March , 2019

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CHICAGO, IL – Just a few weeks from the April 15 deadline to file federal tax returns, the American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization based in Palos Hills, IL, placed electronic billboards asking the provocative question: “Have you declared Israel a dependent on your tax returns?”

The ad, which ran last year in Washington DC and is slated later for Times Square in New York City, says Americans are “sweating April 15 so Israelis don’t have to,” and calls for an end to US aid to the Israeli occupation.

They can be seen on digital billboards at I-294 and 95th Street and I-294 and Southwest Highway through April 19.

The ad’s message comes at a time when the relationship between the United States and Israel is more than strained due to Mr. Netanyahu circumventing official diplomatic protocol and the White House when he delivered a speech to Congress on March 3. The strain was heightened by Mr. Netanyahu’s pre-election claim that he would never allow for a Palestinian state. The White House also criticized the prime minister for his undemocratic appeal to Israeli Jewish voters to cast their ballots to overcome the “hordes” of Arabs who were voting, saying the US would “reassess” its peace policies with Israel. Though he backtracked on some of these comments on US news networks after the Israeli election, President Obama rejected the attempt, according to the Washington Post.

“The US is obligated to give Israel more than $3 billion per year in foreign aid and those funds are used to maintain Israeli policies that contravene international law and Palestinians’ human rights,” said Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid, AMP national coordinator and expert political analyst. “We’ve always known that Israel doesn’t want peace with Palestinians. Now we have the proof. So why is the US still sending billions of our hard-earned tax money to a state, which does not uphold democratic principles?”

Indeed. US foreign aid to Israel surpassed the foreign military financing of $3.1 billion per year. There also are grants from the Department of Defense for missile defense systems; free and reduced-cost weaponry and also loan guarantees that amount to billions more.

By linking US aid to Israel to the April 15 tax deadline, AMP is hoping to raise awareness of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, and its total blockade of Gaza, both of which violate the Fourth Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In so doing, Israeli policies supported by US tax money also directly oppose American values of justice, liberty and freedom.

“Our unconditional support of these Israeli policies weakens America’s moral position throughout the world and threatens our own national security,” Dr. Abu Irshaid said. “We are asking Congress and the State Department to withhold US Aid until Israel complies with international law and ends the occupation, lifts the siege on Gaza, allows Palestinian refugees the right to return home and affords Palestinian citizens of Israel equal rights. It is the American thing to do.”

Learn more about US aid to Israel and what $3 billion per year could buy Americans here at home.

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