“Let’s be clear: Hamas is your problem too.”
That’s the message many Las Vegas motorists started seeing Wednesday.
JewBelong, a national nonprofit organization that fights antisemitism and makes Judaism accessible, has purchased three new billboards in Las Vegas for the coming month.
The billboards are at U.S. Highway 95 and East Russell Road in the southeast valley, Interstate 15 and St. Rose Parkway near the south end of the valley, and I-15 about a half-mile north of Charleston Boulevard near downtown Las Vegas.
The campaign is a response to “antisemitism sparked by the Israel-Hamas war, which has led to a 400 percent increase in antisemitic hate crimes and has been compounded by Americans who have shown support for Hamas,” according to a news release by the organization.
The billboards will stay up until the end of the year.
Las Vegas has more than 70,000 Jewish residents.
“Since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, Las Vegas has not been immune to the national rise in antisemitism, from antisemitic graffiti to a local man being arrested for threatening a Jewish senator,” JewBelong stated in its news release, adding that in 2023, the Anti-Defamation League reported 3,697 antisemitic incidents nationwide, a 36 percent increase from 2022. It is the highest number on record since the organization began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.
“We can’t be naive — domestic antisemitism plays into the hands of Hamas. Their goal is the complete annihilation of Jews and fighting antisemitism everywhere makes that goal harder,” JewBelong co-founder Archie Gottesman said in a statement. “But Hamas, like other terrorist organizations, has much bigger goals. They are in a holy war against the Western way of life. They are an oppressive organization that will not stop with the Jews and Israel. It is time for Americans to comprehend that antisemitism starts with the Jewish people, but it will not end there. Every American who was distressed at what happened on 9/11 should be distressed about what is happening to Israel. Standing up to the hate is crucial for all of us.”
According to the news release, JewBelong is a nonprofit group supporting “Joyous Judaism” and fighting antisemitism through a national outdoor campaign that includes traditional billboards as well as billboard trucks. JewBelong has run nearly 500 billboards across the country reaching more than 250 million people.
JewBelong is a web-based platform promoting religious tolerance and support for the Jewish faith.
Contact Marvin Clemons at firstname.lastname@example.org.