America First? Not in New York and New Jersey

Deir Yassin Remembered, a not-for-profit organization of Jews and non-Jews working for the human rights of Palestinians, rented a billboard in Detroit. The message was simple: “America first, not Israel.”

Detroit billboard 112015

The mega billboard company, Lamar, designed the message and produced the 14’ x 48’ vinyl for $700. It charged an additional $3,000 to display it for four weeks and agreed to ship the vinyl to the next location at the end of the rental period.

But when Deir Yassin Remembered tried to rent a billboard in Bergen County (NJ), Lamar refused saying “due to its sensitive nature, we do not want to post in here in New York or New Jersey.”

In a country whose Congress gives 28 standing ovations to the Prime Minister of Israel, an apartheid state to whom we give the lion’s share of our foreign aid, free speech is often not allowed, even when you are willing to pay for it.

Daniel McGowan is a Professor Emeritus at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Because of admonishment by the administration, it is hereby stated that the above remarks are solely those of the author. Hobart and William Smith Colleges neither condone nor condemn these opinions. Furthermore, the author has been instructed to use his personal email address of and not his college email at for those wishing to contact him with comments or criticisms. Read other articles by Daniel, or visit Daniel's website.