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‘Hey Boston! Thanks for the guns!’ Guerrilla ads oppose U.S. aid to Israel

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Yesterday a Palestinian solidarity group in Boston posted photographs of ads opposing US military aid to Israel that were put up in Boston bus kiosks. Richard Colbath-Hess, who has placed Palestinian solidarity ads in Boston in the past, says that the group doing this action is anonymous because such ads are banned, and these ads were placed in kiosks in guerrilla manner, swapped out for existing ads. “The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority took down our ads twice over about a year,” he says of his own efforts. “The first time we got the ACLU to get the ad back up then they banned political ads entirely. The governor got involved. Most subways in the country have followed suit.”

Colbath-Hess is in touch with the organizers of the latest ad, and he sent along this press release from a group calling itself the “Center for Accurate Reporting on Palestine.” –Editor. 

This week, members of the Center for Accurate Reporting on Palestine opened many bus station kiosks in and around Boston, Massachusetts, and replaced advertisements for commercial products with posters explaining that the good people of Boston lose out on social programming, education, and clean energy because $11 million of this city’s taxes go towards buying guns for Israel every single year.

Ad placed inside bus kiosk in Boston, opposing aid to Israel. Group claiming credit is Center for Accurate Reporting on Palestine

The majority of Democratic Party voters now support ending or conditioning military aid to Israel because of its ongoing war crimes and human rights violations against Palestinians. This is in accordance with U.S. law, specifically the Leahy Law which states that “No assistance shall be furnished…to any security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights.” The evidence of the Israeli military’s abuses is abundant, whether in its illegal occupation of the West Bank; the politically motivated imprisonment and torture of critics – including children and human rights defenders – or the siege of Gaza that deprives a civilian population of fuel, food, building materials, and even medicine.

Just last week, the world recoiled in outrage after seeing a video of an Israeli soldier shooting an unarmed Palestinian in the back while he was in retreat with his hands up. The reason? A grotesque form of entertainment. The evidence is staring the world in the face, yet the U.S. government continues to funnel more military aid to Israel than every other country in the world combined.

Ad placed inside bus kiosk in Boston, opposing aid to Israel. Group claiming credit is Center for Accurate Reporting on Palestine.

For these reasons and more, the Center for Accurate Reporting on Palestine firmly supports ending military aid to Israel. Yet in order to do that, we need to have a public debate. Most mainstream news publications still speak about Palestinians in egregious tropes, preferring to lionize Israel even as its military shoots protesters, bombs civilians, and attacks human rights advocates. Despite popular support for conditioning military aid, most contenders for the Democratic presidential candidates have refused to broach the topic. That’s why we believe in finding new ways to bring this important issue into the public eye. We want to inform every voter across the country of the consequences of unconditional military aid, both in terms of damages to Palestinian people and their freedoms, but also the missed opportunities we bear back at home when our taxes aren’t used on social programs here in Massachusetts.

We hope that their message has been seen and absorbed because the millions of dollars of military aid to Israel that is subsidized by Boston taxpayers could be spent in much better ways. We could hire 141 teachers in our public schools, or help 7,574 people who need food assistance. We could give out 1,960 Pell Grants to support access to higher education, or give 4,807 children health insurance. We could subsidize 154 jobs in the clean energy sector. Frankly, we could flush all $11 million of it down the toilet, and it would still be put to better use than it is now.

We hope that everyone who saw our message or reads this statement is inspired to make a statement, take a stand, and use their vote to end this absurd practice of subsidizing human rights abuses. Perhaps in the future, the Israeli military will not receive a single penny from the taxpayers of Boston.

Mondoweiss Editors

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18 Responses

  1. JWalters on November 8, 2019, 7:43 pm

    “the good people of Boston lose out on social programming, education, and clean energy because $11 million of this city’s taxes go towards buying guns for Israel every single year.”

    A stark and startling fact!

    • mondonut on November 8, 2019, 11:09 pm

      @JWalters , A stark and startling fact!

      It is not a fact. It is an unproven, unsourced and dubious claim.

      • Misterioso on November 9, 2019, 9:53 am


        “It is not a fact. It is an unproven, unsourced and dubious claim.”

        PROVE IT!!

      • dsowd on November 9, 2019, 11:56 am

        What a fitting handle: MondoNut!

      • mondonut on November 9, 2019, 1:54 pm

        Misterioso , PROVE IT!!

        I just did genius. Proving a negative is simply the absence of any evidence supporting the original claim. There is nothing to support the dubious claim of $11m of taxpayer money purchasing guns for Israel.

        It’s on you and the OP to prove it is indeed a fact.

      • genesto on November 9, 2019, 3:33 pm

        What, $11 million is not Massachusetts share of the $3.8 billion we give to Israel in military aid every year? Haven’t done the math, but seems about right to me.

        You really DO live in an alternative universe, Nut!

      • Stephen Shenfield on November 9, 2019, 4:30 pm

        The figure of $11 million seems much too low to me. Massachusetts accounts for 2.8% of the US GDP, so on the assumption that tax revenue is proportional to GDP that gives $106 million. The corresponding figure for the city of Boston is $78 million. The explanation may be that the figure of $11 million is for GUNS alone. Military expenditure also includes tanks, missiles, planes, uniforms, and many other items.

  2. RoHa on November 8, 2019, 10:27 pm

    If I understand the article correctly, the CARP is illegally replacing adverts that have been paid for with these posters.

    If so, I think it would be a good PR move for the CARP to write letters of apology to each of the companies whose ads have been replaced, with a full explanation of why this action was necessary, and, if they can afford it, an offer to pay for the lost advertising time.

    They might even get a few allies by doing that.

    • echinococcus on November 9, 2019, 12:39 am

      There ought to be a law, instead, to forbid making a poster opposing the arming of the Zionists that looks exactly like a Zionist army recruitment poster! I’m sure that the majority of people looking at that poster will only believes it to be in support of the Zionist invasion.

      As for the illegality of placing ads in bus stops, conceptually what violates the principle in the Constitution is allowing private companies to pick and choose whose speech they want to carry and whose to suppress, in spaces owned by the public. Restricting ads in bus stops, subway stations, public buildings, etc. is what is essentially illegal.

      • RoHa on November 10, 2019, 1:10 am

        I don’t know enough American law to comment on the constitutionality of the ban on political advertising. I am pretty sure, though, that if a company has paid for an advertising space, it is illegal for a third party to remove those ads.

        And I’m sure the company executives will be annoyed.

      • echinococcus on November 10, 2019, 8:35 am


        Of course the legal situation is exactly as you say. Because the laws, their enforcement and the judiciary powers are all designed to cancel the relatively lofty constitutional principles we the sheeple are fed. An old discussion.
        All official recourses being obviously exhausted, the healthy gut reaction ought to be support to whoever enforces free speech in public spaces.
        Add to it the fact that ad space in places owned by the public is rented (mostly) by a behemoth private monopoly.
        But then, as you pointed out yourself, this particular ad is a particularly counterproductive one. If it looks like a recruitment poster for the Zionist army, it is a poster for the Zionist army.

    • genesto on November 9, 2019, 3:35 pm

      I like that idea. Hope that the CARP takes it seriously.

  3. RoHa on November 8, 2019, 10:36 pm

    I like the text of the posters, but I’m not sure about the picture of Israeli soldiers with loads of flags behind them. People who have been taught to have positive feelings about Israel and its military (and I suspect a lot of Bostonians have been so taught) might well reject the message of the text under the influence of those feelings.

    Perhaps an image of the weapons being used against children would be better.

  4. Misterioso on November 9, 2019, 10:10 am

    Off topic, but indicative of an increasing negative view of “Israel” within the Democratic party:

    “U.S. representative praises ‘resilience’ of Palestinians after visit to occupied West Bank”

    The New Arab, Nov. 7/19

    “US Democratic Representative Andy Levin visited a village in the south of the occupied West Bank, where he witnessed Israel cutting the water supply of Palestinian residents.”

    “A United States representative visited a village in the occupied West Bank Tuesday, where he witnessed the Israeli government denying local residents access to water.

    “Democratic Representative Andy Levin visited the Palestinian village of Susiya, south of Hebron, and saw the Israeli government lay in pipes across the village to deliver water to a nearby Israeli settlement.

    “‘Yesterday, I traveled to the southern West Bank, including the Palestinian village of Susya, which the Israeli government has destroyed twice and currently denies access to water,’ Levin tweeted.

    “‘Yet we watched the government utility, right before our eyes, lay in pipes right across the village’s land to deliver tap water to an illegal Israeli outpost nearby,’ the Michigan congressman added.

    “‘It was simply incredible. As angry as the situation made me, the resilience of the Palestinian villagers left an even stronger impression.’

    “Susiya, a rocky hamlet of several hundred people, is one of more than a dozen Palestinian herding communities in the southern West Bank.

    “Consisting mostly of tents, and without running water or electricity, the village has risen to international prominence in recent years as it faced demolitions by Israel.

    “At the heart of the matter is the over 62 percent of the West Bank that was placed under Israeli control under interim peace accords two decades ago.

    “This land, called Area C, is home to more than hundreds of thousands illegal Jewish settlers, more than double the number of Palestinians living there.

    “Israel has blocked virtually all Palestinian development in Area C, while expanding the Jewish settlements there.

    “Susiya is flanked by an illegal Jewish settlement built in 1983 on land confiscated from Palestinian villagers, displacing a number of residents who had lived around the ancient ruins for decades.

    “Three years later, the Israeli government declared the ruins and surrounding village land an archaeological site, subsequently forcibly evicting all of the Palestinian inhabitants.

    Tlaib and Omar
    “While Representative Levin can visit the West Bank, two prominent and outspoken Democratic lawmakers were banned from visiting the West Bank in August.

    “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office banned Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting the West Bank and Jerusalem, as from their itinerary ‘it became clear that they are planning a trip whose sole purpose was strengthening the boycott and negating the legitimacy of Israel.’

    “The decision was announced shortly after President Donald Trump tweeted that it would ‘show great weakness’ to allow the congresswomen in.

    “Trump also claimed that the pair ‘hate Israel and all Jewish people.'”

    “Tlaib is originally from the West Bank city of Ramallah and her father grew up in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem.

    “Palestinian-American Tlaib and Somali-American Omar have been vocal about their solidarity with Palestine, and have been the subject of repeated attacks by Trump in recent weeks, including a series of racist tweets.

    “In July, the US Congress voted overwhelmingly to condemn the international movement to boycott Israel over its human rights violations and continued occupation of Palestine in a rare bipartisan vote.

    “Just 17 lawmakers voted against the non-binding resolution to condemn the BDS movement – a movement that Palestinians say is one of their only channels to raise awareness for their plight for freedom.

    “Among them were Omar, Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, members of the trendsetting liberal group of congresswomen known as ‘the Squad.’ Fellow ‘Squad’ member, Ayanna Pressley voted for the resolution.

    “Under Israeli law, authorities can deny entry to individuals who support boycott movements.”

  5. Ossinev on November 9, 2019, 1:43 pm

    “It is not a fact. It is an unproven, unsourced and dubious claim”

    I think that you stand a very good chance of landing a White House job were you to apply. Loads up for grabs with D..khead Donald running his own circus there. You sound like just his type.

  6. Kay24 on November 9, 2019, 7:04 pm

    Kim Iversen’s visit to the West Bank. I really don’t know much about her, but she speaks well and clearly. She was shocked at what she saw. Watch from about 25.00 if you find it too long.

  7. Elizabeth Block on November 10, 2019, 12:12 am

    Don’t forget that for most people, including most people in government, “political” means opposing the status quo. Supporting the status quo is not regarded as political.

  8. annie on November 10, 2019, 10:29 am

    a great ad! thank you Richard, and thanks to everyone connected to Center for Accurate Reporting on Palestine who made this action happen.

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