London Billboard, Public Transport Agencies Reject Pro-Israel Ad Campaign as ‘Too Controversial’
The British Zionist Federation (ZF) on Monday said several London-based companies have turned down ads for an over $19,000 campaign promoting Israel, in the wake of the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas missile salvos and attack tunnels from Gaza.
“During Protective Edge,” according to ZF Director, Alan Aziz, “we heard over and over again from our supporters that they wished there was some way to get Israel’s message out to the general public, given the inability of the media to explain how Israel was doing the best it could to avoid civilian casualties whilst facing a vicious terrorist enemy.
“This inability bolstered the perception that Israel was committing ‘war crimes’ and ‘massacres’ – misconceptions that directly fueled the explosion of antisemitism we experienced this summer,” Aziz emphasized in a statement.
However, Transport for London (TfL), as well as several local billboard companies, all refused to take ZF on as a client for the campaign, terming the ads as “too political.”
According to the advocacy group, “the decision to launch the advertising campaign was made in response to the unprecedented level of anti-Israel hostility in the UK following the start of the Gaza conflict.”
The posters were designed to show similarities between Hamas and other terrorist groups such as ISIS.
“This would place Israel’s actions in the context of the wider struggle against religious extremism in the Middle East,” according to ZF.
The campaign “would clearly and memorably make the case that Hamas represents the same brand of evil as ISIS, and Israelis therefore have no choice but to defend themselves from these fanatics,” Aziz pointed out.
However, TfL rejected the concept behind the ads as “too controversial.”
ZF then turned to suppliers for billboards throughout the country, who initially accepted the idea, but then turned down increasingly watered down versions of the ads.
One ad featured a time bomb sitting on a breakfast table, “meant to symbolize the everyday nature of the terrorist threat Israel faces.” That version was deemed too provocative due to the bomb. They removed the bomb, only to be told that “one without the bomb would also be unacceptable.”
In a final insult, they eventually told ZF that no billboards were available in London to display the ads.
“We are very disappointed that these adverts were rejected,” Aziz said, “especially given the prominence of DEC’s Gaza Appeal adverts which appeared on the underground and buses, adverts which inadvertently supported the notion that Israel was waging a war on innocent children rather than targeting a terrorist infrastructure.”