Now they are getting in my face.
In my neighborhood, or my haven, away from obnoxious, law-breaking pro-Arab activists, a billboard sponsored by an Arab/Muslim group emerges ahead for motorists traveling south on Bustleton Avenue that posts the words, in black print, “Don’t stop talking about … ” followed below in blood-red larger print: “PALESTINE.”
And below “Palestine,” in smaller green print: “End the Siege on Gaza.”
My imaginary billboard would proclaim: Please end the propaganda siege on me.
The people they purport to represent triggered the present conflict on Oct. 7 with the massacre of 1,200 Israelis and kidnapping of 240 more, and they are blaming Israel? In Philadelphia and other American cities, pro-Palestinian activists level their accusations against Israel while blockading roads and bridges and accusing Jews of being Nazis.
It is stomach-churning enough to follow events in Gaza and southern Israel, and it is nearly as difficult to learn of the highway blockades and harassment of Jewish college students taking place in my city. Moving the rhetoric to the Northeast is kind of like rubbing my nose in the muck of this war.
What do I find wrong with this billboard? The three top reasons: Location! Location! Location! Northeast Philly comprises the largest Jewish population within city limits. The billboard was set up at the most distinctive intersection along Bustleton where it converges with Castor Avenue. The intersection is a block from a mostly Jewish senior housing facility.
Many Israel-bashers insist that they are not antisemitic, yet the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations raises the issue in a Jewish community that is not solely concerned about Israel. Nor is it a city in Israel. No doubt that many Northeast Jews are concerned about Israel, but the Northeast is neither consumed by Israel nor was the community built around the question of Israel.
If CAIR and other pro-Arab groups do not act out of antisemitic, why bring the debate here?
I live a few miles north by circumstance, but I enjoy the advantage of living in a tranquil if sleepy community since most political crosswinds blow downtown. Now these friends of the Palestinians must bring the ugliest of those crosswinds up my way.
While Palestinians have legitimate grievances, one would never know it from listening to their advocates in cities like Philly. This billboard’s messaging is consistent with their usual rhetoric: Threatening, confusing words that require an interpreter to explain.
What does it mean to “stop talking about Palestine?” What are they telling us? Why should we talk about Palestine at all?
The key word in this posting is “Palestine.” What is Palestine? There is a “Palestine” in Illinois and another in Texas, but no sovereign entity by that name exists in the Middle East. “Palestine” is widely regarded as Arab land that would supplant Israel and its territories. That means all of Israel, not merely Gaza and the West Bank.
Neither does it explain the “Siege on Gaza.” Likely the “siege” takes a number of forms – certainly the current Israeli military response that Hamas claims has killed 25,000 Gazans. They probably also mean pre-Oct. 7 blockades and comprehensive inspections of goods going in and out of Gaza.
Israel needed to take such steps for security purposes. This is common knowledge. In addition, Hamas took advantage of admission of Gazans who spied for Hamas while working in southern Israel. They returned to Gaza with intelligence that helped Hamas plan its invasion.
The billboard was first spotted by this writer the day after New Year’s Day, and it remains three weeks later when I passed it again on Monday, Jan. 22.
Most conspicuous for its absence was any mention of the 100-plus hostages still in Gaza or any condemnation of the Oct. 7 attacks.
Bruce S. Ticker
A heartbeat away
A recent editorial compared Biden to Trump. I will not respond to his points. My opinion is the author wrote this for one of the following reasons:
• A blind devotion to one party
• An extreme hatred of Trump
• Likes to stir up controversy to get attention
• All the above (my guess)
He may want to revisit the one that Biden lowered gas prices.
The reality is when Trump was president, whether you approved of him or not, he was the president. Biden is a front. Third-term Obama and the party bosses are calling the shots. Ideal situations for them, make all the decisions behind the scenes. Why do you think they campaigned for him and funded his run for presidency?
The sad thing is we are down to the same two. Three-hundred and thirty million people and this is the best we have. Before you pull the lever for Biden, think if he does not make it through a term, Harris becomes president. Wow.
Anthony Dello Russo