get it home page promo

Dueling billboards in Helena call US aid to Israel into question

2013-07-16T00:00:00Z Dueling billboards in Helena call US aid to Israel into questionBy AL KNAUBER Independent Record Helena Independent Record
July 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A war of words being waged on billboards in Helena is bringing home the international debate on Israel and the Palestinians.

It started when Helena Service for Peace and Justice and the Coalition to Stop 30 Billion placed two billboards in Helena calling into question the United States’ aid to Israel. The organization StandWithUs put up a third billboard Monday in response to those two, and a second is planned.

Three issues are spurring the different sides. One issue is American foreign aid to the Israeli army that critics say supports the military’s human rights abuses of the Palestinians.

Secondly, StandWithUs says the effort to erode support for Israel is a bid to leave it vulnerable to hostile nations and groups who have vowed to destroy it.

And lastly, the Albuquerque, N.M., group Coalition to Stop 30 Billion in aid to Israel sees Israel as more of a strategic liability to the United States than an asset.

Armen Chakerian, who heads the billboard project for the coalition, said Monday that his organization provides half of the funding for billboards.

It doesn’t get involved with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and instead looks at how being an ally of Israel affects the United States.

“Supporting this country (Israel) hurts us more than it helps us,” he said.

The use of the American flag on the billboards is the organization’s attempt to focus attention back on the United States.

The coalition agreed to help fund the two billboards critical of Israel after it was approached by the Helena Service for Peace and Justice, Chakerian said.

Frank Kromkowski, one of the founders of the Helena Service for Peace and Justice, said the organization is concerned with how the Israeli government is treating the Palestinians.

An online search for the service goes to the Fellowship of Reconciliation, which notes that the Helena Service for Peace and Justice was founded in 1990 as a grassroots community of peace and justice workers.

“We’re focusing on Israel as not many people realize $8 million tax dollars a day goes to the Israeli military,” Kromkowski said.

The Israeli military, on a daily basis, violates the human rights of the Palestinians, he said, adding that the U.S. aid for the Israeli military through the use of tax dollars raises serious legal, ethical and moral questions for him.

Will Boland, who says he’s an activist and part of the Helena Service for Peace and Justice, said he led the effort to have the two billboards placed in town.

“We would like to change Israel’s behavior” toward the Palestinians, he said.

One of the Helena Service for Peace and Justice’s billboards, on Euclid Avenue, says, “Tell Congress: Spend Our Money At Home, Not on the Israeli Military.” The sign that greets people entering the city from the west says it was paid for by the Helena Service for Peace and Justice and refers people to the website stop30billion.org.

Another billboard is on North Montana Avenue and just north of Custer Street.

To counter those messages, the Los Angeles-based organization StandWithUs put up a billboard showing the faces of six people with the message: “Israel Celebrated Diversity.”

Another billboard is also slated to be placed in Helena by StandWithUs.

“We didn’t want to leave the playing field to these negative and hostile people,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs.

The website for StandWithUs says it’s an international organization founded in 2001. The group’s mission is to inform people about Israel and combat the extremism and anti-Semitism that often distorts issues.

“We believe that knowledge of the facts will correct common prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict and will promote discussions and policies that can help promote peace in the region,” its website notes.

“These groups are desperately trying to erode support for Israel so they put up these billboards,” Rothstein said. “They want Israel not to be able to defend itself.”

“It’s meant to destroy the only democracy in the Middle East,” she continued.

Boland explains his billboard saying it’s an attempt to get people’s attention and spur debate on how Israel is treating the Palestinians.

“It’s not about destroying. Israel’s there to stay,” Boland said.

The billboards aren’t an anti-Israeli campaign, he said, adding, “It’s a campaign for human rights.”

To be accused of being opposed to Israel, Boland said, “is a little disingenuous.”

He said he’s been to Israel three times since first going while in Europe to see the biblical Holy Land sights. The treatment of the Palestinians, he explained, astounded him. Each trip is more emotionally difficult for him.

Palestinians are “murdered with impunity,” he said and points to the Israeli army. He also alleges violations by Israeli settlers and asserts this is done with support from the Israeli army.

According to the online site for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the international fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, a news release on the report states that “a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians are violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements.”

“These violations are all interrelated, forming part of an overall pattern of breaches that are characterized principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis,” the statement continues.

“In compliance with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel must cease all settlement activities without preconditions,” said Ms. Christine Chanet, chair of the Mission from France.

The behavior of the Israeli army with its U.S. foreign aid reflects upon the United States, Boland said.

“We are complicit; we pay for that,” he added.

Rothstein said her organization has placed billboards in response to billboards in communities across the nation.

StandWithUs placed billboards in Missoula in March to counter a similar anti-Israel billboard campaign, a news release from the group noted.

“We always do,” she said of the response by StandWithUs to billboards targeting Israel. “It’s a pattern of ours as it’s a pattern of theirs,” she said.

The groups that pay for the billboards are engaging on a city-to-city campaign. She places the Coalition to Stop 30 Billion to Israel as part of those groups engaging in a smear campaign against Israel.

A combination of anti-Israel groups pretend to be pro-Palestinian, Rothstein said.

“The bottom line is they don’t want an Israel. They want Israel to be gone,” she said.

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(18) Comments

  1. dogday
    Report Abuse
    dogday - July 22, 2013 11:57 am
    It is not that people want Israel to disappear as "Stand With Us" claims: Rather, we want this particular Israel to disappear. BTW -- "Stand With Us" is an arm of the Israeli government, virtually an agency serving a foreign government and parading as American.

    Aid to Israel constitutes 1/2 of all US foreign aid, in total. It is a charge of about $25 to the average US taxpayer (That's right -- you send $25 to Israel every year!). It amounts to a subsidy to each and every Israeli of $600 a year and it is a significant part of Israeli GDP. Approximately 15-20% of Israeli GDP is from exogenous donations. (If Israelis complain about their standard of living now, imagine if the donations went away!)

    In the period from 73-present, the average American taxpayer provided Israel over $30,000 in all forms of gift, breaks, special deals etc.! For every US citizen, the US has provided Israel with a total of $12,000 in that period.

    Israel is the source of instability in the Middle East: Ending US support would stop this instability overnight as Israel would, for once, be forced to make peace (and concessions) to its neighbors. As it is, Israel has no interest in Peace, as war has been so rewarding. Israel will not stop until the whole of old Palestine is in its pocket and the whole of the people who lived there for centuries are gone, by whatever means. Pushing back on this is an act of moral decency, not anti-semitism, just like the boycott of White South Africa. I am a Jewish American: Netanyahu and Barak, and their predecessors, are corrupted people and not worthy of American obeisance.
  2. Vic Venom
    Report Abuse
    Vic Venom - July 22, 2013 8:09 am
    Maybe the people who put up the billboards in support of Israel could just send their money to help Israel instead. Just saying.

    Anyway, I can understand their point of view. If we are going to send foreign aid to a country in that region, it should be Israel. They have been our ally before, and are one of the "friendlier" countries to the U.S. in that region.

    I can also understand not wanting to send money there. The U.S. doesn't exactly have deep pockets anymore. We have our own monetary problems to deal with. If our country continues its downward trend, we won't be the elite country we once were. In fact, someday, I shudder to say this, we may be the ones needing aid.

    So inconclusion, if we are going to send aid to someone in the region, then Israel would be the best country to send it to. However, in this time of sequestration, where government employees and Dept of Defense private contractors are being furloughed, and other government services are being curtailed, I think it would be best to make giving aid to ourselves a priority.
  3. annier
    Report Abuse
    annier - July 19, 2013 12:56 am

    yeah, it's always so rewarding debating with hyperbolic people who claim you think israel is a "demon state," only no one said that but you Yoni. along with informing us of completely worn out talking pts alleging israel is the most "moral army in the world" after decades of occupation where they keep expanding their settlements into palestinian territory.

    see here's the thing yoni, if israel were not constantly expanding, bulldozing palestinian homes and kicking them off their land (the Israeli groups B'tselem, Peace Now, Who Profits and The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) monitor this stuff, it happens every day, not once a month) your arguments might be more compelling. you ask a lot of questions like "is it reasonable to believe that after over a hundred years of working to realize the zionist dream,..etc etc ..we would do nothing more with our newfound sovereignty than to bully an innocent people? " well, it is if your zionist dream encompasses all the land of eretz Israel. after all, your zionist dream didn't prevent you from clearing 750,000 people off their land between 47 and 48, over 1/2 before any neighboring arab armies got involved. (you called it a 'civil war' before 5/48 when the arab armies came to defend the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing).

    you talk about " leading the world in water conservation" but most palestinians do not even have 4 hrs running water every day. you know why? because israel has placed a settlement right on top of the largest water aquifer in the whole region (which happens to be inside the west bank and outside of israel) and pumps all the water into israel and then the palestinians are lucky to get 15% of it back. that's 15% of the water for 1/2 the people. if israel is so happening why can't they sustain themselves without stealing all the water from the occupied territories (which happens to be OUTSIDE of israel.) and the reason we are not supposed to believe this is what? because we are racist? sorry, it makes a lot more sense when you grasp the reality israel wants all the land. in fact there are many knesset members who want to annex the whole territory.

    and your explanation is we're anti semites. here's israel's problem. the internet. cameras, videos , witnesses. everything was going swimmingly until the internet came along and videos started popping up of israel soldiers using palestinian children as human shields. videos of fanatical settlers loaded down w/machine guns attacking unarmed shepherds with the soldiers standing by doing nothing. when videos pop up of hoards of israelis on jerusalem day screaming 'death to arabs.' this is israel's problem. videos of huge bulldozers crushing whole villages. so what we've got is a bunch of massively funded groups like 'stand with us' and the israel project and many more and what they do is messaging. but nothing messages like videos. israel's got an image problem and they won't change their policies, they just perfect their accusations against those of us watching these atrocities day after day after day.

    so hello montana! go on the internet and poke around. start asking where your tax dollars are going. find out for yourself. according to yoni it is "more probable" human rights activists are willfully ignorant. Now I ask you, is it reasonable to believe that after over a hundred years of expansion israel is still bullying palestinians because they want the rest of their land. gee, ya think. and they are telling us these people with no rights, no courts of their own, under military rule, they are supposed to negotiate with their oppressors who are supported by the global superpower? they said they'd negotiate if israel would stop building settlements on their land. ask yourself why israel won't stop building settlements. because they want more land and resources. very simple really, in fact it takes willful ignorance not to see that.
  4. Yoni K
    Report Abuse
    Yoni K - July 17, 2013 10:02 am
    @Montana, these smear campaigns can only come from one of two places. As you seem to be a reasonable and well intentioned person, I pray you hear me out as I am going to attempt to put the arguments into context and provide a framework you may not be familiar with that completely justifies Ms. Rothstein's ire.
    The first, more probable, yet no less dangerous place is one of willful ignorance. Perhaps the sponsors of the campaign truly believe that Israel is a demon state hellbent on inflicting every cruelty imagineable on poor defenseless children. Now I ask you, is it reasonable to believe that after over a hundred years of working to realize the zionist dream, after suffering through countless hardships, a holocaust, several wars, and endless terrorism that once we finally achieved statehood we would do nothing more with our newfound sovereignty than to bully an innocent people? Or maybe is it more likely that we have more important things to spend our time and resources on, like developing some of the finest institutions for higher education in the world, creating sustainable municipal infrastructure and leading the world in water conservation, desert agriculture and medical research. Would the people who are some of the first responders at nearly every natural disaster internationally where their help is accepted get their kicks out of bullying helpless civillians? Boland says he's been to Israel 3 times. I've been there . I've been to the west bank. I have friends who served in Gaza, I have friends and family who are still in the military now. Israel has the most moral military in the world and accusations of human rights abuse are outright lies and slander. You can look up the many examples of the IDF's upstanding character online. You could fill thousands of pages with them so I won't even try to start listing them here. So where do all these accusations come from?
    The source of these smear campaigns and the reason they are so dangerous is because they stem from anti-semitism. Plain and simple. Legitimate criticism of Israel is like legitimate criticism of any other country. Legitimate criticism must be based on facts, on some real action that Israel's government took who's consequence you disagree with and to which a legitimate alternative could be presented. Criticism ceases to be legitimate once any of the three "D"s of antisemitism is introduced: Demonization, Deligitimization, and Double Standards. So how is this "human rights" campaign in violation of the three D's? Let's start with the fault premise of the campaign. The claim here is that the IDF commits human rights abuses, this is Demonization because as stated above that is simply false. The campaign calls for the Deligitmization of the Israeli state by calling the US to stop recognizing Israel as an essential ally in the middle East. What clearer way is there for an American to demonstrate that he wants Israel gone than to deny her the support and friendship of her closest and most powerful ally? The last D is the double standard. How dare Boland and Kromkowski accuse Israel of human rights abuses and want the US to stop sending them aid that is reinvested in the US itself without even mentioning the millions of dollars in aid sent to the palestinians. What about the taxpayer money that the Palestinians squander on smuggling tunnels to bring materials for throwing rockets at Israeli civilians centers, what about the incitement to violence by palestinian leaders and their refusal to recognize their Israeli neighbors and even attempt to make peace. What about the Hamas violation of human rights, the use of children as human shields? A real human rights campaign would focus on the true violators, not on the only country in the region that actively works to support all human rights.
    I hope that through my argument I was able to shed light on a perspective that informs the narrative you have up till now believed. Maybe Roz's billboards will help people realize that the way forward to peace will be to create understanding between Israelis and Palestinians and bring them together instead of singling out Israel as a pariah state. Once the Palestinians recognize that direct negotiation with Israel is the best way to achieve independent statehood, than there can be peace for the children of future generations.
  5. enu_22
    Report Abuse
    enu_22 - July 17, 2013 8:08 am
    Why in Helena of all places? Take down your unsightly billboards and take your political/religions views elsewhere!
  6. 5thgen
    Report Abuse
    5thgen - July 17, 2013 6:02 am
    Roz Rothstein: Very well stated and very true. Amen
  7. elegantgypsy
    Report Abuse
    elegantgypsy - July 17, 2013 4:31 am
    um....i know both will and frank. for anyone to say that either of them has no regard for the bible is beyond ridiculous. and i can promise that neither of them are out to "stop israel's existence."
    nor am i.
    nor are any of us out to destroy america.
    but the time for blind acceptance of israel's policy of destruction and genocide of the palestinians, their right to exist must stop. in every other state that we provide military assistance to we demand accountability to human rights relations. somehow...not israel.
    we have just...sort of....concluded a war against a former allied state (iraq)(remember we used them against iran?) and one of our purported reasons for being there was that they had used weapons (supplied by us) against people of their own state (who were not of the current religious ruling class, or ethnicity).
    the right of BOTH states, palestine and israel to exist is the goal.
    is not one of the definitions of crazy to continue doing the same thing and expect different results?
    why then do we continue to send billions of $ to a nation that appears to believe it is acceptable to answer rock throwing and home made explosives with the destruction of entire neighborhoods? if the israeli's must fear to allow children to eat pizza....the palestinians must fear allowing their children to go to school...or even step out their front door.
    were the state of montana to be similar to the open air prison that the palestinian people live in...i have no doubt many montanans would take up rock throwing and firing whatever they could get their hands on at those who imprisoned them. and many other montanans would think it a good idea.
    it is time for americans to wake up to the fact that we have serious problems right here at home. we need to be looking to get our own house in order. we can no longer afford to support a country who will not refrain from using the aid we send to suppress a population with which it MUST live. our aid allows israel to continue to oppress palestine. that oppression feeds the fire of resistance within palestine. its a vicious circle, and we support it, while neglecting to tend to our own responsibilities at home.
    if we can not impress upon israel that they may not do this with our aid, then the choice seems clear...if they will do it, they must do it without our help. as long as they can do it without fear of any reaction but finger wagging from america....it appears that they will.
    it's past time to change the dynamic.
  8. Techman232
    Report Abuse
    Techman232 - July 16, 2013 7:27 pm
    There's a great place to debate national politics, on billboards in Helena Montana. Really people? If you need a place to waste your money, I could help you find a better outlet for that.
  9. annier
    Report Abuse
    annier - July 16, 2013 6:15 pm
    Today the European Union set up new guidelines banning all EU funding of projects in territories occupied by Israel since the '67 war, this includes academia, sports, economics and science and requires the Israeli government to "recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel."

    So perhaps Ms Rothstein, who is now insulting the Human Rights council, will also see fit to say the EU is not a reliable source either. The fact remains Israel has annexed a lot of territory unilaterally which is against international law and it continues to build on territories outside the borders allocated for the Jewish state by the UN. Yet, unsurprisingly, it's always everybody elses fault things are not going swimmingly. Israel doesn't want to give citizenship to the people whose land they are stealing so the people live with no rights under military rule imposed by a government in which they have no right to vote. 2 laws, 2 court systems all ruled over by one government and if you say the word 'apartheid' you are labeled an extremist.

    Meanwhile, Israel moves its own citizens into these illegal settlements and uses, also exporting, resources, including water, from the land that doesn't belong to it. these things are all against international law. so now, Israel's advocates say international law is not fair for Israel. It's always somebody elses fault. and when you try to expose what is going on, you get accused of trying to 'end Israel's existence' because presumably they live in a dangerous neighborhood which requires them to ignore internationla law in order to protect themselves.

    Well, maybe people wouldn't be upset if there were not millions of people living with no rights or representation under military rule where imprisoning children is not unusual in the least. in fact, Israel used an archaic law called 'administrative detention' where they just imprison people indefinitely,no charges nothing and this happens all the time. hundreds of people have been impisoned since the first of the year.

    and if israel likes diversity so much, why are they transfering over 70,000 people off their land right now, based solely on ethnicity so they can build Jewish towns where the bedoiun have lived for centuries? it us called the Prawer Plan (google it) and there were riots all over Israel yesterday against the new policy. Even Margaret Atwood signed a petition against this policy. Not exactly known for being an extremist.

    This stuff goes on all the time and all Israel does is change their talking points, they never change the policies. It's disgusting and they should just change their policies like we did under the Jim Crow laws, then all this complaining would go away. But they do not do that because they are more interested in building Jewish only settlements and expanding. very sad.

  10. Miriam12
    Report Abuse
    Miriam12 - July 16, 2013 5:31 pm
    Rothstein collectivizes all people in Montana who are concerned-- into a bunch of anti semites who also "pretend" to care about Palestinians. She denigrates as much of humanity as possible with a generalized dislike of "goyim." But I'm one more Jew who stands with my fellow DIVERSE citizens...for Justice!
    I would remind IR readers that we are ordinary citizens, who yearn for America to resume a role as an HONEST broker.

  11. celcius232
    Report Abuse
    celcius232 - July 16, 2013 5:08 pm
    The simple minds of the left like Montana Green, Boland and Gromkowski are easy prey for Hamas and Islamist media propaganda that apparently can reach very far. A few here in quaint little Helena somehow have the moral high ground to decide to display their anti-Israeli angst on billboards. Your real message is clear in Montana Green's comments that refer to Israelis as murderers, pirates, and aggressors. I am sure Americans could be painted the same way both in history and now.

    I am local, Jewish, and support Israel's right to self defense and existence....." Let us not be afraid to see the hatred that accompanies and consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit all around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood." Moshe Dayan
  12. Montana Green
    Report Abuse
    Montana Green - July 16, 2013 4:55 pm
    Oh, now Ms. Rothstein says "it's time for peace" after viciously trashing two local Montanans for exercising their right of free speech. Anyone see any hypocrisy here? Or in our foreign "policy" toward Israel? Or in Israel's current attitude towards its neighbors in the Middle East? First we bomb, then we talk peace, ehh, Ms. Rothstein. Great policy. Reminds me of the militant "leaders" who have governed Israel and created many of its current problems. Golda Meier, Benjamin Netanyahu?

    Boland and Kromkowski are seeking nothing but peace in the world and their life-long record makes that abundantly clear. It would be great if Ms. Rothstein could emulate their dedication.

    The reality here is that Ms. Rothstein went after the wrong guys for the wrong reasons and now she sees that Montanans aren't the dupes this L.A. operative took them for.

    We are intelligent and reasoning people -- and on that count, Rothstein not only comes up last, she comes off as the obvious aggressor.
  13. Roz Rothstein
    Report Abuse
    Roz Rothstein - July 16, 2013 1:13 pm
    There are so many false allegations in this article that it is difficult to know where to begin. The Human Rights Council is not a reliable source, it is notorious for its anti-Israel bias, with members like like Libya, Congo, Angola and Syria who are infamous for their own human rights abuses. And US aid to Israel benefits Americans because 75% of it is spent in the US, creating jobs in America. America spends billions to keep its soldiers around the world to shore up its allies, but has no soldiers in Israel.
    The article talks about the rights of the Palestinians, but not the rights of the Israelis whose children deserve to sleep without worrying about incoming rockets or being murdered by terrorists while eating pizza. The article fails to mention Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas, or their history of hateful ideology that calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel. The Palestinians are indeed facing serious challenges as are the Israelis, and its time for peace. The real question is: When will the Palestinian leaders, Hamas and Abbas, give up their bigotry and accept Israel as a Jewish state next door and say "yes" to Israel's many offers for peace? Their willingness to do so would end suffering on both sides, and bring peace, and that should be everyone's goal.
  14. steeline
    Report Abuse
    steeline - July 16, 2013 11:58 am
    Just to get my mind wrapped around this. The Israeli Army protects their people and defends Israel. Like the American Army protects Americans and defends America. So this is bad? The Palistinians don't even recognize Israel as a state and do nothing to stop thier terrorists rockets that rain down on Israeli people, destroying property, terrorizing the population and wonding and killing them. So the Palistinians are not violating human rights? Israel is the only nation in the area that is a true friend of the America. Supporting the islamic terrorists nation in the name of human right violations is ridiculus if not unAmerican. It appears that the Helena Service for Peace and Justice and the Caalition to Stop 50 Billion, are groups that are anti Israel and pro terroism. They have discovered that by taking advantage of the free press in America all these groups can muster up enough misinformed or under informed people to start a "bleeding heart" organization in order to advance a cause within the USA. I wonder what Mr Boland thinks about the 10 Billion that goes to Egypts army. In a country that is/was run by Muslim Brotherhood members that want to blast Israel off the map.
  15. waterunderground
    Report Abuse
    waterunderground - July 16, 2013 11:47 am
    The response to any critisism of Israel always seems to be accusations of anti-semitism and that the person doesn't want Israel to exist. There is valid critisism here and I am pretty tired of people who say that Israel can do no wrong.
    I am of Jew and an American taxpayer and I'm sick of the hypocracy where we say never again and then have to watch Israel dehumanize Palistinains and make them the other and treat them like animals, all on our dime.
    Nobody in the US is saying that Israel should not exist. We are saying that Israel has not been serious about moving forward with the two state solution that has been established as the roadmap for peace. We are saying stop spending our American dollars to shoot kids throwing rocks, knocking down neighborhoods with airstrikes and tanks in response to home made rocket fire, extrajudicial execuations and arbitrary imprisonment.
    Respect and negociate with the Palestinians so that they can have hope for a good future. Until there is hope they have nothing to lose and there will be no peace.
  16. Montana Green
    Report Abuse
    Montana Green - July 16, 2013 8:59 am
    We hold these truths to be self-evident -- namely, just look at the quotes from Roz Rothstein compared with those from Will Boland and Frank Kromkowski. Rothstein is seriously off-base and accusatory in her comments claiming Boland and Kromkowski: “...don’t want an Israel. They want Israel to be gone."

    Yet, neither Boland nor Kromkowski indicated in any way, shape, or form that "they want Israel to be gone." Just the opposite -- they would like to see, as would a growing number of people throughout the world, Israel behave according to the international laws of civility. Those do not include murdering innocent, unarmed passengers on relief ships to Palestine, carrying medical supplies and food, in international waters. That's called "piracy." They also do not condone air strikes on sovereign nations, i.e., Syria, which Israel conducted as recently as July 5th. And they surely don't condone the invasion and construction of settlements in other countries as Israel has continually done in Palestine.

    The mean-spirited talk came from Rothstein, not Boland nor Kromkowski and really, that says a tremendous amount about just how militant these supposed "defenders of Israel" really are. Someone might remind Ms. Rothstein that Israel is the only nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East. They might also raise the issue that Israel doesn't even allow the International Atomic Energy Agency access to monitor its nuclear warhead stockpile, unlike virtually every other nation in the world that either maintains or is suspected of developing nuclear weapons.

    And finally, Ms. Rothstein is talking trash about a couple of local men who have a long and unblemished history of peace activism. Although Rothstein calls Boalnd and Kromkowski "negative and hostile people," anyone who knows either Will Boland or Frank Kromkowski would be hard-pressed to find more thoughtful, amicable, and peaceful individuals in our community -- or anywhere, for that matter.

    Stand With Us would be well advised to trade in Ms. Rothstein for a different mouthpiece and cool the vicious rhetoric. Everyone has a right to their own opinion -- and a right to express that through public displays such as the billboards. It's Ms. Rothstein, not Boland and Kromkowski, who sounds like a militant censor by trying to defend $8 million a day in U.S. military "aid" to a country which neither needs it nor uses it responsibly and humanely.
  17. caribouboy
    Report Abuse
    caribouboy - July 16, 2013 8:14 am
    Al, why don't you identify Kromkowski and Boland as fringe left wingers? They're both on the far left and should be identified as such. I don't remember you or the IR giving a pass to TEA party whackos like Alan Hale when they were rightfully identified as the fringe.

    How about equal treatment of all?
  18. billhaslip
    Report Abuse
    billhaslip - July 16, 2013 5:10 am
    Obviously Boland and Kromkowsky have no regard for the Bible and all of Gods promises. It is imaginable why the United State are not mentioned in the book of Revelation.

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps:

    1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

    2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

    3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

    4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

    5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at editor@helenair.com. This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

    6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

    7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

    8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

    9. Don't write a novel. If your comment is longer than the article you're commenting on, you might want to cut it down a bit. Lengthy comments will likely be removed.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Activate subscription button gif
Subscribe to HelenaIR.com Email Newsletters

Breaking news, contests, morning headlines and more. Sign up for updates from the Independent Record

Follow the Independent Record

Great Helena Businesses

Clipped From The Newspaper