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February 21, 2016 12:55 pm

Chicago Billboard Calling for Israel Boycott to Be Taken Down Following Barrage of Complaints

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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An sign calling for the boycott of Israel. The billboard will be removed after sparking criticism from supporters of Israel. Photo: Facebook.

The billboard in Chicago that has sparked outrage among Israel supporters. Photo: Facebook.

An advertising company announced on Thursday that it will take down an anti-Israel billboard in Chicago, following complaints from supporters of the Jewish state calling for a removal of the offensive sign.

The billboard, funded by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SEAMAC), declared, “Boycott Israel until Palestinians have equal rights,” and included a link to an anti-Israel website. The banner was an initiative of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which is supported by SEAMAC.

The sign was posted by the Lamar Advertising Company on a major highway in the Windy City.

One Twitter user, who called the sign “racist,” posted the advertising agency’s phone number, encouraging people to call and demand the sign’s removal. Maya Roseman told Chicago’s CBS 2 she was “shocked” by the billboard.

“When you put up a billboard or a sign or an advertisement that says ‘Boycott Israel,’ it’s really a mask,” she said. “You’re really saying ‘boycott Jews.'”

On Thursday, Lamar Advertising announced it would take down the offending message, writing on Facebook that after receiving “a large number of social media comments and hundreds of telephone calls” concerning the billboard, it has decided to remove the advertisement “as soon as possible.” The company said it had tried contacting SEAMAC to “discuss the issues,” but received no response to calls or emails.

“It is important to understand that this is a message from SEAMAC and not Lamar Advertising,” the company added. “We think SEAMAC has a right to present their views and would also support the right of those who disagree with SEAMAC.”

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  • nat cheiman

    BDS are going to see their backsides soon. People are tired of morons and halfwits attempting to call the shots. These idiots flee from muslim countries and then act big deal in their host countries.
    Am I looking forward to Trump kicking their asses out

  • Not a word about the poster from liberal Dumborat & Obummer intimate Rahm Emanuel ??

  • Mickey Oberman

    That Lamar Advertising erected that disgraceful billboard speaks eloquently of the immorality of the company.

  • stevenl

    What about boycotting this advertisement company. Just a pay back. SEAMAC obviously support RACISM!
    The real problem is the lack of seriousness from the West when it comes to convince the Pal that a one Palestinian state solution will never BE!
    For 68 years IL has accepted a TSS and the the Muslim world with the overt or covert support of the West have decided to ignore it, trying to chip away, year after year, at the needs of Israel security.

  • enufizenuz

    What kind of Jews allowed the billboard to stand for even 24 hours?

  • J. Wayne Watson

    We should all be boycotting all Islamic countries that live by Sharia law! That law is against women, ALL other religions but Islam and promotes war, murder, hate, and cruelty. Why would anyone put up with this nonsense? Boycott those horrific, backward, 6th century demons!!

  • david freilich

    Apart from this misunderstanding by Lamar, it is a reputable company, and to its credit quickly acted to remedy its mistake.

    • Michael Mulcahy

      A year or so we had a similar situation. One of our local pro-Pakestinian Arab activists purchased a billboard and put up a blood libel (BDS with photo of bloody child). Despite numerous calls and letters to the advertising company, we were unable to get them to take down the image. They said it was a free-speech issue, and they would not censor their customer, or even contact her and request she withdraw it. We wondered if the same free-speech argument would be used if the bilboard had promoted, say child molesting rather than murder supposedly done by Jews. Yes, free speech is a neccessary shield, but a private company has room to reject the offensive. After our experience, I have to praise Lamar Advertising for their response.

  • Miri

    The question is not whether SEAMAC is responsible or Lamar Advertising is, but why Lamar Advertising thought it was a good idea to advertise this to begin with. One has to wonder if it said “Boycott Arabs” or “Boycott Palestinians / Palestine” they would advertise it at all or say it was unacceptable to them.
    While I don’t expect advertising agencies to be pillars of virtue, they should show a little humanity and think for themselves what seems appropriate and what doesn’t. Obviously the executives at Lamar think more about the income they can make from SEAMAC than the message their company has taken on to advertise.
    Shame on them.

  • Janice Kenner


  • SteveHC

    If Lamar executives cannot bring themselve to publicly state that the company henceforth will not accept such advertising then consideratiin shoukd be given to boycotting that ad agency and others that emoliy its services.

  • Cheryl Jacobs Lewin

    That heinous billboard should nevet have been allowed in the first place. Lamar Adverising reps and execs need to go back to school.