PA State Legislators Oppose Billboards Honoring USS Liberty Vets: Take Action!
ACTION ALERT – Fourteen Pennsylvania State Assembly Members signed a letter demanding that billboards honoring USS Liberty veterans be removed because they gave facts about Israel that the legislators wished suppressed. You may wish to contact them about this!
Below is our press release with the facts about this and a link where you can see the billboards and the letter that Friends of the Liberty sent to each assembly member (scroll down).
You may wish to email and/or phone the legislators and ask that they represent Americans, not Israel, and work for rational, moral U.S. policies. (Please keep your message concise and courteous.)
100th Legislative District
105th Legislative District
94th Legislative District
101th Legislative District
93rd Legislative District
87th Legislative District
92nd Legislative District
196th Legislative District
89th Legislative District
193rd Legislative District
169th Legislative District
28th Senatorial District
15th Senatorial District
95th Legislative District
The following press release was sent to all media outlets in the area:
State lawmakers object to billboards honoring Navy veterans, questioning US foreign aid
Groups outraged at ‘attack’ on free speech
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org / 202-631-4060
Fourteen Pennsylvania House of Representatives members from South Central Pennsylvania are demanding that billboards they deem critical of Israel be removed from area highways.
“We are appalled that Pennsylvania lawmakers are taking time away from their duties representing the people of Pennsylvania to attack free speech and oppose American veterans,” says Alison Weir, representative of groups that placed the billboards. The lawmakers sent a letter to Weir calling for their removal.
The billboard currently up on the Northbound 83 near the Strinestown exit reads: “Help The USS Liberty Survivors Attacked by Israel,” and directs viewers to the website HonorLibertyVets.org. The billboard is scheduled to run throughMay 24, and the same sign was up near a different exit from March 28 – April 28 and from November 30 – January 25.
The billboard refers to a 1967 incident in which Israeli forces perpetrated a sustained air and sea attack on the USS Liberty, a U.S. Navy electronics surveillance ship, killing 34 Americans and injuring 174. Liberty crew and family members are still seeking a full, public investigation into the assault (normally standard practice for such an attack). Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Four-Star Admiral Thomas Moorer notably backed the call for investigation.
Four of the sailors killed and eight who survived were from Pennsylvania.
The second billboard mentioned by the state legislators stated: “$10 million a day to Israel? Our money is needed in America! / Get the Facts at StopTheBlankCheck.org * Paid for by IfAmericansKnew.org.” This billboard, located on the Northbound 83 near the Lewisberry exit, was scheduled from December 21, 2015 through January 21 of this year.
Weir replied with her own letter to the lawmakers. “Rather than playing politics with our veterans and favoring the foreign country that attacked them, please support these veterans and their families,” she writes.
The lawmakers’ letter calls the U.S. aid to Israel an “investment.”
“This is disingenuous: Congress itself refers to the money as ‘aid’ and ‘assistance,’” writes Weir. She quotes Paul Pillar, of the National Intelligence Council, who says: “The U.S. aid is a subsidy for Israeli taxpayers, paid for by American taxpayers.”
On average, Weir points out, Israelis get 7,000 times more U.S. money per capita than other people around the world. Weir says that Israel has lower unemployment and a better trade balance than the U.S.
She cites experts who say U.S. policies towards Israel only make matters worse and argues that it perpetuates a cycle of violence that endangers Israelis, Palestinians and others.
In their letter to Weir, the representatives also wrote that “international diplomacy is the purview of the federal government and states should not interfere.”
Weir says she is shocked at the lawmakers’ implication that Pennsylvanians should not “interfere” in federal policies.
On the contrary, she writes: “It is the right of every American to learn the facts on American policies, and it is our duty to object when we feel policies are wrong. This is the basis of our republic and the core issue of democracy. As many commentators have aptly noted: ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty.’”
The lawmakers’ initiative was spearheaded by Representative Seth Grove of Dover, who went on a junket to Israel last year organized by the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, whose website lists “supporting Israel” among its activities.
Both letters and photos of the billboards can be seen at: http://ifamericansknew.org/media/pabillboards.html
Weir is executive director of the nonprofit If Americans Knew, which placed the “$10 million” billboard. If Americans Knew is the fiscal sponsor for another group, Friends of the Liberty, which put up the USS Liberty billboard. Weir is also a member of Friends of the Liberty.