Anti-Israel billboard causing controversy in Detroit

The billboard reads "America First Not Israel" and says it was paid for by Deir Yassin Remembered, Inc.

October 26, 2015 09:36
1 minute read.

A photo of the billboard reading "America first, not Israel" placed on 8 Mile Road in Detroit. (photo credit: COURTESY DEIR YASSIN REMEMBERD INC. WEBSITE)

A billboard in the Michigan city of Detroit that reads “America First Not Israel” is arousing accusations anti-Semitism.

The large sign, placed on the city’s 8 Mile Road, was paid for by “Deir Yassin Remembered,” a New York-based organization that has been posting similar signs throughout the country.

Although the metro-Detroit area has one of the largest Arab populations outside the Middle East, as well as a sizable Jewish community, the sign was placed in a part of the city that is neither predominantly Jewish nor Muslim.

In an interview with Detroit’s WXYZ radio, a Fox News affiliate, the Anti-Defamation League’s Heidi Budaj said that the ad and its choice of location is trying to “drive a wedge between the American people and the State of Israel.”

“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,” Budaj said. “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.”

The website of Deir Yassin Remembered, Inc. lists its mailing address under the name of Daniel A. McGowan, a professor emeritus of economics at Hobart and William Smith colleges.

The battle of Deir Yassin, a village on the western outskirts of Jerusalem, was one of the most controversial of the War of Independence. It took place in April 1948, one month before the State of Israel was declared. A study by Bir Zeit University, based on discussions with each family from the village, arrived at a figure of 107 Arab civilians dead and 12 wounded, in addition to 13 combatants killed. The New York Times said more than 40 were captured and 70 women and children were released. No hint of a massacre appeared in the report.

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