Pro-Israel group responds to ads with its own billboards

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Pro-Israel groups are responding to what they call anti-Israel ads popping up around Los Angeles with billboards of their own.

Two billboard trucks featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s image cruised the streets of Hollywood and other parts of Los Angeles during the holiday weekend. The billboards include a quote from King, saying, "Israel must exist and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world."

"In 1968, he made a very strong statement about Israel's right to exist, in security, as a Jewish state," said Gary Ratner, senior executive of StandWithUs.

StandWithUs, a pro-Israel education and advocacy group, says it started this campaign to counter what it considers anti-Israel billboards being circulated by a pro-Palestinian group.

That campaign features another great leader, Nelson Mandela. Billboards on display across Southern California feature a quote from Mandela that says, "Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

The billboards were put up by a human rights group called Ads Against Apartheid.

"We don't target Israel. We target the Israeli government's behavior toward an occupied people," said Richard Colbath-Hess a board member at Ads Against Apartheid.

But the pro-Israel group says the quote on the Mandela billboard is incomplete.

"It doesn't include the fact that he also said that he believes Israel has the right to exist and in security, so it leaves out a very important point," said Ratner.

Ratner says Ads Against Apartheid is spreading misinformation.

"They have a right to respond to them, and we celebrate their right to respond to it, but a lot has happened since Martin Luther King made that quote in 1967," said Colbath-Hess.

The mobile truck ended its journey Monday, but similar billboards will be up for another month.

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