Friday, January 29

Culture and Art - The Monopoly of the Right?

David Grossman, Edit from a image from flickr,...
David Grossman, Edit from a image from flickr, see below en wikipedia: David Grossman he wikipedia: דויד גרוסמן (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Amos Oz (b. 1939), Jewish writer
Amos Oz (b. 1939), Jewish writer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Over the last few weeks, the right wing Government has been labelling various left wing-oriented NGOs (Breaking the Silence, B'tzelem, Peace Now and New Israel Fund) as moles (traitors), who are accused of spreading falsehoods against Israel and doing much damage to Israel's image and working for the interests of Israel's enemies. 

This phenomena has know spread to culture in Israel. It all began with the Minister of Culture and Sport threatening to withhold state subsidies to cultural activities such as theatre productions that do not tow the "patriotic" line of thought and are viewed as hostile to Israel's existence in the widest possible interpretation. This is one stage before censoring theatre productions that do not tow the ruling right wing coalition line. This is happening in the education system under the auspices of the Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, who has an agenda of dovetailing education to suit his right wing views on religious National Zionism and the settler movements encouraging settlement in the occupied territories. The civics textbook "To be a Citizen of Israel" that is in draft form and will become the "Bible" of civics education of pupils is apparently full of inaccuracies tailored to suit the world view of Naftali Bennett.  This is the trend that one finds in dictatorship ruled countries and not in democracies. 

Some Artists Blacklisted by Im Tirtzu

In dictatorships, culture and education is dovetailed to suit the ruling political party outlook. They change history, ideology as well as educational values in order to prolong their power by brainwashing with party propaganda. Culture and education become political and the property of the dictatorship in power. Some examples of this in history were in Communist and Fascist States. It is hoped that Israel's democracy will not change towards soft-serve totalitarianism and witch-hunt techniques as was in the US under the influence of McCarthyism. Education must be truthful and not be influenced by politics of ruling parties. The same must be applicable to culture. The right to criticise is part and parcel of democracy. Diversity in vibrant culture patterns, even avant garde ideas should be encouraged provided that they are not racist or insulting to the kaleidoscope of cultures existing in Israel. Society is always evolving and not static. This should apply to education and culture as well.

A worrisome trend is the ideology of an extremist right wing organisation or NGO, Im Tirtzu, that is obsessed with the idea of "moles" undermining Israel in the left wing NGO's and is encouraging hatred of those who do not hold their extremist, fascist, nationalistic world view. They have now attacked Israeli artists, who are the backbone of Israel's artistic talent in writing and theatre. Im Tirtzu accuses them of being "left wing moles" working against Israel. They published a Blacklist of Israeli artists and intellectuals.

                                       Im Tirtzu is what Netanyahu supports

Miri Regev and Naftali Bennett have both opened the Pandora's Box and Im Tirtzu, the pseudo-fascist organisation, jumped out, spewing their hate and paranoia towards those that do not hold their world view in Israel's cultural world. Amos Oz, David Grossman (whose son was killed in the last Lebanese war), A.B. Yehoshua are viewed by this organization as traitors. In the theatrical world, Gila Almagor, Rivka Michaeli and a host of others, who are the backbone of Israel's culture, have been accused of being traitors.The root of this shocking organization comes from the ruling right wing Israeli government. This organization became an embarrassment to the "Netanyahu - Bennett - Regev Triumvirate" that they condemned Im Tirtzu.  This is perhaps to their credit. The most outspoken statement against this nefarious organisation came from the Likud Member of Knesset, Benny Begin. These Israeli artists are a credit to Israel, and have worldwide recognition for their contributions to culture. Israel would have been poorer culturally if not for these Israeli artists whose love and concern for Israel is unquestionable.

Who is Im Tirtzu? A miserable, hateful, pseudo-fascist, racist organisation that does much damage to Israel. The sooner they disappear from Israel the better for Israel and its citizens.Their tactics of hate for those, who do not hold their McCarthyite world view, has exploded in their faces, even more so because of condemnation from those right wingers in the Knesset, who are also responsible for their creation. This shocking organisation is no credit to Israel or to the Jewish People.  

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