Last year, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, was hogging the limelight in the metro stations and subway trains of New York. Their well-funded adverts, accused by many of being racist and Islamophobic, tried to convince commuters that a vote against the highly influential Jewish lobby was a vote for “savages”.
The signs, using quotes from the Qur’an out of context and stirring fears into American hearts and minds, were designed to equate only Israel to “civilization”.
But the Defense Initiative is not the only organization to harness the power of the ordinary American citizen. Visualizing Palestine, a multidisciplinary collective using graphics to get their message about the occupation across, has got in on the action.
Working with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the image-makers have come up with a new way to shed light on the issue of Palestine.
Their posters, now up across the U.S. capital, have a hard-hitting tag line: “Invest in our future. Not in Israel’s occupation”, they read. The signs refer to the $30billion that the U.S. has sent Israel over the past decade to fund weapons used by the Defense Forces, often against Palestinians.
"They're going up in metro stations, so we're targeting citizens of DC but also White House staffers and anyone who partakes in policy decisions,” Ahmad Barclay, lead information architect tells us.
The adverts have been timed to coincide with the new U.S. budget, which included cuts across the board.
“We thought that they'd [U.S. citizens] be more concerned with domestic issues than foreign policy so that's what we've gone for. There are so many domestic issues that the $30billion could be spent on,” Ahmad adds.
The team claim that the signs are not a response to the “Support Israel, defeat Jihad” posters that went up in New York last September. Instead they are a way of bringing attention to the plight of Palestinian communities.
Despite using a domestic issue in their campaign, the organizers of Visualizing Palestine say they are hopeful that Americans are changing their stance on Israel:
“There's something in the U.S. narrative where they want to fight for the underdogs. They want to fight for the oppressed. When the narrative moves away from nationalism and religion and into human rights and people, then things will change,” Ahmad tells us.
Although there are no concrete plans for another set of adverts, the team is planning to continue the war of words by working with other organizations to keep momentum going for the future.
What do you think about the adverts? Are they a good way to target U.S. citizens or will the idea never take off? Share your thoughts with us below.
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