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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ehud Olmert Kebab

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a local 'Arabic art exhibition' that was ostensibly organized in response to last month's war in Lebanon:
A provocative Arabic art exhibition organised in response to the conflict in Lebanon last month, includes a painting of Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, with a skewer through his head.

The work, titled Ehud Olmert Kebab, which has four images of the Israeli leader's head skewered with capsicum, has outraged Sydney's Jewish community, which says it has "overstepped the mark of decency".

But its creator, the young Lebanon-born, South Korea-based artist Habib Zeitouneh, retorts: "Paintings do not leave families destitute, fathers without wives or children, children without fathers or mothers. I have a right to express my anger over the deaths of over 1000 Lebanese, as do the Israelis mourning the deaths of their own. I'm using satire, not bombs."

The confronting exhibition is called t'fouh, an Arabic expression that translates as "spit on you". It was suggested by Stephen Mori - owner of the Mori Gallery in Day Street in the Sydney CBD where the works are on display - halfway through the conflict because he "couldn't condone people being killed for war".

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies' chief executive, Vic Alhadeff, condemns the painting of Olmert, describing it as "beyond the realm of acceptable political comment".

"Political and artistic expression are an integral part of public debate, but in our society freedom of expression only goes so far. Artists, too, have responsibilities," Alhadeff says.

The exhibition, which opened last Wednesday, also includes the controversial body bags work that was installed at Martin Place three weeks ago, and a mixed sculpture-painting with dismembered limbs that calls for the boycott of brand names such as Calvin Klein and Estee Lauder because they "supported Israel".

An interactive work titled Return to Sender invites the audience to write on leaflets similar to those dropped by Israeli aircraft prior to bombing raids, with the messages to be sent to Israel. One of the messages in the return box states: "I once heard a rabbi say that nothing is more sacred in Judaism than human life. Can you see why this seems pretty hollow? F--- you."

Mori asked an Arabic curator, Alissar Chidiac, to put together the exhibition after seeing one of her shows in Auburn as part of a cultural development project. Chidiac managed to involve 45 artists of Arabic background. She said all of the works were a reflection of "what we all felt in the last six weeks, watching what happened to our homeland and families".
It goes without saying that no Jewish artists were represented and that no 'works' depict the results of Hezbullah Katyushas.

The American Thinker notes - correctly - that the exhibit is indicative of how far 'Arabic culture' has descended. Given what goes on in the 'Palestinian' media, I suppose we should not be surprised.


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