MoMA Is Accused of Anti-Israel Tilt on Documentary Film Series (NEW YORK SUN) BY JACOB GERSHMAN - Staff Reporter of the Sun 01/31/05)
NEW YORK SUN
NEW YORK SUN Articles-Index-Top
Israel´s alleged repression of Palestinian Arabs has emerged as a
major theme of an upcoming exhibition of documentary films at the
Museum of Modern Art. The lineup features four films that blame
Israel for the suffering of Arabs living in Israel and those living
in the occupied territories.
Organizers of the exhibition at MoMA, which runs from February 10 to
28, said the purpose of the documentary film series is to highlight
provocative issues around the globe. Critics of the museum said they
are alarmed that all of the exhibition´s films concerning the
conflict in the Middle East take a starkly anti-Israel stance.
"We thought it was so one-sided," the executive director of the
Boston based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in
America, Andrea Levin, said. "At the very least, they should add some
other documentaries. If they want to give a completely distorted
picture - if that´s their intention - then they´re doing it."
The organizer of the annual exhibition, Sally Berger, refused to
comment to The New York Sun and directed inquiries about the event to
a MoMA publicist, who was unavailable for comment yesterday.
One of the films scheduled for screening, "Forbidden to Wander,"
tells the story of a 25-year-old Arab-American Christian woman, Susan
Youssef, who travels throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2002.
While escaping from an Israeli attack on Gaza City, she is rescued by
a Palestinian man, with whom she becomes romantically involved,
according to the film´s Web site.
"Forbidden to Wander" depicts Israelis as seen through the eyes of
average Palestinians, as soldiers in tanks enforcing the curfew,
glimpsed through half-shut window panes and resisted for the sake of
normalcy (so that children can play, even if it is at dusk) as much
as for political reasons," a description of the film on the Web site
"World protest against the current US ´War on Terrorism´ suggests
that "Forbidden to Wander" not only must be seen, but that an
audience already exists that would eagerly embrace a more complex
representation of Palestinian experiences."
Another film, "Paradise Lost," directed by an Arab Israeli, Ebtisam
Mara´ana, explores the life of a Palestinian woman living in an Arab
Israeli fishing village who, in the 1970s as a Palestine Liberation
Organization activist, "became a role model for many young women,"
the Web site of the film´s distributor, Women Make Movies, says.
Another documentary scheduled for screening is "Still Life," a 15-
minute film directed by Cynthia Madansky. In it, "landscapes in the
Palestinian territories, reduced to rubble, reveal the destructive
effects of occupation," the description of the film appearing on
MoMA´s exhibition Web site says.
The 17-minute "Detail" by an Israeli filmmaker, Avi Mograbi, shows in
part the plight of a Palestinian family unable to transport a sick
child to a hospital because of an Israeli roadblock. The film was
also shown last month at an Amnesty International film festival in
Seattle. According to MoMA´s Web site, the film features "three
scenes from the occupied Palestinian territories" that "expose how
border controls incite confrontation."
Opposition to MoMA´s documentary exhibition is reminiscent of the
brouhaha surrounding Boston´s Institute of Contemporary Art in 1991
when it sponsored a Palestinian film festival. That event was
ultimately canceled, but not before the vice president of the
institute, Steven Grossman, resigned, reportedly to protest the
exclusion of a pro-Israel view.
The MoMA exhibition includes a total of 44 films, according to a
schedule, including several others that are against American foreign
policy. Another Israeli film, "Purity," offers a "rare look into the
world of religious Jewish married life," the MoMA Web site states. (©
2005 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC. 01/31/05)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY