There is NO valid reason that the (dis)organized Jewish community cannot respond effectively to the digital billboard exhorting motorists on westbound I-96 to lobby Congress to end aid to Israel. Money is no object. It is backbone and conviction that are the lacking resources in our community.
The billboard, which according to the Arab American News, will change location every three months, appears to be the brainchild of a few groups united by their seething racism against the Jewish state, including Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, whose nine years of harassing Jewish worshipers at Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor is documented in photos at the website FEH.
Another of the backers of this project said his organization, Deir Yassin Remembered “helped to initiate this billboard in the hope that others will continue to speak to Zionist power that drains American treasure and blood for the benefit of an apartheid state. This billboard is a symbol that blind support of racist Israel is antithetical to basic American values.”
Hateful words. Dangerous words. Lies. And lies left unchallenged become accepted as truth.
So what is the Jewish communal response? From all the organizations and synagogues and rabbis who hold themselves out to be champions of Israel and the Jewish people? From our Federation and its JCRC? From the ZOA and all those groups who recently hosted “Judeophobia” to warn us of the alarming acceleration of the scourge of anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism? Easy to talk the talk in the confines of a Jewish community theater; true leadership requires walking the walk to confront challenges and defend against danger.
Thirty-nine rabbis recently wrote a letter to the Jewish News flaunting their Zionist bonafides as a defense against harmful outreach to radical Islamists in our midst. Where are those proudly Zionist rabbis now? Where is the collective outrage? Where are the op-eds in our metro Detroit dailies? Doing nothing does something very menacing. It sends a signal of weakness, of apathy. Of a people that has not learned that “sha – be still” does not avert evil.
Our community had better quickly come to the realization that we are placing our trust and protection in a Wizard of Oz delusion – pull back the curtain and there is nothing there.
Shame on our community that we don’t have the strength or moral fortitude of Rita Tilley of Bay City, a Christian lover of Israel and freedom and justice, who spent her nest egg to publicly proclaim solidarity with the Jewish State.
Tilley, a Christian who has never been to Israel, said she started contacting billboard companies, and was undeterred even after one told her they didn’t want to be involved in a “political” message, saying they only did strict advertising…Finally, she found another company that gave her an affordable price.”
Tilley put up the $2,500 for the two-month display of a billboard on southbound I-75 near Saginaw and Bay City this past fall. The billboard she helped design featured two crossed American and Israeli flags and read: “Stand with Israel our friend and ally.” We the People of Mid-Michigan, the local tea party with which she is active, provided organizational sponsorship. Tilley said she was inspired to show her support for Israel by Glenn Beck’s Restoring Courage extravaganza in Israel and his appeals to Americans to stand with Israel.
What a heartwarming gesture of friendship and support for Israel from a woman of such modest means, yet rich in what means the most.
Surely, our Federation alone, could easily underwrite such an effort. And so could any one of the myriad organizations who fundraise in our community to ostensibly support Israel.
Talking Tachlis hopes they put their mouths where our money is!!