By COLlive reporter
Hundreds of people have expressed outrage over a billboard in Chicago which calls for a boycott of Israel.
The billboard, sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SEAMAC), reads “Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Have Equal Rights.”
The billboard is part of a campaign which is being advertised in “multi-cities,” according to the SEAMAC Facebook page, including Seattle and Chicago.
The ad in Chicago is displayed on a billboard owned by Lamar Advertising, a publically traded company founded in 1902 and one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in North America, with more than 315,000 displays across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, according to their website.
The billboard has prompted “a large number” of comments and phone complaints to the Lamar company, according to a post on their Facebook page on Thursday.
The Lamar Company, while pointing out that the ad “is a message from SEAMAC and not Lamar Advertising,” will allow the billboard to remain, they say in their post.
“Lamar has been in the billboard business for over 100 years and we have developed a strong commitment to supporting the First Amendment right of advertisers who wish to use our medium to promote legal products and services or to convey noncommercial messages such as the one in Chicago,” the post reads.
“We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented. We think SEAMAC has a right to present their views,” they said.
Comments have expressed outrage, disappointment and disbelief in the Lamar Company’s choosing to continue to display the advertisement.
A commenter named Brett Abrams wrote, “You just lost the business of every Jewish owned business and organization in Chicago, for a minimal fee. Not only have you painted your business as anti-Semitic, you are also absolute morons for not seeing the larger picture and opportunity to stand up to this sort of hate. How’s that for free speech?”
“Would you allow a billboard to display other hate speech such as a depiction of the KKK suggesting to support white businesses and boycott African American business? Of course you would not, and this is the same thing. This billboard calls for the economic destruction of Israel. Your first amendment sorry excuse is simply not good enough. It’s time you take a stand and do what is morally right. REMOVE THIS BILLBOARD,” wrote commenter Mark Binshtok.