The billboard reading ‘America First Not Israel’ was paid for by a New York group known as Deir Yassin Remembered. The group wants to spread awareness about the struggles that Palestinians have faced.
The organization is named after the Battle of Deir Yassin, which took place in the Deir Yassin village near Jerusalem in April of 1948. During the battle, more than 100 Palestinian Arabs were killed. One month later, Israel was declared to be an independent nation.
The billboard is prominently visible on Detroit’s 8 Mile Road. Detroit has a large Palestinian Arab population in the United States, but it also has a large Jewish population.
A message was posted on Deir Yassin Remembered’s website that said, “The strategy behind this billboard’s statement, ‘America First, Not Israel’, is to drive a wedge between those who feel American interests are not served by fighting wars for Israel, and the Israel-firsters in this country who manipulate our leaders into the false premise that Israel is the ally of the United States.”
Of course, many people are not happy with the billboard.
Representative of the Anti-Defamation League Heidi Budaj said, “This particular sign goes a step further and raises an old anti-Semitic canard of dual loyalty, implying that Jews are not loyal to the country in which they live. Make no mistake that, while many of the Jewish people in the United States support the State of Israel as a Jewish state, we are loyal Americans.”
Meanwhile, earlier this year in June, the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) Pamela Geller ran an advertising campaign that featured a cartoon version of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad, which offended many people.
Also earlier this year, the AFDI was victorious in multiple federal court cases concerning freedom of speech rights. Based on these rights, transportation authorities in New York City and Philadelphia were forced to run ads claiming that discrimination and Jew-killing is promoted through the religion of Islam.