Is it fine art? Or base dhimmitude? From Frimet Roth in FrontPage:
In August 2004, the Museum of Israeli Art in Ramat-Gan hosted an exhibit of the graduates of a two-year course at the WIZO Photography School in Haifa. One of the students, Nasrin Mazoi, an Israeli Arab, presented her portraits of six handsome Palestinian males. These, she averred, were prepared “to blow themselves up in order to change the present situation.” Each boasts a family member who is a suicide bomber.
Mazoi’s oeuvre, as distinct from the work of the other graduates, received an extensive and laudatory review on the front page of the Arts Section of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.(“Mazoi’s portraits”¦ challenge the viewer”). She was interviewed at length on Channel 10″s current affairs program “London and Kirschenbaum” (“Check out the exhibit; it’s very worthwhile”).
Four days after its review appeared, Haaretz published a letter from Amar Darbas, one of Mazoi’s six anonymous Arab subjects. Mazoi, he wrote, simply misrepresented her intentions to him when she solicited him as a subject. He has no relatives who were suicide bombers. He has never considered becoming one himself. She invented his profile.
Unfortunately, his letter was given no prominence. It also elicited no reaction from Mazoi’s reviewers.
On January 20, 2005, a photographic exhibit will be unveiled in the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, Kansas. The show, “Where We Come From,” will feature 32 photographs taken by Palestinian-American artist Emily Jacir during her travels beyond the Green Line.
Each one is accompanied by a text like the one beside a photo of a pair of feet on a cobble-stoned street: “Walk the streets of Nazareth. I have never seen Nazareth. Of course, I cannot go there because of the Israeli barriers, and because the Israelis consider us “˜illegal” if we go there.” The words are attributed to “˜George, Born in Nablus, living in Ramallah.’
No minor out-of-town side-show, Jacir’s “conceptual” art has already been featured by the Whitney Museum in New York City and galleries in London, Munich, Chicago and Houston.
A Wichita State University official and the executive director of the Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation separately approached the museum’s director, David Butler, requesting him to present the Israeli position via some written material. When Butler and the artist objected on the grounds that this amounted to censorship, the request was withdrawn.
Butler conceded that the show is “certainly critical of the Israeli occupation and the policies of the Israeli government.” Nevertheless, he is adamant, according to the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, that, “the show is entirely appropriate for his museum unadorned with any pro-Israel explanation for the strictures placed on Palestinian-Arabs”.
The Mazoi and Jacir exhibits are not isolated examples. Hardly a month goes by that some pro-Palestinian exhibition or film does not win an award somewhere in Europe. It seems unlikely they are being selected for their professional excellence alone.
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