In the United States of America, government has no authority to censor the press. Why then is the news media so unwilling to report the news when it reflects badly on the Israeli lobby? When Muslims wanted to boycott Denmark over the cartoons insulting Muhammad it was considered big news, but when an American advertising company breaks its contract with a paid customer because the supporters of continued pillaging of the American taxpayer in order to fund the illegal Israeli occupation donâ€™t want the other side to have their say, we get dead silence.
When I received a press release issued by the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, I googled for a news media report on the story. There was none. Surprised? The coalition paid Lamar Outdoor Advertising for the billboard to be run for eight weeks. Within three weeks it was taken down. According to the coalition, â€œThe design of the billboard had been approved by Lamar and the billboardsâ€™ wording and final image were suggested by Lamarâ€™s graphics designer.â€
The press release explains: â€œOn April 8th, the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel erected the billboards throughout the Albuquerque area in order to inform the public about the misuse of their tax dollars, denominated in human lives. The group was motivated by concern for the Palestinian people who had recently been subjected to a massive invasion of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military. Over 1,400 Palestinians â€“ mostly civilian, including three hundred children â€“ were killed and over 5,000 were injured. In 2007 the Bush administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Israel over a ten-year period beginning in 2008. The majority of these dollars will be used to purchase American-made weapons.
â€œAccording to information from Lamar, it appears that pro-Israel groups may have conducted a campaign to pressure Lamar to remove the billboards. The Coalition believes this is a deliberate attempt to silence its right to free speech because the humanitarian message of the billboards supports equal rights for the Palestinian people, thereby necessitating criticism of Israel.â€
The dispute between Lamar and the Coalition is a matter of contract law, not central to the mission of this organization. However, the fact that the American media jumps to make hay out of Muslim sensitivity to anti-Muslim propaganda while covering up the debate over the propriety of using money taken with the threat if force from American taxpayers to defend foreign apartheid and aggression which they do not necessarily support (indeed might vehemently oppose if they were allowed to be aware of it) is of direct interest to us. If the mainstream media doesn’t want the American public to know whatâ€™s happening in the world, it is up to us to make it known.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute