May 05, 2004

RESULT ACHIEVED

One day after Melbourne blogger Silent Running brought attention to a certain anti-Semitic disgrace, action has been taken -- although The Age canít resist characterising it as vaguely criminal:

A publicly funded art exhibit critical of Israel has been dismantled amid a political furore and reported threats of vandalism.

The exhibit, in a Flinders Street shopfront, featured anti-Israel text against a backdrop of a Star of David.

Its two creators erased the display last night after it was condemned as offensive by Jewish groups and the State Opposition.

Lord Mayor John So had also called for the scrapping of the exhibition, which was partly funded by the Melbourne City Council.

Silent Runningís campaign was earlier mentioned here.

UPDATE. More from Silent Running, and an AP report running in Israel.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 5, 2004 04:34 AM
Comments

Blogpower !

Posted by: jafa at May 5, 2004 at 04:45 AM

So this threat was not a death threat, or for violence, but simply vandalism?!?.

I wonder what kind of concession one could get out of Melbourne City Council if one threatened to write graffiti at Spencer St station.

They must view those kiddies spraying their tag everywhere as the worst form of terrorists.

Posted by: 2dogs at May 5, 2004 at 05:34 AM

Here's a fisking of the assertions made by the exhibit text. The most important reason to remove the exhibit is not because it was offensive, but because it was full of lies. Of course the "artist" compared the censorship to the Nazis.

Posted by: Yehudit at May 5, 2004 at 06:29 AM

I'm sure that someone, at some point, called or emailed the Council and threatened to throw a rock through the window.

Thus "threats of vandalism".

Now if only they'd make more of the, you know, actual legitimate moral outrage.

Posted by: Sigivald at May 5, 2004 at 06:30 AM

I was listening to Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio this morning and he viewed it as some kind of bullying that resulted in the "art" being removed, which is some kind of defeat of freedom of speech.

How can people still call it art? It was political propaganda with no effort at drawing or painting ?

So I emailed him the Honest Reporting fisking of the bogus arguments presented.

Posted by: Jono at May 5, 2004 at 11:21 AM

Okay, time for the onslaught...
What was anti-Semitic about the display particularly? It was fairly harsh in its language I guess, and obviously shouldn't be state funded. However it seemed to lack some sort of "The Mossad committed 9/11" quality to make it anti-Semitic.

Posted by: carl at May 5, 2004 at 11:24 AM

It. Told. Lies. About. Israel. Click the link over "brought attention" and read the lies. They were lies. A component of anti-Semitism is telling lies about Jews such as "they murder lots and lots of people" because it incites people to murder, or condone the murder of, Jews. Or do you not know this?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 5, 2004 at 11:35 AM

Presenting false claims or skewed evidence in a manner which suggests that the very existence of Israel itself is a great injustice is anti-Semitism disguised as "anti-Zionism". Israel's not going anywhere, and any attempt to remedy the "problem" of Israel's existance has to be honestly equated to trying to get rid of Jews. Period. The demanded "right of return" for Palestinians equals "Jews get overrun".

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 11:41 AM

Jono, I heard Mitchell, too, and his real motive was pretty obvious. He was trying to establish his credentials as the likely next editor of the Age.

Posted by: superboot at May 5, 2004 at 11:56 AM

This is not the 1st time establishment/political groups have pressured organisers of art exhibitions to remove any anti-Israel pieces. What is art? (it does not have to be drawn or painted to qualify) Art is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. In this case the "statistics" written obviously are exagerated and designed to shock, while the message is clear. The howls of indignation, accusations of anti-semitism etc., are to supress recent history from the general public.

Posted by: carlos at May 5, 2004 at 12:22 PM

My dad's superannuation trust owns property in the City of Melbourne.

If we're so concerned about an ageing population then why is money being taken from retirees and used for this nonsence?

Posted by: Mike Hunt at May 5, 2004 at 12:30 PM

G'day carlos,

Sorry mate, you seem to have a serious reading comprehension problem.

The supposed art work was a text that consisted of statements that were untrue - or to put it more simply LIES. They were lies designed to generate hatred of one identifiable ethnic/racial/religious group. Victoria has strict laws on ethnic/racial/religious vilification. It is inappropriate for the taxpayer to fund art works that violate the law.

Posted by: Russell at May 5, 2004 at 12:33 PM

carlos: If the "statistics" written obviously are exagerated" then they don't reflect "recent history".

Your thinking is similar to a comment by a Michael Moore fan "His words may be false, but they are layered in truth."

Posted by: Gary at May 5, 2004 at 12:36 PM

Carlos, many strange things have been displayed at public expense under the guise of Art. And yes, Art is in the eye and mind of the beholder, and, yes, we do have to be mindful of freedoms of speech and expression. However, I do think that there is an onus on the artist - especially in the case of written work - to present the truth as far as possible. He is entitled to express his opinions, but inventing things about a group of people in a negative way is racism, and so we are entitled to be righteously indignant. OK?

Posted by: kwol at May 5, 2004 at 12:37 PM

Anything too stupid to be said is sung.

Or, in this case, called "art".

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 12:49 PM

Because I need to strike a "balance of carls" given comments from carl and carlos above that are similar to each other:

If *this* Carl

- was in Melbourne
- and was on that street
- in front of the window
- and had a rock in my hand

I would have heaved away.

Screw these "artists" and the hell beast they rode in on.

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at May 5, 2004 at 01:10 PM

Funny how artists always 'bravely' 'push the envelope' in relation to Judeo-Christian themes. Jerk Andre Serrano's 'Piss Christ' was an another example. Would a brave, avant-guard Western artist ever present a publicy-funded, publicly displayed montage illustrating the psychosis of Mohammed or, say, an Islamic crescent made out of excrement or something on Fatima's 'whore-Madonna' complex? Noooooooooooo. I'm not saying they should, just illustrating what gutless, talentless creeps a lot of Western 'artists' are.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 5, 2004 at 01:41 PM

I tell you what Currency old chap,there would be a fatwa on their arses before they could step back to admire their work.

Posted by: Peter UK at May 5, 2004 at 01:49 PM

The nearest thing I have seen to a public shot at this culture that got wide coverage is Johnny Hart's "B.C." strip.

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at May 5, 2004 at 01:55 PM

Sometimes it's not censorship, it's sensibility. Or common sense.

Won't convince lefties of that idea any time soon, however.

Posted by: ilibcc at May 5, 2004 at 02:03 PM

Hey, how about we get some public funding to put up a work of "art" that displays false information about Palestinians (or any other designated victim group). Nobody would complain about that and demand it be removed, would they? Nah, of course not.....

Posted by: Huddo at May 5, 2004 at 02:04 PM

Your link is here Carl.

Unbelievable. Yes, very sensitive aren't they?

Fatwa on arses Peter! May Allah bring condemnation on your own infidel person for daring to associate the true faith with sodomy!

Oh, and death to America.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 5, 2004 at 02:12 PM

SUDAN APPONTED TO HUMAN RIGHTS UN COMMISSION

Of all the "Pearls" in the Islamic crown. the UNited Nations is surely the Queen of all.
After thirty years the UN takeover is complete.
Now Kofi will have his hands firmly tied behind his back.
You might be forgiven for thinking that Islam has been too busy inflitrating all western nations to bother with the UN.
Europe has prostituted Itself fot the last 40 years in an Oil for immigrants policy perhaps also through greed in believing that the the new immigrants would be a cheap source of labor.
THe UK somewhat oil independant throught tht North SEA OIL , has coincindentally (?) a farlower muslim popultion than its euroneighbours.
The french have only themselves to blame for a huge timebomb of muslims. mostly living in an impoverished stete in HLMs all around their major cities.
The Dutch have realised the folly of the liberalism of twenty five years too late.
these gentle folk are now mortally wounded.
When the time comes we will welcome them here and i am sure the yanks will reopen ELLIS ISland to the new hordes of european refugees from Islam.
ONly the eastern european countries will survive because they no the price of freedom and have still got the guts to defend themselves.
America will never be taken over because they do not suffer from the european disease.
A disease similar to the one that heralded the end of the Roman Empire, when years of endulgement on the finer things of life left the romans incapable of defending themselves.
How the Islamists must have laughed when they saw the peace loving europeans abandon "National Service" one by one leaving behind armies of sheep.
Americains must now deal firmly with Islamists and expel them swiftly.
I know bush is trying hard. It may have to go on a war footing to do it. It may involve Human rights restrictions. They are well worth it in the long run.
Anyone reading Bernard henry levi's book "who killed Daniel Pearl ?" can see the level of Jihad has increased a thousand fold.
AS he states "Jihad is big big business". THe Saudis have used their astronomic oil revenues to Islamify the entire planet.
The saudi royals know that Jihad is their ticket to survival and their huge wealth. There is no doubt about that. Arab swiss banks have been set up with Swiss Nazis at their heads. Dhubai is another centre of finance.
The oil for food UN scandal, ignored by the press , may yet turn out to be a tadpole compared to the sums that have been used to infiltrate western universities, western news organistaions, schools , left wing politicians et al in the last thirty years.
THis is where the main assault has focused.
The terrorists attacks are a small part of all that.

Posted by: DAVO at May 5, 2004 at 02:44 PM

SUDAN APPOINTED TO HUMAN RIGHTS UN COMMISSION

Of all the "Pearls" in the Islamic crown. the UNited Nations is surely the Queen of all.
After thirty years the UN takeover is complete.
Now Kofi will have his hands firmly tied behind his back.
You might be forgiven for thinking that Islam has been too busy inflitrating all western nations to bother with the UN.
Europe has prostituted Itself fot the last 40 years in an Oil for immigrants policy perhaps also through greed in believing that the the new immigrants would be a cheap source of labor.
THe UK somewhat oil independant throught tht North SEA OIL , has coincindentally (?) a farlower muslim popultion than its euroneighbours.
The french have only themselves to blame for a huge timebomb of muslims. mostly living in an impoverished stete in HLMs all around their major cities.
The Dutch have realised the folly of the liberalism of twenty five years too late.
these gentle folk are now mortally wounded.
When the time comes we will welcome them here and i am sure the yanks will reopen ELLIS ISland to the new hordes of european refugees from Islam.
ONly the eastern european countries will survive because they no the price of freedom and have still got the guts to defend themselves.
America will never be taken over because they do not suffer from the european disease.
A disease similar to the one that heralded the end of the Roman Empire, when years of endulgement on the finer things of life left the romans incapable of defending themselves.
How the Islamists must have laughed when they saw the peace loving europeans abandon "National Service" one by one leaving behind armies of sheep.
Americains must now deal firmly with Islamists and expel them swiftly.
I know bush is trying hard. It may have to go on a war footing to do it. It may involve Human rights restrictions. They are well worth it in the long run.
Anyone reading Bernard henry levi's book "who killed Daniel Pearl ?" can see the level of Jihad has increased a thousand fold.
AS he states "Jihad is big big business". THe Saudis have used their astronomic oil revenues to Islamify the entire planet.
The saudi royals know that Jihad is their ticket to survival and their huge wealth. There is no doubt about that. Arab swiss banks have been set up with Swiss Nazis at their heads. Dhubai is another centre of finance.
The oil for food UN scandal, ignored by the press , may yet turn out to be a tadpole compared to the sums that have been used to infiltrate western universities, western news organistaions, schools , left wing politicians et al in the last thirty years.
THis is where the main assault has focused.
The terrorists attacks are a small part of all that.

Posted by: DAVO at May 5, 2004 at 02:45 PM

Carlos: Would you dare create a sculpture of Mohammed made out of processed ham? You could title it "MoHAMmed". Would that be 'pushing the envelope' enough for you?

But I'm pretty sure you have enough sense to not do such a thing, at least for the reason that it may make you a target of some very angry Muslims. I doubt you realize that such things are offensive by themselves, without the threat of a beating.

Posted by: Steve Meyer at May 5, 2004 at 02:48 PM

God, ilibcc, I never thought it would be possible for me to dislike Moore more until I read that.

Let him show his stupid film as much as he likes. Just let him finance and organise the whole thing himself. If he gets knocked back, that's not necessarily censorship, just market forces, of which he, of course, has been a major beneficiary.

This relates to Tim's post in that 'public' art disconnects artists from the sensibilities, tastes and values of a market comprised of individuals. We, as a collective entity, end up paying for dross that we wouldn't hang or display in our own homes, schools or offices.

Yet there must still be public art, so what to do about cultivating it without allowing an assault on Judaism or Christianity - or other religions? (Not that any of the latter ever get attacked - I haven't seen the Dalai Lama portrayed in an SS uniform or anything yet).

No more government funding of public art? Application of anti-vilification laws to public art? Deportation of grants-addicted artists to Pyongyang?

Not sure.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 5, 2004 at 02:56 PM

Well yu know , if you look at the "art" again - all the lines in the statement are true it's the quantities that are in question-correct?
If he'd "x"'d the quantities, then this would have been acceptable? (Probably would have been more artistic).
-How did we get into a religious arguement?

Posted by: carlos at May 5, 2004 at 03:01 PM

In completely unrelated, but breaking, news - three bombs have been detonated in athens. get ready for an interesting olympics

Posted by: attila at May 5, 2004 at 03:10 PM

I'll meet you half way Carlos. How about this:

"Because of the unwillingness of extremists to accept Israel's right to exist:

* Palestinians have been killed
* refugees have been created
* square kilometers of land have been annexed
* towns and villages have been destroyed
* settlements have been built
* military dollars have been spent
* WMDs have been manufactured
* UN resolutions have been ignored

Might work...

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 5, 2004 at 03:16 PM

Forget it. You're talking to carlos, for whom the "art" is legitimate because the "meaning" is "Israel is bad".

Posted by: Sortelli at May 5, 2004 at 03:42 PM

G'day carlos,

See a definite reading comprehension problem - have you sought counselling.

Under Victoria's racial vilification laws statements which would intend to invite vilification of any religious/ethnic/racial group are illegal (you might have read this a few posts ago - sorry if you have difficulty with the concepts involved). Public money should not be spent to break the law.

If the a series of true statements about the Palestinians were made in the same way "Palestinians terrorists deliberately targetted a pregnant mother and her four children for murder" - this statement would arguably be viewed unfavourably by the same law. It is just a coincidence that in order to get the same effect about the Jews you have to tell lies rather than the truth.

Posted by: Russell at May 5, 2004 at 03:55 PM

"-How did we get into a religious arguement?"

I think we're in a history argument.

Posted by: Yehudit at May 5, 2004 at 03:55 PM

Hey Huddo:
Hey, how about we get some public funding to put up a work of "art" that displays false information about Palestinians

You don't need to create any false information about Palestinians to evoke disgust.

Just show 1% of the child abuse, religious indoctrination, oppression of women and homosexuals and the culture based on worshipping terrorism.

Posted by: Jono at May 5, 2004 at 04:48 PM

Are Collingwood supporters an 'ethnic group'?

They get vilified on a regular basis.
Any chance of suing the rest of the AFL for mega-bucks?

What is art?
That's easy. Art is anything done by an artist.
Who is an artist?
All persons who call themselves 'artists'

Posted by: peggy sue at May 5, 2004 at 05:27 PM

I'm impressed that stating remarkably inaccurate facts about Israel is anti-Semitism these days. It seems like it should only be considered stupid anti-Israeli propaganda. Apparently Israel is suddenly synonomous with Jews? I hope that even Israel supporters accept that legitamate Palestinian grievences have been brutally crushed by Israel. Indeed, many of Sharon's actions have been downright barbaric. Noted non-anti-Semite William F. Buckley also agrees on this. Is it time for a smear job on him? I agree the "art" is moronic, but using around the term anti-Semitism is not always accurate of those who do even the most hateful smear jobs on Israel.

Posted by: carl at May 5, 2004 at 06:01 PM

carl writes:

"I agree the "art" is moronic, but using around the term anti-Semitism is not always accurate of those who do even the most hateful smear jobs on Israel."

Well then, is it Francophobic to say or imply France shouldn't exist? Were I to argue that Japan had no right to exist as a nation, people would rightly accuse me of having a problem with the Japanese nation. But it's not antisemitic to wish annihilation on the only Jewish State. Give me a break. Criticism of Israeli policies is not antisemitic. Denying Israel's right to exist is. And that's the problem with this so called "art".

Carlos, I bet you think this is art.

Posted by: David at May 5, 2004 at 06:58 PM

I'm sorry carl, I guess I used too many big words. I didn't take into account the fact that you're at a university, and therefore have no grasp of logic and only rudimentary reading comprehension.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 5, 2004 at 08:26 PM

Professor Bunyip's latest provides a little intell on what an unpleasant person this 'artist' is.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 5, 2004 at 09:16 PM

[Post removed by the Management.]

Posted by: tony at May 5, 2004 at 11:03 PM

So the site's name is registered in the name of an American. The POSTER, who goes by the pen name of "Tom Paine", is in Melbourne.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at May 6, 2004 at 12:26 AM

No, the story about the window display was beamed into his brain from afar by the secret JEW SATELLITES. It's all part of the ZIONIST CONSPIRACY. AJSHDKJASHDKLASD

Posted by: Sortelli at May 6, 2004 at 12:58 AM

This is ground-breaking, avant-garde art?
A fifteen year old in a Che Guevara T-shirt might think so. Unfortunatelty, it isn't. In fact, it's the exact opposite of that which makes art insightful and exciting. Sadly, it's simply ugly populism!

Posted by: Brian. at May 6, 2004 at 01:44 AM

Mr Collis' post has been removed and his IP banned. No unauthorized posting of other peoples' physical addresses or phone numbers is allowed here by anyone other than the owner or administrators. By the way, it took me about thirty seconds to look up your domain registration info for your website tamesapien.com.

(For those coming late to this who are perplexed, "tony" expressed skepticism at the idea that the person at the website mentioned above, Silentrunning.tv, was from Melbourne, Australia. He then displayed the address and phone number of the owner, which is in another country. Apparently "tony" has never heard of group blogs, where members of that group can be in different parts of the globe and yet by the miracle of the internet, post to the same site.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 6, 2004 at 10:29 AM