US-Israel relationship questioned in I-83 billboard

STRINESTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – The “I” in I-83 might stand for international relations on one stretch of York County.

Northbound drivers between York and Harrisburg can get a glimpse of an unusual billboard tucked between trees on the left-hand side of the road near the Strinestown exit.

It calls attention to the USS Liberty, an American ship attacked by Israel in 1967. The words “attacked by Israel” are prominent on the billboard.

It hopes to drive traffic to HonorLibertyVets.org. The website raises questions about America’s closest ally in the Middle East.

Another billboard that recently ran in the Midstate focused on the $10 million-a-day America gives Israel. It directed viewers to IfAmericansKnew.org. Alison Weir, a former newspaper editor in Northern California, created the website and placed the billboards.

“We have given tiny Israel far more of our tax money than we’ve given to any other country on Earth,” said Weir, who said she is neither Jewish nor Palestinian.

The billboards caught the attention of state lawmakers.

“In my humble opinion, it’s to incite anti-Semitic behavior and that’s a shame,” Representative Seth Grove (R-York) said.

Grove was one of 14 Pennsylvania legislators to sign a letter denouncing the billboards, saying IfAmericansKnew is trying to “incite anti-Israel sentiment within our region.”

The letter also asked Weir to remove the billboards from Pennsylvania roadways, concluding “the conversation concerning international diplomacy is the purview of the federal government and states should not interfere.”

Weir says she put the billboards up in four states to raise awareness. Americans, she says, are uninformed or misinformed about atrocities resulting from the US-Israeli relationship. She’s disturbed by what she calls the mistreatment of Palestinians that is mostly ignored by Americans and American media. She says she’s also disturbed that lawmakers would try to silence a healthy discussion on the topic.

“We all know in our Republic, in a Democracy, it’s essential that we all get involved in government. If we think there are policies that are misguided, we should very publicly object,” Weir said. “It’s my view that Americans should have the full facts on this issue. This (support for Israel), like any important issue, should be done with the voters authorization and it should be discussed.”

But Grove said the billboard placement makes no sense. International diplomacy tucked along a highway in York County is the wrong message in the wrong place.

“I think we need to maintain our ally and our friendship with Israel,” Grove said.

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