Vandals Destroy Pro-Israel Billboards

‘Borderline morons’ responsible for destruction of signs, says New Mexico sheriff

April 11, 2012

Vandals destroyed a pro-Israel billboard erected several hours outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico early Monday, raising concerns that Israel’s detractors are exacting revenge for an earlier run-in with the area’s pro-Israel community.

Located in an empty field alongside a road in the town of Deming, the sign declared, "Stand with Israel" and urged passersby to sign a pro-Israel pledge sponsored by Christians United for Israel, one of the nation’s largest pro-Israel groups.

Vandals tore the poster apart sometime between Sunday and Monday, according to a police report obtained by the Free Beacon.

Deputy Daniel Acosta was dispatched to the location early Monday after the sign’s proprietor, Anne Marie Beck, notified the Luna County Sheriff’s Department that the billboard had been destroyed.

Acosta discovered two different sets of footprints near the billboard, as well as "tire tracks that were fresh," according to the police report.

"The sign was either cut off either by scissors or with a sharp object and then it was pulled off," Acosta reported.

Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos called the incident an "odd anomaly" and said he had "never heard anybody express anything anti-Israel or anti-Jewish" in his time on the force.

"It’s odd, very odd," he told the Free Beacon, attributing the vandalism to "borderline morons who have no connection with the real world."

CUFI supporters erected five pro-Israel billboards in New Mexico late last year. The group also established similar signage in California, Washington, and Oregon, among other states.

The vandalized billboard was erected in mid-February at a cost of about $1,000. CUFI supporters, however, were not charged to rent the space, as the property’s owner, Thomas Simmons, supported the poster’s pro-Israel message, according to sources familiar with the matter.

"It seems that someone did not like our message and vandalized it quite effectively," David Brog, CUFI’s executive director, told the Free Beacon Tuesday. "I suspect it’s someone who didn’t like our message of solidarity with Israel. It was basically a non-offensive message, but our detractors apparently couldn’t handle it."

Brog said that CUFI supporters in New Mexico are already raising funds to replace the damaged billboard.

CUFI was one of the principal players in a campaign to thwart a series of advertisements advocating that the U.S. end military aid to Israel.

For a time, city busses in Seattle were carrying signs that stated, "Israeli war crimes: Your tax dollars at work." The advertisements asked viewers to go to the website,, which demands that Congress immediately cease all aid to Israel.

CUFI was among the most vocal opponents of the anti-Israel ad campaign, eventually persuading the company carrying the signs, Lamar Advertising Company, to ditch the placards.

Stop 30 Billion is based in Albuquerque, according to its website, and supporters of the group’s ad campaign were lamenting the pro-Israel billboards online earlier this year.

A series of postings by the group Another Jewish Voice Sante Fe, which supported the anti-Israel ad campaign, indicates that some locals were not thrilled with the pro-Israel billboards.

"Traveling south on I-25, just before the Bernalillo exit, I saw a new billboard. Across the top are images of 3 flags—the USA, State of NM, and Israel," reads one posting. " The billboard is owned by Lamar; is that the same one that ‘Stop the 30 billion’ had all the problems with?? And is it time to consider billboards again?"

Another person responded: "Yes, Lamar is the billboard company that caved on the Coalition's original billboard design after a letter writing and phone call campaign against the Coalition's first billboards by pro-Israel individuals and groups."

CUFI’s Brog said that Israel’s detractors are moving away from civil debate and towards incivility.

"Unfortunately," he said, "we see among some in the anti-Israel camp a desire to shrink from reasonable debate and more towards vandalism in this case."