Jerusalem Post, Tuesday, June 24, 2014, p. 15
is dead, killed by art in Nablus
President Shimon Peres declared “politics is dead” in his address
at the Knesset honoring the 2014 Wolf Prize laureates on June first. He spoke against the backdrop of Chagall’s
colossal tapestries alongside world leaders in science and art being awarded the
Peres’ erudite talk that expressed hope that peace would come when
Israel’s neighbors join it in creating a better life for its people through
apolitical scientific research and artistic creativity. In his multiple roles in the Israeli
government, he was a close-up witness to the dismal failure of all “peace
processes” and “road maps” from Oslo to Obama.
His “politics is dead” speech was confirmed the next day as Fatah
teamed up with Hamas, branded a terrorist organization by EU, US, Egypt, and
numerous other countries. While the
newly formed government in Ramallah posed for a photo-op, rockets from Gaza
were fired into Israel. Fatah’s
“moderate” mask has been removed to reveal terrorists in suits. All along, Fatah was no different than the
militant jihadist Hamas that called for destroying Israel and massacring of all
Fatah hoodwinked the world in English to believing they seek peace
while in Arabic they called for the annihilation of Israel and celebrated
terrorist mass murders by naming squares, streets, and schools after them. In a children’s show on Palestinian Authority
television, you can view a child proudly reciting a poem calling Jews “the most
evil among creations, barbaric monkeys and wretched pigs.” At least they were honest stating in English
that they will never accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish
People. They were backed by the emphatic
declaration at the 2014 Arab League summit in Kuwait in March: "We express
our absolute and decisive rejection to recognizing Israel as a Jewish
Hamas always remained up-front, explicitly stating its aims on its
English website for all to see: “So-called peaceful solutions and international
conferences are in contradiction to the Islamic Resistance Movement.” Their charter states that the sole path is
the violent destruction of the Zionist State through armed struggle and mass
murder: “The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight Jews and kill
Forgetting 9/11, Obama and Kerry are being joined by EU modern-day
Chamberlain in chanting “peace in our time.”
They are ignoring their own terrorist designation to embrace the united
Hamas-Fatah front’s effort to wipe Israel off the map. These misguided Americans and anti-Semitic
Europeans chose to ignore that fact that PA’s new “technocratic government” is
headed by Rami Hamdallah, long-time president of An-Najah University in Nablus,
the hotbed of hatred for Israel and America and the center for recruitment of
In President Peres’ call for peace through joint efforts of Arabs
and Jews in science and art, he echoed the words in The Peres Center for Peace
website that proposes that art and creativity can inspire new approaches and
create new metaphors to transform attitudes fixed in old patterns of mutual
mistrust and prejudice. His hopes are
dashed by the use of art by Hamdallah’s students to glorify mass murder of
Jews. Instead of creating art to embrace
peace, they created an artwork reveling in the death of fifteen Israelis
including seven children and a pregnant woman and the maiming of more than a
hundred others in August 2001.
At Hamdallah’s university, a grotesque art exhibition was mounted
celebrating the slaughter by a Palestinian Arab suicide bomber of women, men,
children, and entire families eating pizza in the heart of Jerusalem. A group of An-Najah art students constructed
a replica of the Sbarro Pizzeria, site of the massacre.
Visitors pushed to see realistically sculpted body parts and pizza
slices strewn throughout an environment set for a performance artwork. Wearing a terrorist’s military uniform and
black mask, the performance artist entered the mock pizzeria under a sign
“Kosher Sbarro” and set off a simulated explosion to the cheers of the crowd.
Upon entering and leaving, the visitors enthusiastically wiped their feet on
Israeli and American flags used as doormats.
Visitors then encountered a mannequin outfitted as a terrorist
standing next to a large boulder. A recording placed behind the rock called out
in Arabic: “O believer, there is a Jewish man behind me, come and kill him.” In
another room, two students dressed as suicide bombers, each with the Koran in
one hand a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the other hand, were reenacting the
grisly last testaments in front of a video camera that suicide bombers create
before carrying out their deadly attacks.
Historian of Islamic art, Elisabeth Siddiqui, writes in the Arabic
journal Al-Madrashah Al-Ula that art is the mirror of a culture and its
worldview. She emphasizes that there is
no case to which this statement more directly applies than to the art of the
As former professor of art at Columbia University and research
fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, I concur with Siddiqui. The values of Hamdallah are mirrored in his
students’ art that praises terrorism and genocide.
Another artistic indictment is the logo design of An-Najah’s
student council. A green map of Israel
and the territories is partly obscured in the background. A black M-16 rifle is superimposed over the
upper section of the map with a black flag, attached to the rifle, to the left.
To the right, black lettering translates as "Muslim Palestine Block."
The gun rests on a globe, which in turn rests on the Koran. Encircling the
globe and Koran is a red crescent with the inscription: "An-Najah National
Green is the color of Islam: the fact that both Israel (and the
territories) and the globe are in green signifies the group's desire to
Islamize them. The rifle and the flag are symbols of militancy. The Koran, upon
which the globe rests, is considered the foundation of the movement. The red
crescent symbolizes Islam.
Under Rami Hamdallah’s watch, the An-Najah student council has
promoted anti-Israel violence and recruits Palestinian Arab college students
into terrorist groups. The council, almost completely controlled by factions
loyal to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, glorifies suicide bombings and
propagandizes for jihad against Israel. Hamas has described An-Najah as a
"greenhouse for martyrs."
gruesome An-Najah art exhibition, logo symbolizing the elimination of Israel
leading to Islam’s conquest of the entire world, and the terrorist activism of
its student council reveal the values of Hamdallah.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who appointed Rami
Hamdallah, assured US Secretary of State John Kerry that his new technocratic
government is committed to the principles of nonviolence and negotiations. Hamdallah, a PhD-holding head of a university
where mass murder is celebrated, is a fitting choice for Abbas, who builds
monuments for terrorists and wrote his PhD thesis denying the Holocaust. Neither are mere technocrats.
Peres is right. Politics is
dead. Murdered by art in Nablus.
author is a member of the Council of the Wolf Foundation. His book The
Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness is
published by Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press. He was art professor at Columbia University
and research fellow at MIT.