An apparently fake ad reading “Come Visit Jerusalem Palestine” was delivered to residents in Beachwood, Moreland Hills, Pepper Pike, Solon and other east side communities this week and has raised concerns among Jews fueling online dialog.
Ruth Elliott, who received the ad in Moreland Hills, said she reached out to her rabbi, Rabbi Steven Denker of Temple Emanu El in Orange, who is in Israel.
“In this day and age, with so much antisemitism and everything, it definitely disturbed me when I saw it, but I didn’t quite know what to think,” Elliott told the Cleveland Jewish News July 28.
In response to her question about the ad, Elliott said Denker responded saying the ad was reminiscent of pre-1948 posters and wondering whether it was real or fake.
The circulars were delivered by courier July 26 to post offices for July 27 delivery.
Elisha Akm, writing at the Facebook group, Cleveland Jews Talk About Anything, posted a photo of the ad and accompanied the post with the text, “How do you ban, complain against this ad?”
Akm later said he sent a copy to the “ministry of foreign affairs.”
Another poster at the same Facebook group said they reported the ad to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.
The ad, which accompanied grocery store circulars, shows a map of Israel labeled Palestine and a photograph of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The text below reads, “Come Visit Jerusalem Palestine.”
It lists Acherman Tours, LLC., and has a photo of a man in front of what appears to be the Palestinian flag with the caption, “Contact Mo Dayem for more information.”
Acherman, Denker wrote, translates to “other man” in Hebrew, he wrote to Elliott.
The man pictured appears to be Mohammad Dayem, whose profile on LinkedIn lists his current employer as the state of Ohio Department of Corrections in Lorain County.
A telephone number listed in the ad with the Los Angeles area code 213 did not appear to link to a human being.
“The text mail subscriber you are trying to reach is not available,” an automated recorded voice states. “Please leave your message after the tone.”
Acherman Tours has a Facebook page with just one follower. It lists a different phone number with area code 872. A CJN phone call placed to that number elicited the following recorded answer: “Call rejected.”
On July 28, the CJN emailed and called Valassis Communications Inc., based in Livonia, Mich., which produced the ad.
A person who answered the phone said the normal turnaround time for media requests is 24 hours, but they would attempt to find someone sooner.
James Pasch, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Cleveland, told the CJN July 28 the ad is not legitimate.
“It was sent purposefully to inflame passions and bait Jews at a time when passions are already inflamed,” Pasch said. “The making and sending of this ad is reprehensible and whoever put the ad together would be better served by spending their time on advocacy and bringing Palestinians and Israelis together and not creating further division.”
This is a developing story. Visit cjn.org for updates.