How Art Museums Distort Jewish Culture, and Downplay Anti-Semitism

Feb. 13 2023

In recent years, art museums have grown increasing concerned with a variety of questions that might be characterized as “woke.” Are the works of artists of different races and ethnicities displayed in galleries? Are black as well as white subjects represented in paintings? Museums have taken such steps in response as making sure to mention the role of the Netherlands in the trans-Atlantic slave trade in an exhibit on 17th-century Dutch paintings. Yet, observes Menachem Wecker, none of these sensitivities seem to apply to Jews. Thus works by Philip Guston are censored or guarded by trigger warnings, while no mention is made of the fact that Guston was Jewish, or that he might have been responding to anti-Semitism with his work.

Wecker produces numerous examples of museums downplaying anti-Semitic portrayals of Jews in artworks, while often failing to identify such artists as Chaim Soutine as Jews—even when Jewish themes figure prominently in their art. Nor do Catholics fare much better, with anti-Catholic pieces like the now-notorious 1987 Piss Christ receiving ample contextualization intended to downplay controversy, whereas “when there’s no controversy, museums insert controversy.” (Video, 59 minutes.)

Read more at Catholic Theological Union

More about: Anti-Semitism, Art history, Catholicism, Jewish art, Museums

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada