Battle of Israel Billboards Roils Montana

Just 1,350 Jews — But Big Fight in Big Sky Country


By JTA

Published July 18, 2013.

The capital of Montana has become the site of a billboard battle over American support for Israel.

The Helena Service for Peace and Justice put two billboards up at key traffic intersections at the end of May with the message, “Tell Congress: Spend Our Money At Home Not on the Israeli Military.”

Now the pro-Israel group StandWithUs is countering with two billboards of its own, one which went up on July 15 and one slated to go up July 22.

“We cannot let hostile messages, with their deceptive, velvet-gloved rhetoric, influence unsuspecting commuters,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said in a statement.

The StandWithUs billboards read, “The U.S.-Israel Relationship Creates Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs in America” and “Israel Celebrates Diversity.”

“We’re focusing on Israel as not many people realize $8 million tax dollars a day goes to the Israeli military,” Service for Peace and Justice founder Frank Kromkowski told the Helena Independent Record. “We would like to change Israel’s behavior [toward the Palestinians].”

The Service for Peace and Justice billboards have been put up in conjunction with the Coalition to Stop 30 Billion to Israel, an organization that advocates ending American military aid to Israel.

The Helena billboards come after a similar battle in Missoula, Mont., where StandWithUs partnered with Congregation Har Shalom to counter similar billboards criticizing American military aid to the Jewish state.

Montana had 1,350 Jewish residents as of 2010. A study that year placed Montana as forty-second among states for number of Jews per 100,000 residents.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/07/18/news-opinion/united-states/billboard-battle-over-israel-heats-up-in-montana#ixzz2ZOXUocyH



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