tries to avoid debating a challenger*)! ! !

    * SIMILARLY: ● Dueling Tennessee billboards support, oppose Christmas – http://national.deseretnews.com/article/2953/dueling-tennessee-billboards-support-oppose-christmas.html

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      July 27, 2015, 9:42 pm

      P.S. PUT ON YO’ DANCIN’ SHOES: “Libella Swing” by Parov Stelar

      Parov Stelar
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Marcus Füreder (born November 27, 1974 in Linz, Upper Austria) better known by his stage name Parov Stelar, is an Austrian musician, producer and DJ. His musical style is based in a combination of jazz, house, electro and breakbeat. He is known as one of the pioneers of electro swing.[1] . . .
      SOURCE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parov_Stelar

  5. simonsj
    simonsj
    July 28, 2015, 8:40 am

    I prefer to read the signs as complementary. I love Israel and I want it to be a country with equal rights for all its citizens (including returned refugees), at home in the Middle East, at peace with its neighbours.

    • CigarGod
      CigarGod
      July 28, 2015, 11:51 am

      I understand.
      But, where exactly in reality does your love reside?
      The promise, myth, and fantasy of the ideal Israel may seem very real, but even an opium smoker knows the difference between the smoke and the den.

      What is – loveable – about Israel, that tells you there is equivalence in the two signs?

  6. michelle
    michelle
    July 29, 2015, 3:25 am

    .
    oh where oh where are the taggers when they are needed
    .
    sign should be; i love Israel or i would if …. see next sign
    or i would love Israel if only it wasn’t an …. see next sign
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  7. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    July 31, 2015, 10:02 am

    The argument in favor of Israel has been always symbolic or contradictory when it were reality based concrete .
    1 NYT in 1947 was getting close to the bandwagon and castigated Truman administration for looking after commercial ,statregic and oil interests . This line of argument was all along emphasized by Zionist who settled on the newfangled concept that the very nature of America supported the Zionism . Both were ideological,abstract endeavors . Both were lost cousins finding similarities from pilgrimage to making the land bloom or prosper.
    But this very Zionism was reaching Czar PM Sultan,and Kaiser just 30 yrs ago with the conspiratorial proposals of quid pro quo . Palestine as Israel would protect Suez,protect empire,and be a barrier to barbarism .
    2 Today the argument is ” we are best ally,Israel is our only ally,Israel is only democracy,it is LGBT friendly,it has so many start ups scientific commercial entities ” the list goes on adding every year – ” we don’t try to wipe off people off map” while Zionism here and abroad explore the opportunities in Ethipia,China,India,and Mynamar based on fault lines between local Muslim and local non muslims as an alternative to the changing American .direction
    3

  8. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    August 1, 2015, 12:00 pm

    Love israel? Guilty of murder by association is more like it.

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