Brooklyn – Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) is voicing his outrage at advertising company Clear Channel’s decision to allow a sign mocking the Jewish faith to be installed on a billboard overlooking the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Greenpoint. As the only Orthodox Jew in the New York City Council and the elected official who represents the largest Jewish population in the United States, Greenfield explained that the billboard is offensive and an unprovoked attack on the Jewish community. Greenfield is asking Clear Channel to respect the beliefs and rights of Brooklyn’s Jewish community and immediately remove the offensive sign.
“This billboard is meant to offend a large group of people and attack their religion. While I firmly believe in freedom of religion and speech, the placement of this offensive message on private property is a clear affront to the large Jewish community in Brooklyn. In this day and age, there’s no need for this kind of attack on any religion or group. With that in mind, the property owner should do the right thing and have the advertisement removed immediately out of respect to the community,” said Greenfield.
The billboard was installed at the corner of Stewart Avenue and Thomas Street in Greenpoint earlier this month and refers to G-d as “a myth” in both English and Hebrew. The group behind the advertisement, American Atheists, had first sought to install the sign on a building on South 5th Street in Williamsburg in the heart of one of the largest Jewish communities in Brooklyn, but the owner of that building objected to the message contained on the billboard. Despite the relocation, the sign is still prominently displayed at the entrance to one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities outside Israel.
In addition to the offensive message contained in the advertisement, Greenfield objects to the group’s use of G-d’s name in its original Hebrew form as written in the Torah. According to the Jewish faith, this name is never written or spoken, so having it included on the billboard, especially in this context, is deeply offensive. “As if calling our religion a myth wasn’t outrageous enough, this group ensured that the sign would be written in a way that breaks one of the major tenants of Jewish belief,” said Greenfield. “Quite simply, this sign is a stick in the eye of the Orthodox Jewish community and must be removed immediately.”
(YWN Desk – NYC)