A group of Seattle residents have published an ad complaining that their tax dollars are being spent on Israeli "war crimes", the local Komo News reported Wednesday. The ad has already sparked controversy in the city.
The report says the 'Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign' paid $1,800 to the local Metro bus company in order to get the ad featured on the sides of buses.
The ad, which says "Israeli war crimes: Your tax dollars at work", depicts a family standing next to a destroyed house in Gaza. It is scheduled to appear on the second anniversary of Israel's Operation Cast Lead, which falls on December 27.
But local Councilman Peter von Reichbauer says his office has been fielding numerous complaint calls.
"It is an example of an attack on the state of Israel, using a picture that is designed to inflame people's feelings toward the state of Israel and by nature, against Jewish Americans," Komo quoted him as saying.
But Ed Mast, a member of the Seattle pro-Palestinian group, explained that "criticizing the actions of a nation state is not criticizing a whole people".
"We don't find the message anti-Israel or anti-US, we are calling for equal rights," the report quoted him as saying.
The Jewish community in the city was not rushing to respond. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that Wendy Rosen, of the American Jewish Committee, expressed concern at the move but that the AJC had decided that complaining against the ad would only drum up more publicity.