Last month HonestReporting condemned the Jeu de Paume museum of contemporary art in Paris for displaying a photographic exhibit that glorifies Palestinian terrorists. This “art” exhibit refers to Israel as a “colonial power” and Palestinian terrorists as “fighters” and “victims of the Israeli military.” Suicide bombers are referred to as “militants” who heroically set out to “assassinate Israelis.”
Our critique generated a deluge of complaints to the museum. The Jeu de Paume’s response was utterly inadequate. The museum explains that the following text has been added in the exhibition rooms:
“To avoid misunderstandings, the Jeu de Paume wishes to make it clear that the artist Ahlam Shibli’s series Death, a work centered on images, is neither propaganda nor an apology for terrorism. As the artist herself explains: “I am not a militant. My work is to show, not to denounce or to judge.”
Death explores the way in which dead or imprisoned Palestinians –“martyrs,” according to the term that Ahlam Shibli reuses – are represented in public and private spaces (posters and graffiti in the streets, inscriptions on tombs, shrines and mementos inside homes, etc.), thereby regaining a presence in their community.
All of the photographs in this series are accompanied by captions written by the artist that are inseparable from the images.”
So the museum claims that the exhibit is “neither propaganda nor an apology for terrorism” while the artist claims not to be a “militant.” At the same time, the artist refers to the dead terrorists as “martyrs” while the museum ducks the issue by saying that the term is simply being “reused” by the artist.
Is it possible to be non-judgmental when referring to members of a terror organization as “martyrs?” We don’t think so.
Does the Jeu de Paume really believe that this “disclaimer” absolves it from responsibility for the message that this exhibit promotes?
This exhibition is running until September 1, 2013. It’s not too late to make a protest to both the Jeu de Paume museum and the French Ministry of Culture and Communications that is responsible for overseeing museums.
Sign the petition below and we will deliver the names.
We believe that the Jeu de Paume’s exhibition of 68 photos entitled “Death” by Ahlam Shibli glorifies Palestinian terrorists and call for its removal from the museum and the end of public subsidies to the museum as long as these photos remain exhibited.
Update: Petition now closed. Thank you for your participation.
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