Breaking the Silence, the Israeli anti-Occupation group composed of IDF veterans, is sponsoring a photo exhibition in Philadelphia and Boston. It consists of photographs shot by active duty IDF troops during their service in Hebron. The shots run the gamut from the most banal to the most deeply disturbing. They all document what it is like to defend a tiny Jewish settler minority from the massively larger native Palestinian population. There is boredom, insults, play, fellowship, hate and fear inscribed in every image.
I’ve published my first article in the Jewish Forward, Warring Views, about the exhibition. I must thank Vanity Fair writer, David Margolick, who arranged a shiduch with Alana Newhouse, the Forward’s arts and culture editor, who asked me to write this piece. I should also thank Alana for her interest in my work. Thanks to Breaking the Silence co-founder, Mikhael Manekin for his interview.
The article is quite short. I plan to publish an expanded version here in the coming days.
Breaking the Silence Exhibit:
Israeli Soldiers Talk About the Occupied Territories
March 1 – March 16
Beren Hall (second floor) at Harvard Hillel
52 Mt. Auburn Street
Exhibit open hours:
Mon – Thurs: 2 pm – 8 pm
Fri: 10 am – 4 pm
Sun: 12 pm – 8 pm
Opening Night Reception on Saturday, March 1 at 7 pm
Rowan Berkeley says
Your piece in the Forward is excellent. Congratulations on the fine calibration of your moral self-restraint. I’m not being sarcastic or ironic – in this matter, you have to calculate your emotional and moral tone as carefully as a spin bowler calculates the amount and direction of spin he puts on a ball.
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, it is a delicate balance & fine line you have to walk.
Congratulations on your piece in the ‘Forward’.
In my view, this is what happens in a conflict, and the longer the duration, the worse it becomes.
One needs to dehumanize the “enemy”.
Every war has this phenomena: in WW2 there were the “Krauts” and the “Japs”, in Vietnam “gooks” etc. In Vietnam, our soldiers, boys from small town Indiana, Kansas, etc. had to learn to kill people, to burn village hooches, to “interrogate”.
A long drawn out conflict, the atmosphere of fear, the need for revenge, brings out the worst in humanity. Jews, nor Arabs, are immune. We are all simply human anyhow.
Strange comments on the ‘Forward’ page by the by…
As an aside, anytime I try to comment at the Huffington Post and mention or add a link for “Breaking the Silence”, the comments get blocked or scrubbed. Nothing like having hordes of sympathetic gatekeepers doing the bidding of those who would rather not have any disruption of the Israeli “official narrative.”
However, the ever brilliant reporter Max Blumenthal has linked to “Breaking the Silence” in the past on his own blog.
Link to Haaretz article: IDF questions reservists who organized Hebron photo exhibit