On January 16, Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, attended a Stockholm art show linked to an international conference on preventing genocide. Mazel was shocked to encounter there a large exhibit glorifying the Palestinian terrorist who murdered 21 Israelis at Haifa’s Maxim restaurant in October. Dubbed “Snow White and the Madness of Truth,” the exhibit showed a tiny sailboat floating on a pool of red water. Attached to the boat was a smiling photo of the female bomber, Hanadi Jaradat. In protest, Mazel pulled the plug on three spotlights illuminating the exhibit, and knocked one light fixture into the red pool.
Media coverage largely downplayed the exhibit’s clear glorification of genocide, a grave irony, given the theme of the conference. Media reports instead suggested that the exhibit’s meaning is open to broad interpretation, or that it merely laments all Mideast bloodshed.
Absent from nearly all reports was the poetic text accompanying the exhibit, submitted by the artists, which juxtaposes the ‘beauty’ of the red pool of blood against the moral ‘Snow-whiteness’ of the terrorist:
For the June 12 deaths of her brother, and her cousin… seemingly innocent with universal non-violent character… Weeping bitterly, she added: ‘If our nation cannot realize its dream and the goals of the victims, and live in freedom and dignity, then let the whole world be erased’… Run away, then, you poor child… and the red looked beautiful upon the white.
Here are three examples of the media’s selective omission:
1) BBC wrote: “Its Israeli-born creator rejected the charge [of condoning violence], saying the work had a message of openness and conciliation… ‘I’m absolutely opposed to suicide bombers’, he added.”
2) The New York Times News Service reports that one of the artists explained: “I wanted to show how incomprehensible it is that a mother of two ? who is a lawyer no less ? can do such a thing,” she said, apparently confusing the Haifa bombing with an attack last week by another Palestinian woman.
3) The (UK) Observer spun the story 180-degrees, presenting Mazel ? not the Palestinian! ? as the killer: Peaceful Swedes were nearly killed when “an ambassador erupted in violent protest… [Mazel] ripped out electrical wires, grabbed a spotlight and hurled it into a fountain, causing it to short circuit and become a potential death trap.”
Disproving the Observer’s description, Dutch television showed actual film of Mazel, calmly walking around the exhibit, unplugging the spotlights, and pushing one of the (unplugged) lights into the water.
While one could debate if Mazel’s act was appropriate, it is essential to recognize that this story runs far deeper than one art exhibit. Associated Press provides important background context to the story:
There has long been debate over where criticism of Israel ends and anti-Semitism begins. The current round touched a deeper chord, because many Israelis feel outsiders often accept the Palestinians’ use of suicide bombings against civilians.
As Ambassador Mazel explained:
This exhibit was the culmination of dozens of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish events in Sweden. When you don’t protest it gets worse and worse. It had to be stopped somehow, even by deviating from the behavior of the buttoned-down diplomat.
As for “diplomacy,” Mazel was communicating his point in the only way possible. A formal protest would merely have been “duly registered,” filtered and lost in the back channels of European diplomacy. So he chose to scream. But screaming was the only option Europe now gives Israel.
Did your local paper’s coverage of Mazel’s act of protest fail to note the artists’ accompanying text, which casts a mass murderer as a ‘Snow-white’ victim? If so, write a letter to the editor, questioning the omission of the artist’s literal ‘whitewash’ of Palestinian terror.
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.