Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mizrahi art everywhere

This long piece in Haaretz reveals that a new joint Arab-Jewish art project, produced by the fringe anti-Zionist Sephardi Democratic Rainbow and a Palestinian group, is holding exhibitions up and down the country on the theme Mizrahiyut Ve' Araviyut (Middle Eastern-ness and Arab-ness).

What do these two groups of artists have in common? Not much, at first sight. Ah, of course. A shared sense of victimhood - at the hands of the Ashkenazi establishment in Israel.

Yes, but aren't the Mizrahi Jews known for not being overly fond of their Arab brethren? " This perception is created by the media, which zeroes in on the lone, Mizrahi protester who shouts 'death to the Arabs'", says Shula Keshet, an artist and social activist.

Keshet peppers her conversation with expressions such as ' silencing' and 'cultural suppression'.
The two groups (Arabs and Mizrahi Jews)" suffer from racism against them. We live in a racist state, primarily towards non-Jews and then towards ethnic minorities," says Shula.

In recent years, as the article itself acknowledges, "'there have been quite a few exhibitions that focused on the matter of 'Middle Eastern- ness'". For people who claim they're being silenced and 'culturally suppressed' that is not bad going. In fact it sounds like 'Middle Eastern-ness' is all the rage.

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