TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Jewish advocacy group is taking a new approach to confronting antisemitism in Tampa.
Their billboard is hot pink with white text and is meant to grab attention. It reads, “Can a billboard end antisemitism? No. But you’re not a billboard.”
The billboard is the brainchild of Archie Gottesman, co-founder of the group, JewBelong.
“Antisemitism is rising in the United States,” Gottesman said. “It’s rising in Tampa, Florida, and we need to do something about it.”
JewBelong started off as a group helping Jewish people enjoy and feel part of their background and religion, but switched course when antisemitism started to rise.
“Now, if a day goes by when we don’t hear about something in the news that’s antisemitic,” Gottesman said. “It’s surprising.”
Gottesman started the billboard campaign more than a year ago. The Tampa billboard is by Westshore Boulevard off I-275 South and is the first of three.
“The great thing about billboards is everybody sees them,” Gottesman explained. “They don’t silo you because if you’re driving down the highway, you’re going to see that billboard.”
Gottesman said she has heard from students at the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida that worry about antisemitism on college campuses.
“Silence does not help a cause,” Gottesman said. “Silence is dangerous when it comes to hate.”
She said the two other billboards will go up in the next few days.
“I don’t need people to like it,” Gottesman said. “I need people to read it, I need people to stop hating Jews.”