Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Claiming victimhood by demanding boycott of Israelis and committing act of vandalism when refused

Forget the headline and strapline in the above article. Here is the actual story summarised (which, despite the anti-Israel spin, is actually made very clear when you read it all).
  • Palestinian 'artist' gets invited to UK to exhibit at Banksy’s “Dismaland”
  • He discovers that some Israeli artists are also at the event and demands that the organisers get rid of them
  • When they do not immediately comply with his wishes he vandalises hotel property to create a piece of  'anti-Israel art' on a sheet which he puts on display at Dismaland.
  • Organisers say he may need to remove it because Zionists might be put off buying work
  • He refuses and walks out (and the organisers actually allow all his work, including the sheet to remain) 
  • He cries to the papers that he was booted out (which, as the update at the end of the article confirms, is simply false)
It's a perfect microcosm of Palestinian behaviour (such as what happens every time Hamas attacks): unprovoked aggression and bullying followed by threats and tantrums and finally claims of victimhood based on lies when not all their demands are met.

In case it gets removed from the web here is the full text of the story (with my highlights).
An avant-guard Palestinian artist whose art was being displayed in pseudonymous British graffiti artist Banksy’s “Dismaland”, was told his art would be removed after he staged a protest against Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Shadi Alzaqzouq was booted out of the satirical take on Disney's theme parks on Sunday, after he discovered that organisers had not informed him that Israeli artists were also taking part in the show curated by Banksy, known for his Palestine advocacy.

In August 2005, Banksy painted nine graffiti pieces on the Israeli West Bank barrier, including an image of a ladder going up and over the wall and an image of children, digging a hole through the wall.

I found out when arrived at the show that three Israeli artists were taking part, one of whom served in the IDF. I got upset that I hadn’t been informed and tried to complain to the organisers. I was told someone would meet with me but after over an hour of waiting no one came to meet with me,” Zaqzouq told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

“I decided I had to protest in some way so I went and got a bed sheet from my hotel room and wrote ‘R.I.P Gaza: Boycott Israel’ on it in coal and hung it over my artwork and laid down like a corpse in front of my two paintings on display,” the 34-year-old said.

After half an hour security guards approached Zaqzouq to inquire about what was going on, who then called Holly Cushing - believed to be Banksy’s manager.

After explaining to Cushing the reason for his protest, she told him it was too “ugly” for the dark show and that an American art collector was going to buy his art - and that America and Israel were one and the same, according to Zaqzouq.

Then after a quick phone call to Banksy, Cushing told the Palestinian artist to leave and said his paintings would be taken down from display.

Zaqzouq said that two of the show’s organisers were polite and understanding.

“I didn’t pull out of the show. I just wanted to send the message that I was protesting - but they didn’t like it and gave me the boot,” the artist said.

“I respect all that Banksy did, especially in Gaza. He was my hero for a long time and gave some hope to us. I just tried to send him a message - in a very Banksy kind of way - that I objected, and then I got kicked out. I am surprised,” he added.

Two of Zaqzouq’s works are on display in the “bemusement” park, After Washing #3 depicts a young woman wearing a bandana over her face holding up a pair of men’s underwear inscribed with the Arabic word “irhal” (leave) – a popular chant by street protesters during the Arab Spring, demanding the ousting of dictators.

The other piece, Rock Me All Night Long shows googly-eyed children throwing brightly coloured rocks and shoes with a stencil in the background of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, wearing the famous make-up of the fictional supervillain, the Joker.

Zaqzouq was born to Palestinian parents in the Libyan city of Benghazi. He lived in Libya, Gaza and Egypt before settling in France in 2007. It is clear from his art that that revolution and discontent are the primer for each of his canvases.

Last Friday, Banksy opened his large scale group show lampooning Disneyland in the southern UK seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare. Since Dismaland opened it has been plagued with reports of thousands of people struggling to buy tickets and long queues.

UPDATE: Al-Araby al-Jadeed has learnt that the organisers of Dismaland have not removed Shadi Alzaqzouq’s artwork as they said would happen and have instead kept his protest art up with a note saying, “The artist has decided to cover his work to protest being exhibited alongside artists from Israel. We are hoping to resolve the situation as soon as possible and apologise for any disappointment." - See more at:


fairbrit said...

For most nationalities and religions, the spirit of art, dance, music and the creative endeavour is the one time that renders people capable of transcending divisions and conflicts. Often the very ability for artists and musicians to share a platform together is the first time that they feel free to engage in dialogue and a possibility for transformation.

But not with the Palestinians. This so-called Palestinian artist cannot step out of his antisemitic prism of hatred towards Israel. He simply is incapable of allowing a Jewish artist freedom of expression. And if he cannot share an artistic space with a Jew, then what is the possibility that this man will be able to share a COUNTRY with a Jew?

This incident at Dreamland demonstrates the dark unwilling core at the heart of the Palestinian psyche: no chance for redemption, or coexistence or peace. Not even when that opportunity blossoms in a safe, neutral, and creative space.

Confronting antisemitism and Israel hatred said...

Fairbrit: indeed, although my reaction to many aspects of this story was to laugh (it would have been hard to come up with a better satirical article) it is actually unbelievably depressing to see the depths of the Palestinians hatred - and their total inability to see the irony and hypocrisy of their positions.

fairbrit said...

So true, Edgar.

For me, too, the most disappointing aspect of this story is the intransigent position that the Palestinians are now entrenched in. Furthermore it is difficult to believe that an artist - usually a person who rails against the status quo - can have such little insight and imaginative flair himself.

What a pity the Israel haters cannot extrapolate from this artist's behaviour a more rounded and truthful picture of the conflict and the people involved: an entire Palestinian nation stuck in the sand of their hatred, a hatred that overrides everything else, including peace.