Jewish assemblyman demands cancellation of Palestinian art exhibit in New York

Friday, November 12th 2004, 8:16 pm
By: News On 6

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ A Jewish assemblyman said Friday that an exhibit of Palestinian art and crafts, scheduled for display in a public building, should be canceled because it is anti-Israel and ``promotes terrorism and violence.''

Items to be shown include an Arab headdress trapped in a Star of David made of barbed wire, and a piece paying homage to ``Palestinian martyrs in the anti-Israel uprising that began in 2000.''

The curator of the exhibit said that while some of the art deals with Israel's military presence in the Palestinian territories and ``the apartheid-type life that Palestinians are forced to live under ... what comes through is the desire for a peaceful life.''

Westchester County's executive has demanded a preview of the exhibit before deciding whether it should be canceled. The exhibit, scheduled for Nov. 20 at the county center in White Plains, is entitled ``Made in Palestine.''

Assemblyman Ryan Karben, a Democrat from neighboring Rockland County, based his objections on artworks from another exhibit, also called ``Made in Palestine,'' that was on display at the Station museum in Houston last year.

Those works are in storage, but their images will be shown as part of the White Plains display, said Nada Khader of WESPAC, a peace group that is sponsoring the display with the artists' group Al-Jisser (which means ``bridges'').

Among other things in the Houston exhibit that Karber objects to are a reference to the creation of Israel in 1948 as a ``catastrophe,'' and works by an artist described in the Houston exhibit as ``a former general in the Palestinian Liberation Organization.''

``Whether they are in a display case or on a projection screen, these divisive and anti-Israel pieces that glorify terrorism have no business being displayed,'' said Aaron Troodler, Karben's spokesman.

Haifa Bint-Kadi, the artist who is curating the White Plains exhibit, said she was disappointed that Karben would ``make something divisive out of this, when what we're trying to do is get people to know one another rather than do harm to one another.''