A group that contends Israel has essentially locked Palestinians into an open prison and that Americans are paying for it, has placed a billboard in east Orange County denouncing American financial support for Israel.
The group, If Americans Knew, has placed the billboard reading “$10 MILLION A DAY TO ISRAEL? Our money is needed in America!” on University Boulevard, just outside of Winter Park and across the street from the Full Sail University campus.
It’s one of 10 billboards the group has placed nationally in the past month, as part of its ongoing campaign to promote an end to U.S. support for Israel, according to Alison Weir, founder and executive director of the San Diego-based group. Others have gone up in Detroit and Kansas City, and in California and Pennsylvania.
Weir described her 14-year-old group as “pro-American, pro-human rights for everyone, pro-people.”
But the Anti-Defamation League calls the group an “anti-Israel propagandist” organization with a history of support for people with anti-Semitic histories. “They’re designed to … demonize the Jewish state. The billboards are basically an extension to what Alison Weir has dedicated her life to doing,” said Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism.
The $10 million per day is a reference to the about $3.1 billion in military aid that the United States provided to Israel in 2015.
Weir said most Americans have no idea the United States is giving Israel that much money and would be shocked to find out, which is the point of the billboards. She also said polls suggest Americans want the U.S. to support Israel and Palestinians equally. She cited two 2014 NBC News/Wall Street Journal Polls that backed that up.
She contended Israel is not a U.S. ally, contending, “We don’t have any alliance with it; if we did, Israel would be obligated to do things in return for the United States, which has not happened.”
Segal called Weir a longtime, prominent voice in the anti-Israel movement, who views the U.S.-Israel relationship “as bad for everybody.”
“Of course, it’s distorting historical fact. It’s possible there is an effect,” from the billboards, he said, “which is why people spend their money on advertising. It’s an attempt to drive a wedge between the American people and Israel.”
Segal said the Orlando billboard’s location, across the street from Full Sail and just down the road from the University of Central Florida, appears strategic. “A lot of people, including most of the prominent anti-Israel activists, definitely view campuses as a place they are targeting.”