Pro-Palestine activists have fly-posted more than 100 hundred posters on London Tube trains with messages condemning Israel as an "apartheid" state.
London Palestine Action covered existing adverts with their own on Central, Jubilee, Hammersmith, Metropolitan and Overground trains. They read: "Why is BBC reporting biased in favour of Israel?" and "Apartheid is great", among other phrases.
The action is part of 'Israeli Apartheid Week', a week of action that paints Israel as an "apartheid" state, in reference to South Africa's system of racial segregation.
Israel is referred to as an apartheid state by critics who say the Jewish state's policies favour Jews over Muslims.
A sign put up by the London Palestine Action group
A spokesperson from the group told The Huffington Post UK: "I hope they [commuters] will be surprised by the information placed on these adverts, and get informed so that it raises awareness for the cause.
"We have more positive reactions than negative ones, but I'm sure pro-Zionists are doing their best to criticise the campaign and dominate debate about the Palestine-Israeli conflict."
A sign reads 'apartheid is great'.
Some of the signs take aim at the BBC for "bias" and for "reporting in favour of Israel". The group quotes Tim Llewellyn, a former BBC Middle East Correspondent who has said: "We have become used to the fact that, in a BBC newsroom, an Israeli life is worth the lives of an infinite number of Palestinians."
Other posters comment on G4S, the biggest security provider in the UK. The signs read: "Over 500 Palestinian children are held without trial at G4S equipped Israeli prisons every year."
Commuters and supporters have used the hashtag to reveal their thoughts about the campaign:
— Rafeef Ziadah (@RafeefZiadah) February 22, 2016
— Ibrahim Halawi (@Ibrahimhalawi) February 22, 2016
But the campaign has also attracted negative attention from groups and individuals offended by the images.
— NW Friends of Israel (@NorthWestFOI) February 22, 2016
Some users debated how the posters were placed on the tube in the first place, with one person describing the group as "BDS bigots".
BDS is the global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.
— Ben Marsden (@StilwellRoad) February 22, 2016
A TfL spokesperson told The Huffington Post UK: “These are not authorised adverts. It is fly posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously.
Our staff and contractors are working to immediately remove any found on our network.”
Huff Post UK also reached out to grassroots campaign North-west Friends of Israel for comment but had not yet received a response.
A London Jewish Forum spokesperson said:
"These posters are awful smears that do nothing to contribute to peace and dialogue, placing significant strains on inter-community relations across London. They are an act of vandalism, seeking to undermine the UK's relationship with Israel and designed to foster discomfort. We welcome Transport for London's commitment to quickly remove them."
London Palestine Action states its operational purpose on its website:
"We are responding to the 2005 call from Palestinian activists, civil society and grassroots groups for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) until Israel stops its violations of Palestinian rights by:
- Ending the occupation and dismantling the Wall
- End systematic discrimination against Palestinians in Israel
- Recognising and implementing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes
The protest comes after Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock confirmed that the boycotting of goods produced on settlements in the West Bank by local councils and public bodies is to be outlawed.
Hancock described the "need to challenge and prevent divisive town-hall boycotts."
A G4s targeted poster put up by the group
Local authorities and public-sector organisations in Britain will be prevented from boycotting Israeli suppliers under new government rules, and those who do could face severe penalties.
Procurement boycotts by public authorities were "inappropriate," the Cabinet Office said in a statement.
"Boycotts undermine good community relations, poisoning and polarising debate, weakening integration and fuelling anti-Semitism," it said.
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