WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- More billboards dealing with Israel and Islam could be going up this week at Metro-North train stations in Westchester.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative submitted ads to the Metropolitan Transit Authority Wednesday that call for the end of U.S. aid to Islamic states.
The campaign is in response to the American Muslims for Palestine ads that went up Monday, said Pamela Geller, co-founder of AFDI. Those pro-Palestine posters, currently up at a few stations, including White Plains and Ossining, read: “Americans Give Israel $3 Billion Per Year! End Apartheid Now! Stop U.S. Aid To Israel.”
“It is important to point out that it is these campaigns that were the impetus for the AFDI pro-Israel and #MyJihad campaigns. I can assure you that this latest Goebbels-style demonization of the Jews will not go unanswered," Geller said in an email.
The idea that the pro-Palestine campaign required pushback with opposing messages is not necessarily supported by all in the Jewish community, however.
Elliott Forchheimer of the Westchester Jewish Council said, "A true and lasting peace will not be achieved via 'Billboard wars' but rather through a negotiated settlement in which all parties agree that a future of peace for our children is worth the sacrifices of today."
The AFDI also put up anti-Islam posters in 39 New York City Subway tunnels in January and, prior to that, others in Westchester Metro-North stations in August 2012 that read: “19,250 Islamic Attacks since 9/11, It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.” At the time, the Hastings Board of Trustees, including Mayor Peter Swiderski, condemned the billboard as hateful in a village-wide email. Geller defends the statements in the ads, in both cases, as free speech.
Geller said she is waiting for the transit authority to approve the ads and would consider a lawsuit if they are rejected.