Museum Cancels Exhibit of Palestinian Kids’ Art

Interview

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is back on the front pages this week. The Palestinian Authority is seeking admission as a member state to the United Nations and emotions are running high — even about an exhibit at a tiny museum in Oakland, California.

This weekend, the Museum of Children's Art (MOCHA) planned to open an exhibition of drawings by Palestinian children called "A Child's View from Gaza." It was organized by an activist group called the Middle East Children's Alliance, which has long criticized Israel’s 2009 invasion of Gaza. Some of the Palestinian kids’ illustrations depict graphic violence by Israeli soldiers and tanks firing on civilians.

Over the last month, Bay Area Jewish groups have expressed their opposition to the exhibition. MOCHA ultimately canceled it last week.

“We were concerned that the audience the museum serves was inappropriate for this kind of art,” Rabbi James Brandt, CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of the East Bay, tells Kurt Andersen. Brandt says, "We were concerned that young children with no understanding of complexities of the Middle East would associate their Jewish neighbors with these perpetrators [in the drawings].”

In 2004, the museum displayed art by Iraqi children, some of which depicted violence committed by American soldiers.

UPDATE 9/24: MOCHA has announced plans to reschedule the exhibition:

"When we canceled the exhibit A Child's View from Gaza earlier this month, we did so both because we lacked a formal policy for sensitive content, and because were not confident that we had the resources to deal with the numerous concerns we received regarding the exhibit.  In response to input from the community and careful consideration by our Board of Directors and staff, the Museum of Children's Art has developed a new policy governing the exhibition of items with sensitive content.  Today we invited MECA to work with us to reschedule the exhibit for display at MOCHA in keeping with that new policy."

What do you think? Did the museum make the appropriate choice in canceling the exhibition? Tell us in a comment below.

 

Slideshow: Work from “A Child’s View from Gaza”

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Courtesy of Middle East Children's Alliance and Barbara Lubin

From the art exhibition A Child's View From Gaza.

Produced by:

Derek John and Michele Siegel

Comments [56]

David Ullendorff from Los Angeles

Sadly children are being used as tools in a propaganda war by Hamas, the current rulers of Gaza. It is a matter of public record that they teach children from infancy to hate Jews in school and on television. These images are hardly pure childhood expression.

Hamas has no problem hiding rockets in these children’s homes and then exploiting the inevitable image of their suffering when Israel exercises its right to prevent rocket attacks on it’s own civilians. How do you think the USA would respond if thousands of rockets were fired on US citizens from across the border?

Oct. 04 2011 12:33 PM
Soubie from NYC

Seems like they were shamed into doing the right thing. Thanks Kurt.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant :)

Oct. 02 2011 02:29 PM
Al from New York

It was a biased interview by Anderson, particularly on the point of propaganda, but I thought nothing more of it until yesterday when Anderson updated the museum's position and referred to more conversation on his website. I guessed he must be concealing the negative responses he had received. He was, and I think this was creepy and dishonest. I wont trust Kurt Anderson again.

Oct. 02 2011 09:07 AM
mark

If you wish to go forth with this exhibit you should also include cartoons from Palestinian schools and media that depict Jews as pigs and cannibals.
Re richard from Ohio: whose careers are you talking about.

Oct. 01 2011 07:24 PM
Gordon from The USA - a free country

Kurt's interviewing style was incredibly refreshing. Too many interviewers, even on NPR, take the namby-pamby kid-glove approach to interviewing. He was interviewing an openly-bigoted gentleman and did his best to draw answers to specific questions out of his guest. The guest acted like a consummate politician and ducked, dodged and otherwise avoided specific answers.

And why such a fuss about a little exhibit in a small museum in a free country where people can choose to view or not to view?

Oct. 01 2011 08:57 AM
Mike from Newark DE

I thought the interview & show were fair to each side of the issue. I think Kurt was trying to play "devils advocate" in his pointed questions of the Rabbi. The museum (MOCHA) should not have cancelled the exhibit, even if it's a "childrens" exhibit. They could have presented the "other side" if it was not already included. Kids need to be exposed to reality and not coddled too much. It prepares them for adulthood.

Oct. 01 2011 08:31 AM
Mitch from The Bronx

After relistening to the interview and reading some of the comments I am less concerned about Kurt's questioning than I am about some of the overtly bigoted comments by listeners.

Certainly Kurt showed his bias in saying that a flag or symbol doesn't incite blame against all of a group. It certainly does to some extent. Also, Kurt kept referring to the "Israeli invasion of Gaza", without explaining that it was in response to the offensive rocket fire into Israel. And the debate about what is propaganda was silly, because if you change the symbols and make the drawings less childlike the drawings are exactly the same propaganda imagery that has been used for centuries.

I would defend the museum's right to show the drawings even if they are propaganda. But if it's a publicly funded institution then there should be "equal time" for the other side of the issue.

While I intend to keep supporting the station because I don't think most of the shows have this bias, it may not be to the same extent as previously. The response from the listeners shows that the bias that Kurt tried to cloak was easily recognized by the audience; some liked it and some didn't.

Sep. 29 2011 11:45 AM
Richard in Ohio from mid west

I have seen every depiction by the Gaza children on the news reporting of many sources, but not on American/Jewish news. The rabbi and his organization demonstrates a regular practice of Pro Israeli Jews world wide and especially here in America. We seldom hear about the reporters whose careers are ruined and jobs taken if even whisper of criticism of Israel or Jews is suggested. Certainly this rabbi would not object to children visiting the proliferating museums all over the world depicting the Jewish holocaust. In fact these terrible images clearly showing Germans as the bad guys is now somehow required reading and field trips for children. Of course, depiction of the Palestinian holocaust is not allowed, and it is unfair to depict Jewish teenagers in uniform murdering children, women and their neighbors. I am ashamed of my countries support of Israel, especially Jewish Americans. It is about time we outed the Israeli's and their supporters for the land grabbing thieves and murderers they have become.

Sep. 27 2011 09:26 PM
Carmen Piner from Philadelphia

What a sad statement regarding artistic freedom when this Rabbi has become the self appointed censor of what is "appropriate" for child viewing. Maybe he should conduct a survey or q.&a. with children to get their feedback. Children are far more savvy and rich in imagination than adults like this Rabbi understand. Get a grip Rabbi. Jewish stars should be the least of your propaganda concerns!
THANKS KURT, YOUR SHOW IS HOT1

Sep. 27 2011 01:51 PM
CraigJS from Cowlumbus, Oh!

The lesson is clear in America: If you look into what has taken place between Israel and the occupied territories with an open heart and open eyes, chances are you will be ignored, shot down, silenced, given 6 seconds (to make your case on 40 to 70 years of history), etc. Even if you are a child. Even if you live there.

Thank you, Kurt Anderson and company, for bringing these children's viewpoint out of the silence of dissenting viewpoints.

Sep. 27 2011 12:44 PM
Maurice

I think the interviewer did an exellent job. I would argue that any good journalist should politely challenge the answers of his guest, and I think he did just that.

Sep. 27 2011 03:53 AM
EG from Berkeley

I was saddened by this interview. I grew up in Berkeley, went to Cal and after a while in New York, cambe back here. I love Berkeley but hate the assumption that we are all ultra-PC and wimpy. I am afraid that this interview and the Rabbi perpetuated this assumption. The story did that enough as is.

Sep. 26 2011 12:37 PM
Allan from flyover land

The museum's resistance to censorship by rescheduling the exhibit of Gaza drawings is the appropriate choice.

I think Susan Cox has captured the denouement of the interview succinctly: the Rabbi did hang himself. We would not have seen his lack of preparation for this dispute or his ugly double standard without Kurt's pointed questions.

I was surprised that Rabbi Brandt was completely ignorant of the Museum's earlier show of Iraqi children's art with an identical theme: children's reaction to military violence. But in the Iraqi instance, those generating destruction, injury, and death are members of the U.S. armed forces. The Iraqi children identified the invaders with unmistakable U.S. flags, the words "MARINE" and "USA", and with crosses and crucifix. We did not see evidence that Bay Area Christian clergy exerted influence to stop that show because the perpetrators of the gory violence were associated with cross and cricifix. No clergy tried to quash the presentation because they were concerned that young children who have no understanding of the complexities of the Middle East would basically identify their Christian neighbors as the perpetrators.

Did Rabbi Brandt's group raise any objection to the art of the children of Iraq?

Rabbi Brandt explains this glaring double standard by telling us he doesn't think there "was any question in the community about the justification of the military action" by U.S. forces in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Rabbi does not define what "community" he is referring to.

If the question of justification were asked of the Oakland "community" or of our nation at large, Rabbi Brandt must present some current survey data to support what appears to be a dubious claim.

Rabbi Brandt attempts to malign the genuine nature of the Gaza children's drawings by expressing suspicion that the drawings are not the work of children. Judith from New York City seizes on these suspicions as if the Rabbi had stated a known truth that "...the children were told to put Jewish stars on the soldiers.." and suddenly suspicion becomes a factual basis for deeming the drawings propaganda.

Rabbi Brandt's claim that ambulances in Gaza do not have the English word "AMBULANCE" painted on them is absurd. Try a simple image search on Google using a phrase such as "ambulances in Gaza." If that doesn't satisfy you that the English word appears on these vehicles, try this address http://electronicintifada.net/content/israeli-forces-target-pcrs-ambulance-gaza/1521

Several commentators have taken Kurt Andersen to task for the way he conducted the interview. I suggest you listen to a few hours of BBC radio news between 0530 and 0800 hours GMT. These folks interview diplomats, envoys, statesment and politicos of all rank. Kurt Andersen conducted his interview in a fashion similar to theirs. I applaud Kurt's session, and I think we're richer for what he brought to the surface.

Sep. 26 2011 06:05 AM
Kristine R from Berkeley, CA

I live in Berkeley and have heard other interviews and read articles about this topic. I think this was a 2 year project that was part of therapy provided to Palestinian children and artwork was to help them express their feelings. If a children's museum just suddenly found it inappropriate weeks before the opening something is wrong. Maybe it can and should have been exhibited in a museum geared towards adults or teens. Just canceling the show is not necessary especially after sponsors and many people worked so hard to get the artwork here.

Sep. 26 2011 02:20 AM
Judith from New York City

It seems to me that if children were told to put Jewish stars on the soldiers when they weren't actually wearing them on uniforms, and if they were told how to write "ambulance" in English when it wasn't written in English on the ambulances, then these drawings are propaganda, and to tell the rabbi he should be civil and not call it propaganda is to tell him he shouldn't make his point about why the drawings are a problem. If the sponsors of this drawing project had just let the children draw what they were feeling it would very likely not have been objected to or canceled. Israel as a government helps Palestinian filmmakers produce artistic and angry films.

Sep. 26 2011 12:27 AM
Susan from Seattle

Mr. Anderson, I haven’t studied your show, but I have tended to tune in on a regular basis and can say that I have not heard you both attack and police the perspective of a guest before. I was offended by your behavior and believe it degraded the character of your show. You have a diverse and intelligent audience, please let us think for ourselves; keep your personal politics to yourself and engage in activism on your time, not with my tax dollars. This is not what I tune in to your show for, and sadly, I will tune out if you continue to use your show as a political forum for your beliefs. I’m interested in the arts, in the diverse perspectives of your guests, not in your soapbox.

Sep. 26 2011 12:24 AM
Susanne Cox from Seattle

Kurt-- you could have used a more subtle and sly approach with the Rabbi. In other words, use your usual cool and neutral approach while gently pushing more and more rope across the table. Eventually he'd hang himself on his own accord without your combative approach.Your audience would be smart enough to get the picture-- that's why we don't listen to talk radio.

Sep. 25 2011 10:28 PM
Marc from Massachusetts

I thought Kurt Anderson was appropriately and politely assertive with Rabbi Brandt. I don't think an interviewer needs to accept an interviewee's implicit characterization of matters under discussion.

My surprise was that there was no interview with a MOCHA representative. After all it was MOCHA, not the Jewish Federation, that made the decision to cancel/postpone this exhibit and it would be reasonable to ask the museum to account for its decision.

Sep. 25 2011 08:17 PM
Shahriar from NY

Children's view of a war is not political propaganda and should not be censored just because a religous group opposes that. People who are committing these atrocities do identify themselves with David's Star as their symbol on their flags, Tanks and wherever they can. Thanks Kurt for exposing this.

Sep. 25 2011 05:17 PM
Marc Goodman from Toronto

Bully for you, Kurt Andersen because 'bully' you were in this interview with Rabbi Brandt. Perhaps it's no coincidence that one of the two most hostile campuses for Jews in American is the University of California, Berkeley. Looking for a soft middle in America the Palestinian propaganda machine found it in Oakland. Time for Kurt Andersen to leave the insular surroundings of Brooklyn and see where this 'art' is really made and by whom.

Sep. 25 2011 04:14 PM
Regina from Boston

Kurt, You did a good job interviewing the “Rabbi” but deserve even more applause for bringing this situation to your national audience. I wish you had a few more follow-up questions especially when Brandt said “There was no conflict over the US invasion of Iraq”. What??? In what parallel universe? But this is an art show, not a political one.

I’m glad to see the Museum is coming to their senses. Thanks again!

Sep. 25 2011 03:00 PM
Letssee

I am absolutely against any political displays taking place at a CHILDREN'S MUSEUM. Take your politics to an ADULT MUSEUM where this issue is appropriate. That is the problem and why this has been politicized. As for politicizing an issue, I am terribly disturbed by the unprofessionalism of Kurt's hostile remarks towards the Rabbi AND the listeners. I do not listen to public radio to hear YOUR opinions but rather the opinions of your guests. It will take me some time to listen to this commentator, again, if I do again.

Sep. 25 2011 02:37 PM
kal from NYC

I too, was rather taken aback by the interviewer's tone and apparent adjenda. I think the Rabbi is to be commended for staying on the topic and lucidly explaining his views. Frankly, I agree with the decision to withdraw the exhibition, and the inference that it may not be the work of children, just strengthens my view.

Sep. 25 2011 02:31 PM
hank from ne

Kurt, Did you even listen to the answers you were given? I've never heard you give such a biased interview. You should be ashamed.

Sep. 25 2011 02:22 PM
Soubie from NYC

OMG, I can't believe these comments. Kurt rationally questioned some the Rabbi's statements and now he's hostile, angry and attacking him? These comments are nauseating. Kurt had legitimate questions that any rational person would want answered.

Sep. 25 2011 02:18 PM
Soubie from NYC

Afraid they would see the Israelis as the perpetrators -- well uh, they are the perpetrators.

And the lesson is that this museum has been bought and has no integrity. Nice lesson for the children - and by children, of course I am excluding the Palestinian children because we all know that they don't count.

Sep. 25 2011 02:14 PM
Mazi from NY

Hi Kurt
I think you did a great job interviewing the Rabbi today. This interview is one of the few instances i have heard of investigative journalism, where instead of being pushed to accept Israel as the poor victim of rocket attacks, you correctly pointed out the oppression and extensive use of military force that Israel has used over the years to murder and imprison people.

To everyone that is opposing these painting and museum, what if the painting were drawn by kids that survived the holocaust?

Sep. 25 2011 02:04 PM
Phill from Savannah, GA

I listen to and support public radio for insightful and thoughtful discussion of complex issues. I can listen to Stupid Radio on any other shout-filled talk station or cable news network. While I also disagree with MOCHA's decision to cancel the exhibit, Mr. Anderson's audible and unnecessary hostility towards Rabbi Brandt was an example of Stupid Radio. As someone who supports the right of Palestine to exist, as someone who abhors all of the violence (including the rampant violence on behalf of Israel), this segment changed my mind about almost nothing -- except Studio 360.

Sep. 25 2011 01:47 PM

I listen to the Sunday program on NPR religiously. I look forward to my drive to the grocery store every Sunday morning so that I can listen to NPR and Studio 360. What I have always liked about Studio 360 is that the interviewer, Kurt Anderson, does a good job at remaining neutral on the topic and not putting his emotion into the topic to cause bias in the listeners. But for the first time, that did not happen today. As I listened to Kurt interview the Rabbi, I was absolutely astounded by how angry and emotional Kurt was. My mouth dropped open. I was so disappointed in him and was shaking my head in sadness and disbelief. Kurt sounded like a hormonal teenage girl that could not control his emotions. What's even more astounding, is that the topic was not that offensive or appalling. Kurt was even correcting the Rabbi's choice of words! Wow! The person interviewed has the right to their own choice of words without being corrected by the interviewer. This is outrageous. After getting sick to my stomach from listening to Kurt's needless rantings, I have vowed to abstain from listening to Studio 360 and to tell others to do the same. I listen to NPR for a neutral outlook at the current events, not to listen to a prejudice, emotional host that can't control his tongue and speak logically. Kurt, if you feel that you are unable to discuss a certain topic on Studio 360 due to some emotional ties or strong personal beliefs....by all means, step back and let someone else do the interview instead of looking like a buffoon.

Sep. 25 2011 01:30 PM
jeanine from Utopia

I wish that the people who spend so much energy trying to suppress any criticism of Israel spent that energy working for peace and then there would be no need for this discussion.

Sep. 25 2011 12:26 PM
Stella from Manhattan

Rabbit Brandt' simplistic response politicizes this exhibit to suit his own agenda. If Rabbi Brandt is concerned that Palestinian children's artwork is propaganda, why not exhibit photographs of the incidents that inspired the artwork alongside the artwork itself? Or display the Palestinian children's artwork with Israeli children's artwork? The politicians who are acting like children need to see how their actions are depriving generations of real children - Israeli and Palestinian - of their childhood. And kudos to Kurt Anderson for his reflective commentary.

Sep. 25 2011 11:59 AM
BDuBois from NJ

Kurt, great job. I think the people complaining about your interviewing have become too accustomed to talking heads who don't question anything. You did your job, challenging the rabbi's assertions and giving him a chance to respond/explain. That he couldnt do that adequately should cause him to perhaps re-evaluate his positions (though I wouldnt count on that happening).
That isn't anti-semitism, that's journalism, and we need a lot more of it in this country to allow all stories to be told, not just the stories of the powerful and influential. . .and overly entitled.

Sep. 25 2011 11:35 AM

I would have no problem with the museum showing these so-called images which do show some sophistication in their execution. However I would show it side by side with the ugly images in their school textbook depictions of the Israelis, both in Gaza and the West Bank. This one-sided exhibit would only continue the hatred propagandizing that has been waged. Call it a new form of the "Protocols".

Sep. 25 2011 11:22 AM

I think Anderson's interview was appropriate. All too often media figures accept the statements of their interviewees w/o question or challenge. The Rabbi needed to defend his position which was one of censorship. A knee- jerk reaction of defenders of Israel who object to any depiction which doesn't present it as the poor victim of terrorism.

Sep. 25 2011 10:37 AM
Sana from Silver Spring, MD

It's refreshing to hear that not all media buys into the portrayal of Israelis as victims in their relationship with the Palestinians. I salute the host for not accepting the "typical" reponses that we are accustomed to hearing when it comes to this issue. There's a side of the story that's not being told often enough. The museum's decision to cancel the exhibit is unfortunate, but not entirely shocking.

Sep. 25 2011 01:19 AM
Greg Bartgis from Baltimore, Md.

Kurt-
Found your attack on the Rabbi absolutely NAUSEATING! The gentleman was too kind in the face of your unremitting single- minded (simple- minded) attack to address the obvious- that these children had been directed by adults with their own agendas to portray the "dirty Jews" as muderers and eaters of small children. As a man of conscience, you would be well advised to examine your own unconscious (self conscious?) anti- semitism. It was quite apparent in your interview!

Sep. 24 2011 10:39 PM
Ilyn from Rhode Island

This is right in line with the ugly rhetoric currently espoused by the Republican Party. Must we remind those who claim patriotism that free speech is part of the package?

Sep. 24 2011 09:24 PM
Marcia from Maryland

Thank you, Kurt Anderson, for your comments about "propaganda." For once it was nice to learn that somebody in the media is capable of critical thinking, and can interview accordingly. And I second the commenter who said that if you don't want kids to paint nasty pictures about you, stop doing nasty things.

Sep. 24 2011 07:29 PM
kurt from DC

I would have loved to hear a representative from the museum or the group that organized this particular exhibit.

It matters how these images were intended to be displayed. Would there have been additional text panels? Are teachers and docents at hand to provide context? Who is the chief audience - children, parents, tourists?

Yes, this museum serves the diverse Oakland public with its different political communities. Therefore, the decision to 'postpone' and rework the exhibit makes sense. Yet, I also applaud the museum for not backing down, because this becomes an issue of free speech.

I doubt this is the kind of "propaganda" that Rabbi Brandt insinuates, for there are more than one message contained in the planned exhibit and the drawings. Only one of them being the criticism of Israel's militarized politics in Gaza - through children's eyes. But whatever the opinion expressed in such an exhibit, the museum is entitled to it. Why put on an exhibit at all, if its message is banal and skirts potential controversy? I hope St 360 will follow up once the exhibit IS on.

Sep. 24 2011 06:08 PM
Patrick ONeill from Tucson, AZ

Sad, but this sort of censorship happens all the time.

I hope the museum has the fortitude to go through with it's intention to re-open the exhibit.

Those who oppose Palestine for political reasons and want their story told are more than free to organize their own exhibit - perhaps drawings by Israeli kids - and I'm sure the museum will present it too.

Censorship is not the American way to deal with speech that offends you.

Sep. 24 2011 05:39 PM
anonyme

Stephane Hassell, a French Jew who was a resistance fighter, was waterboarded by Nazis and imprisoned in concentration camps and more - is condemning Israel's treatment of Palestinians in his book entitled, Indignez Vous, Mr. Rabbi. Why is it OK for that museum to show Iraqi children's art and not OK to show that of Palestinian children? I think this will never be resolved as long as we have Rabbis (or any leaders!) so inflexible about/deaf to the realities of "the other side" - I am reminded (with outrage) of the time when Rudy Giuliani censored an art show at the Brooklyn Museum. No excuse under any circumstances for censorship!

Sep. 24 2011 05:00 PM
Richard from LI, NY

Would a balanced exibit of the Art from the Children of Isreal show the School bus bombings, missle attacks, bombs in the streets and shopping malls and how these factors effect their psyche in their drawings, writtings and feelings?

Sep. 24 2011 04:55 PM
tom delaney

This "exhibit" was disgusting in it's depiction of Jews and Israelis as the evil oppressors... of course, those who know better know that this is NOT the case.

It should never have been considered and rightfully deserved to be cancelled.

Where were all the pictures from Israeli children depicting the horrors of Arab bombs raining down on them?

Sep. 24 2011 04:46 PM
Pkronengold from New York City

I found Mr. Andersen's comments provacitive and
hostile. I resent his openly antagonistic attitude toward the Rabbi.

Sep. 24 2011 04:45 PM
Mitch from The Bronx

I object to the tone of the interviewer. Of course the exhibit is the same kind of propoganda that is fed to children throughout the mideast, that Israelis/Jews are monsters. If the exhibit were fair-and-balanced it would have shown the reason for the Israeli response, ie the rockets shot into Israel from Gaza.

Sep. 24 2011 04:42 PM
Michael from Fort Lee, NJ

As an Israeli, I don't see harm in the innocent expressions of children, harsh as they may be--wars do not paint pretty pictures. I see it offensive when the art is being used by biased adults for immoral cause.

Sep. 24 2011 04:33 PM
CZ from new york

If this exhibit had shown children's art from Israel together with the drawings from Gaza, I doubt if anyone would have objected to it. S'derot is bombarded constantly from Gaza and the children there are equally traumatized. War is devastating for children, wherever they live. The one-sidedness of this exhibition made it unacceptable. And as for the name of the organization sponsoring it:
"Middle East Children's Alliance". The fact that they do not seem to include Israel as part of the Middle East says something about their agenda.

Sep. 24 2011 04:28 PM
David Willinger from New York City

I think you get gold stars for your sharp questioning of the Rabbi. As a Jew I continue to be ashamed of my co-religionists who use their Zionism to violate basic human rights -- including rights of free expression everywhere in the world - now in California - by using their P.C. clout to close down what sounds like a very intriguing exhibit that had every right to be shown. If it was Holocaust victim children there would have been no question that their pictures could have been shown.

Sep. 24 2011 04:20 PM
GMG from New York

>>Did the museum make the appropriate choice in canceling the exhibition?

No. Censorship in the interest of one state's political power is antithetical to art and humanity.

Sep. 24 2011 04:15 PM
Elliot from Maryland

Outrageous censorship. Children question and care. Why shouldn't children be able to view the Gaza drawings and ask their parents and their teachers and their neighbors what they think about them? Such a children's exhibit opens the door for dialogue. Go ahead and show the Gaza drawings side-by-side with drawings by Israeli children. That would be interesting.

Sep. 24 2011 03:16 PM
Corinne from St. Louis

What really annoys me about this report is the attitude and tone of the reporter. He was completely condescending and antagonistic toward the Jewish interviewee who found the exhibition to be problematic. My mother and I argue over whether NPR is biased against Israel all the time. I could not have defended NPR as being unbiased in this instance.

Evidently the organization sponsoring this exhibition does have a bias -- from the report: "It was organized by an activist group called the Middle East Children's Alliance, which has long criticized Israel’s 2009 invasion of Gaza." I myself am sympathetic to the pro Gazan point of view, but the reporter's attitude was offensive.

I hope someone higher up in the organization will review this -- It's bad mojo when someone who supports the Palestinian cause finds the reporting biased.

Sep. 24 2011 02:55 PM

Crying trees:
I found the drawing that depicted trees that were crying to be particularly effective. Lest we forget, considerable damage to the environment has accompanied Israeli "actions."
A bomb with an American Flag and the Star of David:
A good reminder that the US has provided many armaments to Israel. No wonder US stock is low in the Middle East.

Sep. 24 2011 02:49 PM
CJ from Washington, DC

Artists, like frogs and salamanders, are a society's sentinel species; the court jester intended to poke pointed fun at the court and king's hypocrisy. There is no jest in this subject matter. The negative environmental influences caused by an indifferent selective "greater good" determined by a remote and evasive elite is very telling on the consistency in denial, distraction, and destruction as a collective whole.
11 children, 11 different depictions, 1 theme, 1 voice. The child's voice in color can be as powerful as a whisper. We would all do well to listen and learn. It's clear that some among the jewish clergy are unwilling to exercise the capacity to do so; but then again isn't this the proverbial rabbi keeping his finger in the dike?

Sep. 24 2011 02:48 PM
Maurice

wow!...the power of Israel over the US has no limit. I am glad to see that at least the pictures got published here.

I wonder what kind of letters will Studio360 receive from israeli authorities?

Sep. 24 2011 04:42 AM
Leslie from Independence, MO

You know, I guess I would understand if the Palestinians hadn't suffered through generations of occupation and oppression by the Israeli government. But since that reality doesn't exist, I don't get it. In fact I think it's just another hand of oppression that many, but not all, Israelis perpetuate. If you don't want kids to paint nasty pictures about you, stop doing nasty things.
I have two children of my own that are constantly keeping me in check. Pointing out my flaws and weakness, and I thank them everyday for the honor. It has made me a better person. Maybe the Israel should take the hint.

Sep. 22 2011 09:18 PM
Kayan from here

I think a lot of times we do not give children the full credit of how much they understand from the environment around them, or are we afraid to see through our children's eyes because they are not clouded by bias and self gain? They can be brutally honest. However, I can understand that some people point out that the children's understanding of their environment can be influenced by their families, and we have to keep in mind there is always another side to this conflict in the Middle East. I believe that's why with a well constructed and informative exhibition, we can all understand partially why this is happening or at least what damage are the adults doing to children in Gaza. I don't see how that will be a bad thing. It will educate the public and perhaps help bring compassion out of everyone for these children who are living in conditions that no children should ever grow up in.

Besides, who said that art needs validation from other people whether it is appropriate or not? Whatever happened to freedom of speech? I can see if these kids were drawing something that is offensive to the Jewish faith, then it is reasonable to cancel the show because we should not have any tolerance for hatred. However, the children's intent was clearly to express what their had experienced while living in Gaza and not to degrade anyone else.

Sep. 22 2011 06:10 PM

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