Fact Check: Did Israel Ad Bump Ukraine Ad From Times Square Banner?

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Simultaneous conflicts in Ukraine and Israel have led to a divide in U.S. politics, with lawmakers arguing aid contributions to the warring nations should be scrutinized separately.Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukrainian support in Congress has somewhat waned, with some Republicans now arguing that funding for Kyiv should be reassessed, while elsewhere offering support for Israel’s conflict with Hamas.This split in opinion appeared to be emblematized in a video shared online this week, depicting a pro-Ukrainian digital billboard ad in Times Square purportedly being replaced with a pro-Israel statement.The ClaimA Nov. 13, 2023, post on X, formerly Twitter, by user @joiedevivre789, which has been viewed 114,800 times, included a video of what appeared to be a billboard ad in Times Square. The video shows the message “Stand with Ukraine” being bumped down, replaced with “Stand with Israel.” On an adjacent video display, the Ukrainian flag is replaced with Israel’s.A longer version of the post showed the ad ended with the message “WATCH THE NEWS”, alongside the ABC News Logo.X user @joiedevivre789 wrote: “Israel literally pushed Ukraine out …”The FactsThe notion that this ad could have shown in Times Square is not implausible. The New York landmark’s billboards have attracted controversial vendors and messages in the past.In 2020, it displayed a Trump Death Clock, showing the “Estimated U.S. Covid-19 Deaths Due to POTUS Inaction.” It has also hosted ads calling to impeach the former president, prior to his impeachment in 2021, another encouraging women to suppress their appetites with lollipops, and the Safemoon cryptocurrency, whose executives have since been arrested in a DOJ fraud investigation. In this context, it might not seem completely far-fetched that a politically divisive advert about conflicts in Ukraine and Israel could have appeared.However, the video showing a message of Ukrainian solidarity being phased out with one supporting Israel is not authentic.Newsweek contacted Clear Channel Outdoors, which manages the billboard at the site. A spokesperson said: “The ad is fake and hasn’t run on our displays.”Other video shared online showed an ad running at the same site for the new Trolls movie.Newsweek was also told by a network source that “this is not an advertisement from ABC News.”The RulingFalse.The video of an ad showing a Ukrainian solidarity statement, squeezed out of a digital billboard and replaced with a pro-Israeli statement, is fake.Clear Channel Outdoors, which manages the billboard in Times Square, has said the ad is bogus and does not run on its display. Video filmed in Times Square of the actual display showed a movie promo.FACT CHECK BY Newsweek’s Fact Check team

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