The world’s biggest political poster-child campaign is gaining momentum and about to crash against the gates of the United Nations – again.
This time it’s being illustrated by groups of young Arab artists from across Israel and Palestinian areas. Never fear, we in the West will not be left adrift without our own pro-Palestine (AKA anti-Israeli) art for the cause.
Peaking in the news lately is a 1,000-square-meter wall mural illustrating the “3,500 year history of the Palestinians” on a soccer stadium in Nablus. If you squint or have poor eyesight the wall could possibly resemble some old ruin. Just go with it – Art doesn’t have to be logical, but it may require a suspension of disbelief. Newly minted Palestinian history is squarely in the field of art, not science.
Spokesman Areeg Thawabi announced that artists are “coming from all over Palestine with a message of freedom” in a visual form for the entire world.” In Palestinese “freedom” refers to attacking Jewish character, glorifying violence against their neighbors and claiming Jewish homes and cities.
The wall painting “Huna Canaan” (Here is Canaan) aims to visually establish an uninterrupted historical presence for the current inhabitants of Israel, but excluding all Jews. This new twist is quite clever, since it back-handedly accepts the biblical narrative of Israel conquering of the area and smiting the Canaanites years ago. Formally, the Palestinian Authority denies such a thing ever happened.
Scenes skip to the 1948 establishment of Israel or Nakba (bewailed as a great tragedy), effects of the Six Day war and Intifada, all occurring within the last generation.
Daniel Greenburg succinctly pans that the trumpeted 3,500 years are entirely covered “by skipping over them.”
Truly the founder of the modern version of Palestine is Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004, and he gets his due. With a grand and authoritative pose, Arafat looms across the wall dispossessed of his personal arsenal and armed guards for once, unlike real life.
The art is maudlin and thin – a visual blend of soap opera and agitprop-art, where all types of mismatched symbolic characters stretch dejectedly for a cause. Adding to the confusion, the piece lead-handedly tries to establish an era, create a culture ex-nihilo and attack the Jews simultaneously.
Somehow the poor quality is comforting, as I hate to see good art sacrificed to a terrible cause (a common enough occurrence).
Could something this obvious work? Quite easily with the help of a cowering media and utterly gullible students and public. And then they send in the clowns: Deceitful academics and politicians have always been a great comfort, and what could rabid anti-Semites do without them? They need the gravitas and appearance of serious pedagogy for their cause.
Ancient frescoes and wall murals of Italy, Nepal or Mexico were made for one of two reasons: They were either historic memorials or tributes, or they portrayed religion or mythology, but not both. Palestinian artists are miraculously managing to both simultaneously.
The mural artists call themselves the “Athens School” after the painter Raphael’s famed painting of the same name, but the similarity ends abruptly with the title. Their art couldn’t be more polarized in style, skill, content and substance, but especially in spirit.
Raphael’s famed Vatican mural represents the highest attainments in ancient Greek but also in Renaissance thought. Figures stood for beauty, love, knowledge, theology, art and law – but above all Western philosophy. Mohammed makes no appearance, and the Duke of Mantua carries no guns (Arafat’s constant companion).
I can’t claim to know the artists’ personal motives and haven’t spoken with them. Yet it’s disingenuous to claim “peace” while your art glorifies war, hate and racial genocide. And that’s what the legacy of Arafat is all about, even censored, denied or painted out.
Perhaps the only tribute “Huna Canaan” pays to “The Athens School” is the subtle hand gesture of Plato, one of two central figures. He points toward the heavens indicating his philosophy of transcendent reality beneath appearances. Arafat’s hand is pointing also – but it may just be a gang symbol.
In the narrative first penned by Yasser Arafat and continued by acolytes, Israel just doesn’t exist and never did. That 1,500-year-old historical narrative known as the Bible? Jews just dreamed it all up, and you can trust Arafat on that.
And where would this revised history of Palestine be without helpful anti-Semites? Some on the right and almost the entirety of the left.
Indeed Palestine’s Hamas and PA terrorists leaders enjoy a type of limitless freedom unlike any other place. No other people can almost daily lob missiles at schools, resting certain that the entire world politely will turn their heads and feign brain death for decades. Only Palestinians send suicide bombers via ambulance toward the Israeli doctors who just patched them up (gratis). If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army to protect Jews praying at Joseph’s Nablus tomb (which the PA burnt in a symbolic peace move).
As representatives for the proposed Palestinians have done so well in soliciting sympathy, money and votes for the destruction of their neighbors, they plan to grace us with even more art and fictional lamentations.
York University in Toronto, Canada, features a clearly anti-Israel mural in their student center in spite of a flurry of complaints. Small and relatively inoffensive compared to more odious and publicized works, the painting portrays a map with all of Israel relabeled as “Palestine.” Are they all Romans? An Arab man also hides rocks behind his back ready to lob at stray Jews.
Jewish community leaders, at times tolerant to a fault (or to an art form) have no problem with the centrally placed art piece. The university’s student Hillel chapter isn’t making any complaints, claiming the mural has little impact on students’ opinion of Israel. A safe way to say no one could possibly take it seriously.
But artists and cultural actors working to establish a faux-historical narrative denying the validity of Israel (and to replace the majority of the Bible) are quite serious.
Project coordinator Wael Dwiekat told Anadolu Agency, “My colleagues and I have been working hard on this project, which we consider a national duty.”
Athens School painters plan to paint “similar images all over the land of Palestine” on even larger spaces if they find them and hope to be more visible at international art fairs in the future.
Is this a new form of terrorism? Garish and amateurish art that clearly wants you dead can’t be pleasant for Israeli Jews, but of course that’s the entire point. What form will the newest chapters for alternative reality take in Arafat’s revised history of the Palestinian people?
At least the security walls are safe for now. A member of the Athens Group assures us they will never paint on the wall because it “represents the ugliest form of occupation in history.”
Really “the ugliest occupation” ever? What can be expected from people whose predecessors materially helped Hitler draft the Final Solution, invited him into the region and hoped to rid the world of Jews in 1938?
2013 – war through art.
Thanks to AtlasShrugs, Frontpagemag, Anadolu Agency.