Thursday, 7 February 2008

Zan Studio of Ramallah - anti-Israeli artists invited to Belgium

A major Palestinian cultural festival - Masarat/Palestine - is taking place this year in Brussels and Wallonia (Flanders does not participate). In the run up to the festival, the city of Mons (where the SHAPE is based) held an exhibition of works by Zan Studio of Ramallah, an "artistic association of young graphic designers", to be repeated later this year. The choice is shocking because Zan Studio militates against the existence of Israel. The organisers could have picked Palestinian artists who think otherwise (see interview below). Zan Studio’s modest artistic talents do not explain the choice either. Why then were they chosen? Israel is celebrating its 60th birthday, but not in Brussels, the capital of Europe!

Basel Nadr, a founding member of Zan Studio, gave an interview to a Belgian NGO and explained his total rejection of Israel. His views are frightening:

"For us, and for the vast majority of Palestinians, Israel, within the 1948 borders, is a colony, and the people, or their descendents, who live there, are colonialists. The creation of Israel is, for us, an unlawful dispossession that began in 1948."
(This is an outright exaggeration – to put it mildly. A recent survey by the Near East Consulting indicates that 72% of Palestinians support a peace settlement with Israel and 69% should change its position regarding Israel.)

"I observe that [Israeli] art is comparable to that of Europeans, Westerns. It serves to prove that they have no links with the land they occupy, its history, its evolution."

"At present, I am opposed to most cooperation projects … For exchanges between artists to take place, we need to be on the same footing or to cooperate in the fight against Zionism. Many of the present initiatives are based on the false idea that peace is possible prior to our recovering all our rights. That’s unacepptable."

The political posters on the Zan Studio website reflect their implacable hostility to Israel, to the U.S. and to the West. All the usual stereotypes are trotted out. One poster accuses Israel of being a criminal State for its supposed incarceration of children, it shows a chained teddy bear with a lock marked "Made in Israel". Another depicts the well-rehearsed half orange/half grenade, labelled "Product of Israel". And, surprise surprise, the Coca Cola can poster, the Johnson's baby shampoo poster, the Picasso’s Guernica poster, and this one.

The festival is being sponsored by the French Community of Belgium. See:
Palestinian festival sparks controversy - Belgium
Wallonia-Brussels presents Masarat/Palestine 2008
Also in Brussels in February 2008:
International citizens' tribunal to try Israel in Brussels
and Solomonia:
Palestinian clowns to tour Belgium
The above poster was sponsored by three Belgian NGOs


Bennauro said...

What an excellent post, Philosemite!

Anonymous said...

heheheh, I am happy we they made you mad. I wonder why people like you exist at all!?!