So many people have texted me and called me about one topic recently that I think it would be best to share my opinion here! I’m sure a lot of you have heard about the “Pro-Palestine Ad” that has been placed in numerous New York metro stations. The ad shows an image that is extremely familiar in the Middle East, portraying the gradual loss of Palestinian land since the year 1946.
The ads were purchased by an organization called The Committee for Peace in Israel AND Palestine. Henry Clifford, co-chairman of the group, stated that the posters were displayed in 50 railroad stations, and that their sole purpose was to “educate and inform people.”
Do the ads do that? Yes, I personally think they do.
Are the maps valid? Yup.
4.7 million Palestinian refugees? Indeed that is the number the UN has on record.
I read a little bit more about the Committee, and I admired their mission statement, which calls for a “two-state solution to the conflict” and “an end to violence on both sides,” an idea that I support because of the benefits it would bring to both peoples.
Of course, negative reactions spread fast. My favorite, though, comes from the Anti-Defamation League, which released a statement saying that the “reference to the number of Palestinian refugees make it appear as if Israel was responsible for their displacement.” I don’t even know how to respond to a statement so irrational. At the very least, illegal settlement building and house demolitions would make staying a tad bit difficult for Palestinians I would think.
In my opinion, the ad is balanced and in no way provocative. The only time Israel is mentioned is in the map. In fact, I think the ad motivates people to look into the topic, which is exactly what both sides need! The conflict has yet to be resolved, and a fair and just two-state solution is a long way ahead of us, but I think a more knowledgeable international community will help expedite the process, and that is what the ad encourages.
Until that happens though, we have to deal with petty comebacks such as the one being organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a pro-Israel group. As a response to the “Pro-Palestine Ad,” they have created an ad to be put on the MTA’s buses, that reads,
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Islamic Jihad.”
Initially, the MTA refused the ad because it was deemed offensive and unbalanced. It also ridiculously creates the assumption that all Palestinians are Muslim, and that all Muslims are terrorists, which is a perception that does nothing but fuel existing stereotypes about Muslims and Arabs, and showing nothing less than pure ignorance. The ad is extremely insulting, and the MTA I think made the right decision by rejecting it. Unfortunately, the rejection didn’t go well with the AFDI, and the issue went to court, where the MTA’s decision was overturned. It is these wrong and misleading messages that showcase a truly aggressive point of view that I think is the primary hindrance to progress on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
What can I say, there’s still so much to be done. It seems like every time we almost take a step forward, we are pushed 5 steps back..