4 thoughts on “Spertus: Who’s Afraid of Big, Bad Political Art? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. The one thing Jewish museum is definitely not supposed to do is to proclaim Palestinian right of ownership over Land of Israel. And futhermore, what right do you, or Jews of Chicago, or this Lisa Kosowsky person have to criticize our government? Who the hell are you? Who gave you that right? Yes, you can come to Israel, become an Israeli citizen, vote and get elected – all because we are one people, however absurd this notion seems to me after visiting this blog. But no, you have no inborn right to stab us in the back from the comfortable distance – be you even twice a daughter of Holocaust survivor. You can’t support Israel – sit and be quiet.

  2. @Arik Elman: Arik is a perfect example of the militant pro-Israel Know Nothing. Has he seen the exhibit? Has he read any serious reviews of it? Does he know what the exhibits were actually about? No on all counts. Guilty on all counts. He only knows that the right wing press or similar online sources tell him.

    As for my rights to criticize Israel…as you said I am a Jew. One who takes seriously my obligations toward the Jewish people. I am not one of those myriad of young people who have turned their backs on Israel out of frustration that things will ever change. No, I’m someone who will stick with Israel until it finally gets it right–which it will…despite the braying of militants like you.

    So yes, I am a Jew and that give me the right to make my voice heard whether you like it or not. And yes I have an “inborn right” (whatever that means) to criticize Israeli policy when it is wrong and to criticize the Chicago Jewish leadership for its callowness in the face of an exhibit which raised provocative questions about Israeli identity.

    So no, I won’t take your advice to sit and be quiet. You’re not my father. You don’t get the right to tell me what to do no matter how much you’d like to.

  3. It has always seemed to me that one of the greatest glories of Jewish culture, both religious and secular, is that it exists in constant critique of itself and of the world around it. Whether it is our father Avraham arguing with the G-d he perceives about what is just, or Jacques Derrida deconstructing Western ideas of philosophy and literature, Judaism and Jewish culture is at its best when it accepts the inherent contradictory nature of the world and the subversiveness of reality.

    When it degenerates into Orthodoxy, by which I mean not pious and observant prayer, study and ritual, but Orthodoxy of thought, be it Religious, Zionist or even Marxist, then it is at its most gravely sick. Is my Torah incorrect or are we not forbidden to give different forms of justice to the rich and to the poor? And are we not forbidden to follow the majority to do wrong?

    It would seem that those in power at Spertus have lost their vision and have no business calling themselves a Jewish University.

  4. I am happy to find another Jew with a working mind. Here’s my take on this, as posted on my website today:

    “Why can’t this art be seen by American Jews? It’s really a shame.”

    “The Israelis come across as unfeeling,” said Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. “It was seen by some as part of a pattern of sympathetic treatment of Palestinians and a less sympathetic treatment of Israelis.”

    Indeed, many Jewish viewers complained that the multimedia show —which was part of a larger citywide celebration of maps — expressed an anti-Israel bias.”

    I was totally opposed to the closing of this art show. Art sometimes is about controversy; if we allow donors to control what is shown, and what is not, then how is that not censorship? How is that not like the protests by Muslims over the Danish cartoons? And people caving into the demands, and then some standing up to the “freedom of the press” paradigm. Yes, I understand that the Jewish folks who opposed the show did not burn flags or go on a shooting spree and issue fatwas. But they were successful in removing the artistic expression from the public, in what they deemed was offensive. Spertus is setting a dangerous precedent.

    Original Enclosure

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