Canceling Confederate Jews

March 31 2022

Last summer, Princeton University agreed to host an exhibit of works by Jewish-American artists active during the Gilded Age; more recently, the university cancelled the exhibition, citing the inclusion of works by two Confederate soldiers, Theodore Moise and Moses Ezekiel. The curator for the cancelled exhibit, Leonard Milberg, discusses the controversy surrounding the university’s decision.

I have held eleven exhibitions at the Princeton Art Museum and Firestone Library and donated ten collections to the University over the past 40 years without the slightest controversy. Five years ago, the Art Museum held a widely acclaimed show, By Dawn’s Early Light, devoted to the contributions to American culture by American Jewry from 1580 to the Civil War. There were paintings by the very same Theodore Sydney Moise, which included portraits of his aunt Penina Moise—“the Poet Laureate of Charleston, South Carolina”—(whose rare first American Jewish hymn book was also on display) and Henry Clay, borrowed from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The accompanying catalog fully disclosed Moise’s Confederate background. The exhibit subsequently moved to the New York Historical Society where it was seen by several thousand people and given favorable reviews by the New York Times. I was not aware of any complaint about Moise’s Confederate past.

The figure Faith, sculpted by Moses Ezekiel, was intended to be displayed for the canceled exhibition this fall. Ezekiel’s monument “Religious Liberty,” which includes the figure “Faith,” has been on view in Philadelphia since 1876 and now stands near the Liberty Bell. We planned to borrow Ezekiel’s marble copy of “Faith” from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for the exhibit. . . . Other Ezekiel figures that were to be included at Firestone were of the composer Franz Liszt, Abraham Lincoln, and Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, who helped bring Reform Judaism to America.

Several years ago, Firestone held an exhibit of my Irish prose collection, which included a number of letters and works by prominent Irish writer Francis Stuart. Stuart was an extreme Nazi sympathizer, as were his wife Iseult and mother-in-law William Butler Yeats’s beloved Maud Gonne. Stuart spent World War II in Berlin where, at Hitler’s request, he made a number of scurrilous anti-Semitic broadcasts. Tom Paulin and Oliver St. John Gogarty are two other notable anti-Semitic Irish literary figures whose works were part of my Irish collection and have been exhibited at Firestone. [Despite their abhorrent views,] I felt that I should not erase history but learn from it.

Read more at Daily Princetonian

More about: American Civil War, American Jewish History, Art, Cancel culture

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