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ADL gloats over the cancellation of Gaza children’s art exhibit

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The Oakland Tribune is not impressed. From a September, 26 editorial:

Earlier this month, the board of Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art, MOCHA, abruptly canceled an exhibit of Palestinian children’s art that had been six months in the planning. “A Child’s View in Gaza” featured drawings and paintings by Palestinian children who were living in Gaza during Israel’s three-week bombing and ground invasion that began Dec. 27, 2008.

Pro-Israel lobbying groups claimed that the Gaza exhibit was anti-Israel and fought to kill it. They asserted that the art could not possibly have been created by children . . .

The museum’s actions have drawn justifiable condemnations from critics, including progressive Jewish groups who have demanded the museum reverse itself and allow the art work to be shown.

The entire event is troubling that certain individuals have prevented the public from viewing art they don’t want us to see. What’s to stop other organizations from using the same strong-arm tactics to silence opposing viewpoints?

For more see the Forward – “Bay Area Jewish Groups Celebrate Shutting Palestinian Art Exhibit.”
 

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34 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    September 28, 2011, 1:16 pm

    “controversial” ??? Not until the ADL etc. created controversy.

    In other words, I don’t like it, therefore I controvert it, and it is (ipso facto) “controversial”.

  2. annie
    annie
    September 28, 2011, 1:38 pm

    well, they have not prevented the public from seeing the exhibit. i went to the opening last saturday and there were hundreds of people. it started out on the courtyard of the museum with the entire inside perimeter lined with people each holding a replica of one of the drawings, at least 50 people or thereabouts ( henry was holding one). it was crammed and there was a band playing wonderful music on the street. there was also i little table set up by some pro israel activists and they had a few flags but everyone just ignored them.

    then everyone was directed to join a walk which ended up right around the corner less than a 1/2 block away! they didn’t have to look far for a willing venue and i heard they had many offers. there was a wonderful gallery with the original art set up and no way we could all fit inside so the crowd mingled on the sidewalk and out into the street (with people reminding us to stay on the sidewalk). after seeing the exhibit (some people were crying) and buying a t shirt with on of the images on the front w/CENSORED written on the bottom i found myself a nice spot standing in the bed of a parked truck to be able to see above the crowd and listen to the poetry over the microphone and music etc. a table was set up w/a chef making these edibles. the show will be up for 2 months i think.

    it was a wonderful well attended opening and i saw many activist friends there although it was so crowded another friend of mine who was there i completely missed somehow. as we were heading back to my friends car i noticed the pro israel activist with their table and flags still set up around the corner in front of the courtyard with no one else inside. all alone.

    • James
      James
      September 28, 2011, 2:28 pm

      thanks for the firsthand perspective annie…

      i agree with leper c’s comments below as well..

    • Kris
      Kris
      September 28, 2011, 3:45 pm

      Annie, is there a way to see and order one of those t-shirts online?

      • annie
        annie
        September 28, 2011, 10:09 pm

        kris, i would suggest contacting MECA.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 29, 2011, 12:32 am

      What a splendid action!

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      September 29, 2011, 8:59 am

      Thanks for the report. Where can we buy one of the CENSORED t shirts

      • annie
        annie
        September 29, 2011, 1:15 pm

        hi kathleen, you’re the third person who’s asked me that same question on the thread. ;)

        sounds like meca could raise some serious money thru these t shirts. check my response to kris a couple comments above for the link.

  3. Leper Colonialist
    Leper Colonialist
    September 28, 2011, 1:58 pm

    From another context, we can’t help but wonder [paraphase] : at long last, have they no shame?

    Still, some among the most hardline Zionists do not hesitate to shoot children, often under the flimsiest of pretexts, so why would we expect them to treat the artwork of kids any more leniently?

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 28, 2011, 11:06 pm

      “Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. … Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” (J.P. Welch)

      Cruelty and recklessness, yes.

      No decency.

      No shame.

  4. kursato
    kursato
    September 28, 2011, 2:20 pm

    I love mondoweiss. Its a great website.. you will hear a lot of me

  5. annie
    annie
    September 28, 2011, 2:29 pm

    this is getting a fair amount of radio coverage here in the bay area

    Wednesday’s Your Call: What’s the power of children’s art depicting trauma?
    10amPT/1pmET on 91.7 KALW or http://www.yourcallradio.org

    What’s the power of children’s art depicting trauma? And how does it affect those who see it? On the next Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about the art exhibit “A Child’s View from Gaza,” which was cancelled two weeks before it was set to open at the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland. The Museum said the images were too graphic, but local Jewish groups boasted to media outlets that they forced the museum board to make the decision. Does the museum have a responsibility to show an exhibit like this? And what’s the power of art? Join us live at 10 or send us an email at [email protected]. It’s Your Call with me, Rose Aguilar, and you.

    and another email message from a friend about kqed

    Hi. I just heard about this on the radio this morning:
    Wed, Sep 28, 2011 — 9:30 AM Palestinian Children’s Art Exhibit Canceled The Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland was recently slated to host an exhibit of art by Palestinian children living in Gaza. But after months of planning, the museum canceled the exhibit amidst concerns about the violent nature of the images, many depicting graphic scenes of war. What constitutes censorship, and what is and isn’t appropriate to show in a children’s museum?
    This will be on Forum at 88.5 fm.

    • Bill in Maryland
      Bill in Maryland
      September 28, 2011, 7:19 pm

      Thanks Annie for your first hand report and for the info. The audio/ mp3 for that KQED (Public Media for Northern California) Radio Forum program on the canceled/censored Palestinian Children’s Art Exhibit can be heard here.

  6. AhVee
    AhVee
    September 28, 2011, 2:46 pm

    “What’s to stop other organizations from using the same strong-arm tactics to silence opposing viewpoints?”

    Exactly. It’s appalling how various pro-Israel lobbying groups don’t see how they’re contributing directly to the dismantling of freedom of speech and freedom of expression by pulling stunts like this. And this not even a century after our art and our opinions were banned.

    And to justify their contribution to making society a bit more like Orwell’s dystopian one, they claim ” the art could not possibly have been created by children”. It’s despicable.

    • James
      James
      September 28, 2011, 3:38 pm

      the pro-israel organizations are trying to do the same thing with the coop in olympia wash… it sheds a light on the their concept of freedom and democracy… raise the specter of litigation if things don’t go your way, seems more cherished then any thought of freedom and democracy..

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        September 28, 2011, 5:21 pm

        It was the same thing with the bus ads in Seattle.

    • Charon
      Charon
      September 28, 2011, 6:07 pm

      Perhaps more effort should be used to expose these organizations and lobbies rather than make more Americans aware of Zionist crimes in occupied Palestine. These groups are like the ‘shield’ on Zionism. Take out the defenses and they have nowhere to hide.

      The ADL is a terrorist organization IMO. The JDL and the ADL are the same thing.

      • AhVee
        AhVee
        September 28, 2011, 8:51 pm

        “Perhaps more effort should be used to expose these organizations and lobbies rather than make more Americans aware of Zionist crimes in occupied Palestine.”

        Exposing them how? Creating awareness of Israel’s crimes is already taking the wind out of their sails by making their lies apparent and exposing their pro-Israel cause for the filth that it is. I know you’re implying they need to be broken down in another way too, I don’t see how else this could plausibly be attempted, unless their modus operandi is so apparently questionably kosher that it begs to be scandalised. Elaborate? I’d be interested.

  7. seafoid
    seafoid
    September 28, 2011, 2:58 pm

    I guess the Jewish activists of the Bay Area who organised this ban don’t believe their great helmsman, the self proclaimed leader of the Jewish people when he says :

    http://www.standwithus.com/app/inews/view_n.asp?ID=1599

    “It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death.
    The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day.

    Surely free people should be free to see images of what Israel did in Gaza.

    And if Bibi tells the truth and it was like this :

    “We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave. Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy’s civilian population from harm’s way.

    What is there to hide?

    The problem with Zionism is it takes too much work.
    And it is all going to come out in the open.

    • john h
      john h
      September 28, 2011, 5:27 pm

      “And if Bibi tells the truth and it was like this :

      “We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave. Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy’s civilian population from harm’s way.”

      What is there to hide?”

      Yeah, that’s Bibi’s truth, the ziocane planet one.

      Where was there to hide? Somewhere in Gaza, somewhere in Israel? Try to make a run for it and become a sitting duck?

      What was that again about the primitivism of the 9th century?

    • Charon
      Charon
      September 28, 2011, 6:15 pm

      Zionism does take too much work. Pretend that the Zionists were telling the truth the whole time (it’s tough, but just pretend for a sec) and also pretend that all Arabs were Muslims and all Muslims were Arabs (which Zionists seem to believe…) and pretend they were the mortal enemy of Jews dating back thousands of years (which Zionists also believe). Why even bother ‘taking back’ a nation that mortal enemy has had for 1,400 years? It would be far too risky to do this considering the neighboring nations surrounding them would be their enemies. It’s like building a house inside a hornets nest. What do you think would happen?

      The Zionists made their neighbors their enemies and as a result made and believe the above pretend scenario is reality. Too much work

  8. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail
    September 28, 2011, 4:16 pm

    If the ADL want to portray the Jewish community as exclusively supporting Israel and all its actions, whilst adopting the most hysterical, biased, heartless and vindictively despicable attitude (not to mention blatant lying), go right ahead. That is what you have achieved.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    September 28, 2011, 5:13 pm

    RE: “ADL gloats over the cancellation of Gaza children’s
    art exhibit”
    MY COMMENT: The ADL’s taking credit for the cancellation of the Gaza children’s art exhibit is no doubt good for fundraising from their Israel-obsessed, right-wing contributors.
    Unfortunately, it is not so good for American Jews more generally, because the ADL is commonly seen as a “Jewish organization”. Consequently, the ADL’s taking credit for having (as the Oakland Tribune described it ) “prevented the public from viewing art they [the ADL] don’t want us to see” will unfortunately be blamed by some people on “the Jews” more generally. And frightingly, that way lies anti-Semitism (and perhaps ultimately, MADNESS)!

  10. September 28, 2011, 10:46 pm

    “…..after seeing the exhibit (some people were crying) and buying a t shirt with on of the images on the front w/CENSORED written on the bottom…..”

    Annie, where can I purchase a few of these shirts? Can you please use your connections to find out, and let me know???

    • annie
      annie
      September 29, 2011, 12:30 am

      poa, kris asked me the same thing upthread where i provided the link to meca (10:09 pm), they have a contact link. let me know during the day if for some reason they don’t respond to your email. i’ll call them.

    • September 29, 2011, 8:30 pm

      Well, Annie, they didn’t respond.

  11. Chaos4700
    Chaos4700
    September 28, 2011, 11:38 pm

    Remind me again how the ADL isn’t part of the Zionist lobby and thus beholden to specific Jewish interests above everyone else’s.

  12. Susan Johnson
    Susan Johnson
    September 29, 2011, 1:29 am

    Annie, thanks for the sharing your experience at the opening of “A Child’s View from Gaza” I had hopes of being there but its a long, expensive trip from Philadelphia.

    Should memory fail , I coordinated the exhibit from the day our group (Phil was in the group) discussed the idea. The exhibit project was much larger, complicated and time consuming than I’d ever imagined. For the past year it has been shown in libraries, galleries. churches and similar venues on the east coast or mid-west. Attendance has been good, comments thoughtful and very little opposition. When there has been it’s the exhibit isn’t balanced with drawings by Israeli children; it’s showing Israel as violent, which isn’t fair; these drawings were brought to the US as propaganda against Israel and Israel is always being mistreated. But, as I said, there exhibit experienced very little negativity.

    The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) hosted the exhibit in the San Francisco Bay area and secured the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) as the venue. What a step up for the drawings, they were going to be exhibited in a museum. It almost sounded too good to be true.

    I have never even remotely been in a situation that involved organized pressure from any group let alone Jewish
    The attach lodged against “A Child’s View from Gaza” shocked and overwhelmed me even tho I was on the other side of the country and not that involved in the minute by minute happenings.

    These community relations groups and other Jewish organizations are amazing…and not in a good way! They have many groups who, when needed, organize and function as one.

    The Jewish organizations are professionals with no similarity to community groups like Rotary, PTA or Save the Environment. They leave them in the dust. They know exactly what they want; what they need to do to get it AND THEY HAVE THE FUNDS! It’s frightening they were able to exert so much power the museum board caved in. They are a lobby, similar to the ones in Washington. Did they threaten to cut off funding and remind the board of the generous donations “their community” gives n support. I think their methods are quit similar to blackmail. or mafia techniques.

    In the beginning of their campaign there were statements that the drawings were nothing more than propaganda against Israel to make it appear violent; tarnish their image. Well, if they don’t want to be seen as violent they should stop being violent. There was concern about the Jewish children visiting the exhibit. What if they were picked on? What if they were questioned about what the drawings said…”they don’t know” There were no cries of antisemitism which is unusual I can’t figure that out.

    Finally the Jewish organizations became the champions and protectors of children. Children could not be exposed to those violent drawings (children can only be exposed to the real thing, especially Palestinian children) What bull shit. They were not censoring anything they felt they had to speak up for those poor children. They have taken away the parent’s right to determine what their child sees or doesn’t see.! They worried about little two year-olds wandering through the museum, they shouldn’t be exposed to all the blood and violence . Isn’t someone supposed to be with a two year old?

    And the board caved in to the pressure of Jewish organizations, a power house who said over and over again, all they were doing was trying to protect the children.

    They were not allowed to function in silence; go unnoticed; remain anonymous…THANK GOD. MECA didn’t put up with their actions. MECA announced that Jewish organizations had put pressure on the MOCHA’s board. They then named the groups. They were gutsy and brave; challenging what the groups said, repeating the names of the organizations involved. I was so proud of them for standing up for what is right.

    Censorship is wrong and very dangerous. Power is dangerous. The lobbies for Israel are dangerous, powerful and rarely challenged. I’d never seen them in action, been involved with them in any way, My god, what a frightening experience and even more frightening was the realization that this was not an isolated incidence it’s the norm and it’s happening all over our country. How have we let this happen and how can we bring it to a halt?

    “A Child’s View from Gaza” will be exhibited in Oakland until the end of November. There have been venues who canceled sending the sponsoring group into a mad search for a new space. People are fearful having witnessed Oakland. I’ve had numerous calls and emails from people who knew nothing about the exhibit and having heard about Oakland they want to host the exhibit. where they live.

    One of the exhibit’sgoals was raising awareness about Gaza and her children; what they experienced during Operation Cast Lead .The Jewish Organizations in the Bay Area campaigned to have the exhibit canceled and won. They may have shot themselves in the foot.Their actions have exposed thousands and thousands of people to Gaza’s plight and because MECA “called a spade a spade” the Jewish organizations involved were seen as bullies trying to censor what can be seen. I don’t think that was the result they expected.

  13. piotr
    piotr
    September 29, 2011, 3:35 am

    Hopefully, the success of combined efforts of Jewish organizations in Bay Area will exposed not thousands but millions to the atrocities of the occupation and mindlessness of the Lobby.

    As I understand, the exhibition had no trouble finding venues in various places, but these were very small venues with publicity pretty much limited to the hundreds of people who visited. MOCHA is a small museum but a museum nevertheless, and with a proud tradition (well, until now). But now the story of bullying, gloating of victory and plucky organizers who did not give in and prevailed, with the help of good people in the area can become a coast-to-coast news item.

    And more Americans will understand how truly “unprecendented” were “the measures to save innocent lives” during Cast Lead. Like exhortation of the military rabbinate to show no mercy to the enemy. And white phosphorus.

  14. Sumud
    Sumud
    September 29, 2011, 4:05 am

    “A Child’s View from Gaza” will be exhibited in Oakland until the end of November. There have been venues who canceled sending the sponsoring group into a mad search for a new space. People are fearful having witnessed Oakland. I’ve had numerous calls and emails from people who knew nothing about the exhibit and having heard about Oakland they want to host the exhibit. where they live.

    One of the exhibit’sgoals was raising awareness about Gaza and her children; what they experienced during Operation Cast Lead .The Jewish Organizations in the Bay Area campaigned to have the exhibit canceled and won. They may have shot themselves in the foot.Their actions have exposed thousands and thousands of people to Gaza’s plight and because MECA “called a spade a spade” the Jewish organizations involved were seen as bullies trying to censor what can be seen. I don’t think that was the result they expected.

    Marvellous to hear this Susan, congratulations :-)

    I noticed a similar phenomenon here in Australia after the Victorian Police arrested 19 BDS activists at a demonstration against the IDF-supporting Max Brenner cafes a few months ago. The Murdoch press went wild with ridiculous denunciations, a Victorian state minister asked the ACCC (a government consumer and competition watchdog) to declare the BDS movement illegal, the ex-PM now Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and some of his cronies popped in to Max Brenner for a coffee-cum-photo-op blabbing on [inaccurately] about boycotting jewish businesses being like the anti-jewish nazi boycotts from the 1930s – and suddenly hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of Australians heard about BDS for probably the first time ever.

    Unexpected consequences. Blowback.

    Isn’t it nice when your enemies help you out with publicity?

  15. piotr
    piotr
    September 29, 2011, 2:20 pm

    I am a bit less optimistic now. It seems that the story made the news only in the local newspapers of the Bay Area (and here and there outside USA). And Jewish media. Still, great job, MECA and Bay Area activists!

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