In a New Exhibit, the Jewish Museum Avoids the Word Jew

Sept. 1 2021

During a recent visit to New York City’s Jewish Museum, Menachem Wecker noticed something odd about an art exhibit titled Louise Bourgeois, Freud’s Daughter:

I viewed every artwork and read each label, . . . without learning whether the artist was born, or identified as, Jewish. Given that “Jewish” appears in the museum name, I continue to find this shocking. Would the Air Force Museum remain mum on whether the subject of a massive exhibit ever flew a plane?

Known for her mammoth, arachnoid sculptures, Bourgeois (1911-2010) was also not Sigmund Freud’s daughter—despite the exhibit title. The latter, incidentally, was born Sigismund Schlomo Freud, but the Jewish Museum also neglects sharing his Jewishness with viewers.

As I navigated the show in the museum’s second floor galleries, I allowed for the possibility I missed a hint about Bourgeois’s faith. Quite a bit of sleuthing prior to the show had turned up empty, so I asked a guard if the exhibit shared anywhere whether Bourgeois was Jewish. “Oh no,” he informed me definitively. “It wouldn’t tell you that.”

Read more at Rough Sketch

More about: Art, Jewish museums, New York Jewish Museum, Sigmund Freud

How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad