The following is a press release from the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC). The photo is by Peter Lippman. For more information about this campaign, visit www.stop30billion-Seattle.org
Billboard campaign and protest event: Seattle supports Equal Rights for Palestinians
Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) has launched a billboard campaign as part of a continuing effort to expose the misuse of U.S. taxpayer money to support Israel’s ongoing discrimination against the Palestinian people.
With the slogan “EQUAL RIGHTS FOR PALESTINIANS – Stop Funding the Israeli Military,” the first two billboards are going up on Elliott Ave West, just north of West Lee St, and on Lake City Way NE, just south of NE 104th St. (Higher resolution photo available on request.)
The billboards follow SeaMAC’s Metro bus ad campaign launched last December: “ISRAELI WAR CRIMES: Your Tax Dollars At Work,” which was first approved, accepted and printed, then suddenly cancelled by King County. With legal representation by the ACLU, SeaMAC has filed a lawsuit against King County for violating SeaMAC’s constitutional rights by refusing to honor a contract to run the ads.
“We always planned to follow our bus ad campaign with additional messages in other venues. We had this Equal Rights banner designed before we launched our ‘Israeli War Crimes’ campaign in December,” says Mark Eichinger-Wiese, recent chair of the SeaMAC steering committee. “Israel continues to use military force to maintain occupation, apartheid and imprisonment, and US military aid to Israel is an ongoing obstacle to justice and peace.”
Israel controls the lives of over five million Palestinians, most of whom have neither voting rights, political rights or civil rights. Israel has separate sets of laws, rights and opportunities for people of different ethnic groups. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are denied basic civil rights. Palestinians citizens of Israel are subject to segregation and discrimination, with central provisions of Israel’s Basic Law explicitly denying equal status to non-Jews. The US gives several billion dollars of military aid to Israel each year, and has promised $30 billion of aid over the next ten years. Israel recently asked for an additional $20 billion in aid.
A vigil and protest at Westlake Plaza will be held on Sunday May 15, from 12:00 to 5:00 pm.
A theatrical display of over 100 small tents inscribed with the names of destroyed Palestinian villages will commemorate and protest the events of 1948, when two-thirds of the indigenous Palestinian people were forcibly displaced and over 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed. The new state of Israel created laws to prevent the return of those Palestinians after the war, and now Palestinians are one of the largest and longest-suffering refugee populations in the world. To describe these events, Palestinians use the word “Nakba” which means “catastrophe.” Today, Palestinians continue to be driven off their land to make room for illegal Israeli settlements. The May 15 Nakba event is co-organized by Palestine Solidarity Committee, Voices of Palestine, and Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign.
The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign is incorporated in Washington State.