Ad company drops Israeli hostage billboard campaign after threats

Police advised the firm to drop the campaign after fears for employees’ safety


 An advertising company has withdrawn a billboard campaign showing images of Israeli hostages after threats of violence, sabotage and boycotts.

London Lites, which rolled out a similar initiative a week after the October 7 terror attack, said that police had advised them to drop the campaign over concerns it was endangering the company’s employees and shopkeepers working close to the digital displays.

The company told the JC that it had come to this “exceptional decision” just six days into the two-week campaign after receiving “thousands” of angry messages from the public and following a consultation with the Met police.

The JC understands that multiple threats were made against London Lites staff and, in one instance at least, a thug attempted to scale and vandalise a billboard.

London Lites also said the Met police had warned them about a threat of physical violence to a shopkeeper who leases a property disl one of the billboards.

The police also flagged threats to boycott the business and an intimidating campaign on social media.

A spokesperson for London Lites said: “Following discussions with the Metropolitan Police about community safety concerns regarding billboard site advertising this campaign, we have regrettably taken the decision to cease advertising on community cohesion grounds.
“While we are strong advocates of freedom of speech and endeavour to minimise censorship, we acknowledge the remarkable level of reaction these posters have elicited.

“The reaction from members of the public — both in terms of messages sent to the business and on the ground at some billboard locations — has been very different to when we carried a similar campaign featuring Israeli hostages in October, funded by the Campaign Against Antisemitism.”

The campaign, organised by the Hostages Families’ Forum UK with support from the Israeli Embassy, raised a “substantial” sum to fund it. The group had not provided any comment at time of going to press.

The Israeli Embassy accused London Lites of “playing into the hands of terrorists” over the decision.

A spokesperson for the embassy said: “We regret that the London Lites company caved to the threats of an extreme minority in the UK, which forcefully tries to limit freedom of expression. The embassy will continue to raise awareness for the 137 Israeli hostages that remain as hostages by Hamas in Gaza.

“There should be nothing controversial about raising awareness for innocent civilians being held hostage by a terror organisation. This is a humanitarian cause. This plays into the hands of terrorists by succumbing to intimidation and threats in London.”

London Lites did not coment on the embassy’s allegations.

It is believed that 135 hostages remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity. The IDF this week recovered the bodies of  Eden Zacharia and IDF Warrant Officer Ziv Dado, who were taken hostage on October 7.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive