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Israeli censorship

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  • Israeli censorship

    In Sweden, the Israeli ambassador lately went beserk and almost smashed up what was presented as a piece of art. This kind of behaviour is quite unheard of in Scandinavia, and in diplomatic cirles in general I believe, and it sent me wondering.

    I have not seen the work in question, but so far as I understand, it presented the photo of a known female Palestine "terrorist." Her picture was attached to a frail boat of paper, and it sailed around in a pool of red liquid.

    The artist, I believe, is of Jewish parentage himself, and he maintained that the installation was in no way intended to be antisemitic.

    When I was first presented with this case, I was puzzled. If the ambassador had just ignored it and gone away, the installation would almost certainly have been instantly forgotten. Yet, he he must have been seized with a fit of anger that made him react so violently.

    As I see it, a picture of a terrorist sailing on a sea of blood, could hardly be a tribute, leave alone an antisemitic statement. In fact, it seems to me that the officials of Israel these days are acting increasingly right-wing and oppresive. I suppose we all ought to distinguish between criticism of the Israel government and of Jews in general.

    But sometimes, I find the line hard to draw. Can we really tolerate an official of Israel to destroy something he deems to be antisemtic, and not dare to criticize him for it for the fear of being anti-semitic.

    In general, can we really support an obviously right-wing and oppresive government in Israel just because each and every critisism of it will be termed as antisemitic?
    "If the environment were a bank, we would already have saved it." -Graffitti.

  • #2
    How dare you raise that question you anti-semite!
    :lol:

    No I agree. The ambassador acted silly. He should have dismissed it if he thought it was offensive. It would have been hardly noticed, but now, most of the world has heard of that artwork.

    I don't know what the artist was trying to say, but I think the ambassador acted inappropriately.

    There is this sense of political correctness everywhere. I think too many things are censored because they "will not pass". Everyone is afraid of offending someone.
    When they had advanced together to meet on common
    ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
    and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
    each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
    mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
    killing, and the ground ran with blood.

    Homer, The Illiad

    Comment


    • #3
      Art can be something like a landscape painting that you hang over your bed (not mine, of course!) and which has a calming effect (...choose other motive for the opposite appetite).
      Yet ART has also this very healthy quality of causing uproars. And it should do so. And so the Israeli Ambassador went raving mad. Well why not - until he made a politcal issue out of it. I mean it can be justifiably seen as utterly tasteless to "iconize" a women who went into a group of civilians to blow them and herself to pieces in a suicide attack. I respect the ambassador's feelings as person who perhaps lost relatives or lives in daily worry about his own kids or so. It also tells me that diplomats have nerves too. Art in this moment touched a sensitive spot and was successful in moving people, even polarizing people. "Art as tranquilizer" is what insurance companies, dentists and homes for the aged have in their lobbies.
      What I can't agree with is when the man turns into a representative of his country again and excerts a childish form of censorship by destroying a piece of art, no matter how questionable. Initiating a discussion would have been "cooler", surely, but I wouldn't discount the human emotional element in the reaction. The artist himself must have anticipated that with such a piece he wouldn't get only heads shaking or silent nods.
      To me the question in the Swedish case really is whether he acted as the private person Zvi Mazel or as H.E. the Ambassador of Israel who went there already with the intention to go "meshugah" (as one paper wrote).
      (hmmm.... can an ambassador ever be only Mr. Private in a public space???)

      Some more information on a Swedish site for you, but in English:
      http://www.bearstrong.net/warblog/000592.html

      and there's an "Israel forum" where it was discussed
      http://www.israelforum.com/board/sho...?threadid=4750

      a leading Israeli Newspaper
      http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pa...ID=0&listSrc=Y
      Even AL Ahram, Cairo, chips in its comment:
      http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/674/pr1.htm

      And a piece of ART has kicked all this loose!

      Berlusconi is probably pissed he hadn't the chance yet to do similar, it is really his stye
      Google ergo sum

      Comment


      • #4
        Voluptious Von Weiner and eminent L'Etranger,

        I think we're all very much in accord on this matter. The ambassador made a silly mistake, yet a mistake that completely understandable, considering the miserable state of affairs in the Middle East, and his private griefs. (Thanks for the great links, too, by the way.)

        However, the matter doesn't stop at a private person losing himself in a fit of anger -- something that I could easily understand. The reaction was instantly adopted as the official view of Israel -- witness Sharon's comment in one of the links the stranger so munificently gave us: 'Ariel Sharon today congratulated Mazel for "standing up against the growing anti-Semitism", and said that "the phenomenon was so grave that it was impossible not to react on the spot". '

        The thing is, of course, that the state of affairs in the Middle East are so grave that it's almost impossible to come up with a solution, and everybody there will seize any opportunity to vile their supposed opposers. Yet, I can hardly believe that they want the war to go on forever, and see their family and neighbours killing and mutilating each other no end.

        The Foreign Minister in Denmark lately made a remark that struck me as unusually appropriate for the situation (even if he's part of an appalling Bush-supporting government), which went something like, "Peace will never be achieved until somebody decides NOT to throw the second stone."

        An unusually grave
        Jagged
        "If the environment were a bank, we would already have saved it." -Graffitti.

        Comment


        • #5
          Aren't they all Semites over there, all politics aside?

          Comment


          • #6
            Semites in Israel...? Yes, I've heard there are supposed to be a few of them....
            "If the environment were a bank, we would already have saved it." -Graffitti.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jagged
              Voluptious Von Weiner and eminent L'Etranger,

              I think we're all very much in accord on this matter. ...

              (shortened)

              The Foreign Minister in Denmark lately made a remark that struck me as unusually appropriate for the situation (even if he's part of an appalling Bush-supporting government), which went something like, "Peace will never be achieved until somebody decides NOT to throw the second stone."

              An unusually grave
              Jagged
              Noble Jagged, you are quite right, an official person representing a state that is in such a serious and delicate historical situation, not to say entrenched, just can't allow himself to such actions, no matter how much we respect his emotions.

              What the Danish Foreign Minister said is much in line with what I think. The world can only be healed with a strong combination of common sense, imaginative, visionary power and sympathy.

              L'Etranger
              Google ergo sum

              Comment

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