Likud Accused of Divisive Campaigning

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Likud poster campaign in Tel Aviv that reads “Us or Them” has sparked charges of divisiveness, but the prime minister’s party is unapologetic.

The poster features an Israeli flag set against images of a masked person holding up the Palestinian flag or asylum seekers with the Sudanese flag. They’re at bus stops all over the city, and the mayor and rights groups want them removed.

On Monday, Mayor Ron Huldai said Likud had agreed to his request to change the campaign and said it “has no place in this city.”

“In Tel Aviv-Jaffa, there is no ‘us or them,’” Huldai wrote on Twitter.

On Wednesday, the Likud confirmed the signs are coming down, but not for the reason Huldai gave.

Tel Aviv Likud spokesman Uri Wollman said Likud will continue using the slogan, and the posters will be removed only because the week-long contract with the company that rents the sign space has expired.

“It’s sometimes not nice to hear, but this is our truth, this is our reality,” said Wollman. “What Huldai said, yes it’s true, the signs are coming down, but we stand behind this campaign,” The Times of Israel quoted him as saying.

“We are in the midst of a fight for the character and identity of this city,” said Wollman. “The first part of the fight is the infiltrators in the south of the city. The Likud government has tried to get them out of here. We are doing everything possible to get them out of Israel.

“The other things we see is that the Islamic Movement is taking over Jaffa,” said Wollman, noting the appearance of Islamic Movement flags at recent protests there. “We have no problem with law-abiding Arabs, but we won’t tolerate the Islamic Movement in Tel Aviv.”