The York mural controversy: when art and politics collide – Yakabuski

Yakabuski on the YorkU mural controversy:

It is entirely legitimate to criticize Israel’s defiant construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonagain this week called “an affront to the Palestinian people and the international community.” But there is nothing uncomplicated about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet the terms “apartheid,” “racism” and “war crimes” steamroll over its discussion on campus.

The settlements are an obstacle to peace and the creation of a Palestinian state. They call into question Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commitment to a two-state solution. But the settlements are not the cause of the conflict. And, as the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, reminded the Security Council this week, “settlement activity can never in itself be an excuse for violence.”

Only the mural’s artist, Ahmad Al Abid, knows what he intended to convey in his painting. Personally, I see Palestinian frustration and impotence more than the “purely anti-Semitic hate propaganda” Mr. Bronfman sees. But since he’s far from alone in his view, York should seize on this controversy to do what universities are supposed to do: open minds.

“The response of college officials can make a difference,” Prof. Saxe [Brandeis University Jewish Studies professor whose survey of 3,000 Jewish students revealed hostility towards Jews] explained “Each incident should be seen as an opportunity to educate students, not merely referee a dispute.”

Source: The York mural controversy: when art and politics collide – The Globe and Mail

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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