I ride the metro to work at the ungodly hour of 5:45 each morning. I sit there, and when I am not busy staring at the people around me, I read the posters displayed throughout the cabin and at the various stations. There is a kind of inner peace that I find during these rides, moments to reflect before the busy day, and to think tranquil thoughts.
However, this morning, staring at me in four DC-area metros were the most disgusting ads I have ever seen posted about Israel. They undermine the purpose of the state and what it stands for on a very fundamental level, and they make me embarrassed and infuriated. In large letters, these ads read “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel Defeat Jihad.”
I support Israel. I believe that Israel is a light unto the nations, and that it is a country with moral integrity. I have argued, protested, and spent countless hours in defense of Israel on college campuses, at debates, and while marching in Washington, D.C.
I also believe that these posters — “paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative” — are extremely effective anti-Israel posters.
To call another people “savage,” and to post these phrases publicly, gives light to a racist trend in some misguided pro-Israel camps. Calling Muslims savages does not make Israel look good; claiming that the only way to fight Islam is through support of “the civilized man” only gives credence to those who claim that Zionism is a modern form of colonialism. It isn’t. Anyone who cares about Israel should demand that these ads be taken down.
Is this really the best we can do? In light of the violent protests, the terrorism, and the fear spreading throughout the Middle East, Israel and its supporters should be preaching love and compassion. We should be demonstrating moral superiority, or at least not reveling in the failings of others. We can do better, and in order to win the PR battle that is waged daily for Israel, we must do better.
How about posting ads with pictures of peaceful protests in Israel that “erupted” last year? How about posters expressing condolences for the tragic loss of life of US public servants in the latest Arab protests? How about posters supporting the work that Israel has done throughout the world in instances of disaster? Or better yet, how about we remain silent? How about we let this opportunity to say “haha” pass, and focus on the issues that really matter?
For the first time in my life I am embarrassed to be pro-Israel, and I hope that these ads are removed soon, and that this complete abuse of what it means to “support Israel” disappears. When metro riders are confronted with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posters, The American Freedom Defense Initiative will have no one to blame but themselves.