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Members of G.U.L.F. occupying the second floor of the Israeli pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale (all photos courtesy G.U.L.F. unless noted otherwise)

Yesterday the Gulf Labor Coalition, which is an official participant of the central exhibition of the 2015 Venice Biennale, and the G.U.L.F. (Global Ultra Luxury Faction) group staged a variety of protest actions at the international exhibition. From the stenciling of “Handala” on Gulf Labor’s official banner hanging inside the Arsenale exhibition hall to the hourlong occupation of the second floor of the Israeli Pavilion, the two groups focused on migrant rights and Palestinian solidarity during the day’s activities.

The stenciled image of Handala on the Gulf Labor banner in the Arsenale

Best known for its actions raising awareness about the Guggenheim’s labor practices at its Abu Dhabi outpost in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), G.U.L.F.—  which often collaborates with Gulf Labor — altered the official Gulf Labor Coalition banner that hangs in the All the World’s Futures exhibition in the Arsenale, curated by Okuwei Enwezor.

At 1:30pm CEST, the team of activists stenciled a one-meter-long (~39 inches) image of Handala, an image of a 10-year-old refugee boy that was first created by assassinated Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali as an icon of Palestinian defiance. The banner hangs in a prominent place in Enwezor’s central exhibition, and according to G.U.L.F. roughly 20 Biennale visitors watched the action.

G.U.L.F. activists stenciling the Gulf Labor banner in the Arsenale half of the ‘All the World’s Futures’ exhibition

“Handala is an iconic symbol of Palestinian Resistance created in the 1970s by Naji al-Ali while he lived as a stateless migrant in the Gulf; it takes on profound dimensions on this banner,” G.U.L.F. said in an official statement. “As a universal symbol of solidarity, it speaks for the indifference of both the UAE authorities and museums like the Guggenheim and the Louvre, and universities like NYU in taking action on the issues of the migrant workers building the Saadiyat Island. The image of Handala: the ten year old boy who turned his back to a world that will not bring the occupation of his homeland to justice also brings Palestine into the picture; workers made stateless on their own land, compelled to cross checkpoints and work on building Israeli Settlements, homes, and military establishments.”

The Gulf Labor banner before the intervention (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

After the banner intervention, G.U.L.F. joined the scheduled Gulf Labor panel on migration labor in the Arena area of the central exhibition, and at the end of the discussion a statement by G.U.L.F. members who had recently returned from the West Bank was read (posted below in its entirety). Visitors were then invited to join the artists and activists for a joint occupation and “public meeting” in the official Israeli pavilion at the Biennale for a discussion of issues related to BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel), and their relationships with the art world.

The group’s official statement draws parallels between the plight of migrant labor in the Gulf nations today and the situation faced by Palestinian workers.

“We were struck by the overlap between the circumstances of Palestinian workers and the predicament of South Asian migrants in the Gulf,” the G.U.L.F. statement explained. “We invite you to join us as we proceed to the Israeli pavilion, where we will hold a community meeting to decide on next steps. Sharing our experiences and opinions will help us understand how and why BDS places direct obligations on artists and cultural institutions like the Biennale.”

The “occupying” group outside the Israeli pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The tires on the outside of the pavilion are part of artist Tsibi Geva’s ‘Archeology of the Present’ exhibition.

“In our last trip to the West Bank we saw Palestinians being made migrant workers in their own land, underpaid and humiliated, always under threat, and bound and controlled by a regime of ‘permits’ to work in Israel,” G.U.L.F. member Amin Husain told Hyperallergic about yesterday’s action. “We see deep connections between the struggle to amplify the voices of workers in the Gulf and Palestinian day-to-day life under an Israeli occupation and its apartheid regime that made it difficult for us to be at Venice and not raise the issue. In that light, there is no better place than the Israeli pavilion, which is owned by the state of Israel, to have the conversation about the cultural boycott of Israel, and no more appropriate method than to occupy the pavilion to do so.”

Other participants in the occupation also drew parallels between the issues of migrant labor and Palestinian rights. “We decided to alter the official [Gulf Labor Coalition] banner hanging in the Arsenale as a sign that our presence in Venice is not bound by a curatorial logic, but rather that our horizon is always guided by movement solidarity which is a process that cannot be frozen or contained,” Noah Fischer told Hyperallergic. “The figure of Handala is the work of an artist Naja al-Ali whose art practice was inseparable from struggle and gave inspiration to struggles far beyond Palestine. In the context of an ultra-luxury economy that dominates the arts and drives the politics of the UAE, Israel, the US, and other nations, the 10-year-old boy Handala is the one who is poor and shut out of this economy and country, and refuses to participate in its lies.”

Hyperallergic has reached out to the curator and artist of the Israeli Pavilion for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

G.U.L.F.’s statement in full reads:

Political art is everywhere we look at this year’s Biennale, and the warm embrace of Africa and its diasporic struggles is a welcome corrective to decades of neglect. But Palestine does not appear significantly on anyone’s radar, nor is there is any evidence of the solidarity that has carried the BDS movement into many corners of the academic and cultural world. Earlier today, G.U.L.F. (Global Ultra Luxury Faction) began its response to this situation by altering the Gulf Labor Coalition banner hanging in the Arsenale. In this statement, we explain our action.

Before coming to Venice, some of us shot a film about the challenges of daily life in the West Bank. We were struck by the overlap between the circumstances of Palestinian workers and the predicament of South Asian migrants in the Gulf. Under the Occupation, the Palestinian people have become migrant workers in their own land. Many suffer the same indignities and extreme precarity when they cross the notorious Israeli checkpoints to seek work. Behind the Green Line, they are pit against heavily indebted Chinese migrants. Within the West Bank, more and more are compelled to take jobs in Israeli settlement farms and factories on land stolen from Palestinians. Countless others must emigrate from economically ravaged villages and towns to seek a livelihood overseas. Indeed, before South Asians became a preferred workforce, Palestinians were a primary source of migrant labor for the Gulf states.

Those who resist the Occupation are met with harsh forms of detention and worse, though the reality is that most Palestinians feel they are living in a prison. While filming at one village where resistance has become a way of life, we shared the villagers’ experience of being teargassed, strafed by rubber bullets, and hosed with the infamous “skunkwater.” We came to the Biennale with the foul stench of this Odortech chemical on our clothing and in our hair–it can linger for weeks. Compared to the daily stigma endured under the Occupation, ours is a small hardship, just as the UAE’s entry ban on Gulf Labor members is a minor privation when placed alongside the ordeal faced by the Saadiyat workforce. But, as artists and writers, who bear these as the legacies of state repression, we refuse the complacency that serves autocrats in both of these countries.

Scholars have taken the lead in responding to the call by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) to boycott Israeli institutions, and other sectors (governments, communities of faith, trade unions, and organs of commerce) are joining in. The boycott is now spreading to the general population in countries all over the world. Yet, with some notable exceptions, the institutional artworld has held back.

Following the repudiation, by artist and curators, of Israeli state funding at last year’s Biennale de São Paulo, we feel compelled to bring the BDS spirit to Venice Biennale, where the stateless are obscured by the radiance cast by the national pavilions.

We invite you to join us as we proceed to the Israeli pavilion, where we will hold a community meeting to decide on next steps. Sharing our experiences and opinions will help us understand how and why BDS places direct obligations on artists and cultural institutions like the Biennale.

UPDATE, Tuesday, August 4, 11am ET: We received the following emails from the curator, Hadas Maor, and artist, Tsibi Geva, of the Israeli Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale:

Thank you for your email and update regarding the act by G.U.L.F. (Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction) at the Israeli Pavilion.

I respect G.U.L.F. (Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction) activity and find their decision to hold the discussion of BDS and PACBI inside the Israeli Pavilion worthwhile discussing.

Kind regards,

Hadas

and:

This statement is personal, as an artist living in Israel and resisting the occupation.

All my life I believed in dialogue and open discourse.

My artistic project has been, and is focused on these cultural- political issues for more than 30 years.

In my artistic ongoing project, I have dealt with recognizing and exposing the collective repressed unconscious of this place and time.

It was stated recently, that in all the Biennale, including the central exhibition, there is no mention of the Palestinian issue, therefore I am happy that they chose to hold a “public meeting” at the heart of my project, right under the work (maybe the only one in the Biennale) that relates and carries the word GAZA, which is right next to the ironic caged sign “WONDERLAND.”

They are more than welcome.

Tsibi Geva

UPDATE, August 11, 2015: Members of G.U.L.F. emailed Hyperallergic the following response to Maor and Geva’s responses:

Dear Tsibi Geva and Hadas Maor:

This is a response to your recent statements to Hyperallergic regarding our August 2nd occupation of the Israeli pavilion. We occupied the Pavilion to hold a conversation about the daily injustices perpetuated against the Palestinian people and to discuss the cultural boycott of Israel.

We did not enter the pavilion to dialog with symbols that you chose to include in your paintings and installation such as tires attached to the pavilion’s exterior, or the painting depicting the word GAZA on the interior.

The Israeli pavilion normalizes the Israeli occupation and its violence. In an interview earlier this year,  curator Okwui Enwesor said, “What I find incredibly [dispiriting] is the infantilisation of artists,” and with this letter, we want to respectfully challenge your artistic position along these lines: are you taking responsibility for the actual political effects of your participation?

We feel that the symbolic gestures of sympathy toward the Palestinian struggle contained within the walls of a violent, racist, and dangerous state are emblematic of an artworld that props up the status quo in Israel/Palestine. By placing your paintings and sculptures inside of these walls, we feel that the walls grow thicker and stronger as an outcome of your artwork and your name being added into them.

Our occupation is not only a critique but rather a general call regarding Palestine, but also beyond it — to cease the practice of an art propping up a toxic status quo of racial, social, and economic inequality. Although we appreciate you are an artist “living in Israel and resisting the occupation” and your work is “exposing the collective repressed unconscious of this place and time,” we wonder how much is risked with these statements in a time when we feel it becomes necessary for artists to take risks so that our work does not become simply instruments of state and corporate power.

It seems to us that your work is likely functioning in the logic of occupation: where social critique is also encompassed along with state violence inside the dominant sphere, and the oppressed remain voiceless on this stage. We make this claim knowing that we ourselves are not standing on neutral ground, as many of our members are citizens of the empire of the United States itself a repressive state built on occupation, racism, and bloodshed.

We see it as our responsibility to address the violence that is an outcome of Wall Street’s debt and labor extraction system exported all over the globe—an economic system which results in two worlds: one of occupied bodies which are targets for violence and arrest while providing labor the amassing of wealth of an ultra-luxury class.

Financial markets are dangerous weapons — the scarcity they produce leads to the racism we are seeing in increasing levels from the burning of babies in Israel to the anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe and racist violence in the US. So you will understand that when we see your paintings including those of Palestian kaffiyehs circulating on the international auction markets, our feeling that the status quo is being reinforced by your artistic gestures only grows.

We respect the practice of painting and the depth of meaning accessed through intuitive and personal artistic practice rather than purely strategic/political means. We are rather challenging an inability to deal adequately with the actual political framework of one’s artistic production.

The hour is too late not to recognize that as artists we are providing necessary services to the world’s largest corporations and nation-states. This understanding lies at the heart of the gulf Labor campaign: we see that the UAE is bringing art museums to Saadiyat cultural district in order to wash its brand with democratic expressions of art while violently repressing dissent through jail, torture, and draconian laws.

As Grace Lee Boggs asks — “What time is it on the clock of the world?” Our answer is, the time for a shift is today: indeed it is already happening. In this sense, our occupation of the Israeli pavilion extends beyond Palestine as a challenge to artists who choose to collaborate with oppressive entities whether state or corporate.

This is not an attack on Israeli artists. This is not about geography. It’s about having ones eyes open. We are vigilant in addressing the potential for anti-Zionism to prop up the ignorance of anti-Jewish sentiment. We are clear in condemning anti-semitism of any kind. Understand that we are in solidarity with many Israeli artists and artists anywhere in the world that are calling for an end to normalization of economic, social, and racial oppression and are willing to address this in a deep sense through their art practice.

We are addressing you because we know that you are a sympathetic voice, long involved in this discussion, and because by choosing to represent Israel in the 56th Venice Biennale, you have taken on a public position which we feel must be critically challenged. As fellow participants in the Biennale, we want to make this particular cultural stage mean something beyond the endless churning of cultural capital. Palestine’s  people have spoken and said what solidarity looks like: resistance of the occupation for artists, especially Israeli artists, must take up the cultural boycott of Israeli institutions and events that receive state funding as a floor not a ceiling for what solidarity looks like. Otherwise, your objects and symbols only benefit and monetize injustice for the benefit of the oppressors.

Respectfully,

G.U.L.F.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

80 replies on “G.U.L.F. Occupies Israeli Pavilion in Venice, Calls for Cultural Boycott [UPDATED]”

  1. It is important to make this distinction. There are basic qualitative differences between South Africa and Israel that create a clear argument against BDS. South Africa under apartheid was structured to privilege whites over black Africans under the simple logic of racial superiority. No civilization ever systematically tried to exterminate “whites”. Israel and the Occupied Territories are structured to protect jews and their homeland, the only place on earth in which they can feel safe. Many civilizations have systematically tried to exterminate jews.

    1. Considering that far more Palestinians have died under the Israeli occupation than black Africans under apartheid South Africa, one can argue that Apartheid Israel is no less brutal.

        1. As any South African anti apartheid activist – Jews incl like Ronnie Kasrils & Denis Goldberg – could tell you “israel” is far worse than apartheid South Africa ever was.

          1. It’s so terrible that Arabs in israel are on the Supreme Court, are some of the countries leading surgeons, in the government, are ambassedors. . Arab women don’t have to fear enslavement or rape in israel. Continue to spout your brazen lies. As the Middle East burns all around you cannot hide from the reality of Israels success balancing liberty with all the internal and external threats faced by no other country on earth.

          2. I dont know where you impostors get off calling people liars when its clearly a projection on your part. There are more than 50 discriminatory laws against the native Palestinians inside “israel.” i dont have to give you anymore attention. Clearly indoctrinated since birth.

          3. Your link is broken. It transfers you to a Palestinian organization adalah and says error. Hardly an impartial source of analysis. Try again with independent sources.

          4. “Independent source”? get out of my face. I am so done with you. Its hard to make an indoctrinated to nothing propagandist believe something when their salary/pay check depends on them not believing it.

            No reasoning with a sociopath at the best of times but when its a squatter camp full of them its impossible. You time is nigh!

          5. Blake Arabs have equal rights in israel. Jews have NO rights in Arab countries. But you hate israel so much you conveniently neglect this. Your concern for Palestinians is a farce. You don’t object to any one discriminatory law you object to Israels existence. You want her destroyed. Facts are facts. Arabs have more rights in israel than they do in any Arab country. How uncomfortable for you to be exposed for the hater you are.

          6. Blake please refute my facts stated above. Better yet please state how many Jews live in Muslim lands today. In what Arab country are Jews allowed citizenship or to own land or to serve in government? How many Arabs in Arab countries are free to vote? Have human rights? How many Arab countries grant equal rights to Christians and women? Your hatred of israel is irrational and is exposed. You are infected with anti semitism. Yeah called a spade a spade. I bet you don’t get on the Internet to cry about human rights abuse in Arab countries. But rather enjoy spouting propaganda to demonize israel. You have been defeated. Israel lives. Many Nakbas to you and your family

          7. Facts clearly are not a zionist forte I have given you the facts. You have supplied nothing but vile cliches. You have no remorse in what your sick ideology has done in ancestral Palestine and continue to play the victims.

          8. Nope you’ve given me your hateful opinion of israel. I’ve disputed you with facts. But you can take heart. I do agree with one thing. We have no remorse for defeating the Arab attempt to murder Israels Jews and abort our state. We have no remorse for becoming a successful nation capable of fending off conventional and terror attacks of our bloodthirsty neighbors. We have no remorse for recapturing our ancestral homeland and inviting our brothers and sisters to return. After all the right of return is a sacred right which we have implemented. :) have a nice day

          9. Sacred RIGHT to Return home for White Imposter Jews from AmeriKKKa , Russia and Eastern Europe.. Middle East -Iraq- Iran while You sabotage your own :”Operation Moses” airlift of Black Jews from Ethiopia. You also sterilized Mengele style the black women Jews so they could not reproduced..U were looking for a cheap source of labour to replace the Palestinians so you designed it so you can get their black jew labour but with no black jew babies to inhabit your white land of Israel.. even dumped their donated blood in your sewers..U should be of been honoured to get some REAL Black Jew blood in your veins..so your claims could of israel been your ancestral home would have a scintilla of credence. The world is laughing at your arrogance and bold face lies!!

          10. I appreciate your passion but I’m going to have to ask you to stop these attacks on commenters and readers. You often have some interesting insights and comments but I think they would be better communicated in a more measured manner. We don’t consider “Imposter Jews” and similar phrases appropriate for this forum. I will be deleting future comments that cross the line.

          11. What do you call some who takes some one else identity? The ONLY Jews who can claim Israel as there ancestral homeland are the Black Jews of Ethiopia. They fled to Ethiopia 2,000 years ago when the Romans decided to wage an Ethnic Cleansing war against them. THIS is a historical fact.. so if some from Europe comes along and says Israel is there ancestral home because thier ancestors adopted Judaism in the past 1400 years then they are a liar and impostor.. that is not been anti Jewish or anti-semitic because what I stated is the TRUTH. If I am in error correct me but dont tell me I cant speak the TRUTH because the The Truth is the Truth Is the Truth. What is offensive to me an Black people is Europeans/ Arabs stealing our history and our religions. Its bad enough they get to Holywood and make movies about the bible showing Black Egyptians in the Ten Commandments as white people even Pharaoh Ramses….. when all the painting of the walls of the Tombs show Kemets/ Egyptians as Black people. Israel is in North Africa, the Middle East is a European Geographical construct to separate Egypt and Israel from Africa. You can walk from Africa/Egypt into Israel thru the Sinai desert because its part of the African continent and ONLY black people are indigenous to Africa Egypt and Israel. The Palestinians was brought in by the Romans to repopulate the area after the Black Jews disperse to Egypt and Ethiopia . The Black Jews Falashas were offered refuge in Ethiopia because of the personal relationship between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. This is a historical and biblical fact. And it should not be offensive to any one who is interested in the TRUTH..only impostors who want to steal the black Jew identity will be upset about this FACT!!

          12. You remind of the guy who gives some one a gun with no bullets then you go around saying how fair and generous you are because you have given the person a gun.. you keep forgetting to mention that there is no bullets in the gun you gave the person!

    2. Amazing that you think Jews in New York, Amsterdam, London or elsewhere are not safe! I would have thought that black people were far more at risk in say, America, than Jews, but perhaps you have some information not available to me. Perhaps from the Israel propaganda machine? Please share with us.
      And Id remind you that most Jews actually live OUTSIDE Israel. So much for not feeling safe!
      And even if it were true that Israel (and the occupied Palestinian Territories too of course) was the only safe haven for Jews, it could never justify the ethnic cleansing, murder, detention without trial, torture, 20 year sentencing for 10 year olds who throw stones, etc. in other words the brutal occupation of Palestine.
      You can’t brutalize an innocent people just because you have been brutalized. If you do (and Israel does), you are no better than your persecutors.

      1. It hardly justifies them stealing Palestine. Irrational victim playing nonsense. We do the genocide but we can still play the victims crazy mentality. Sick psyche.

        1. If you have a problem with Israels founding please send a letter to the UN which set it up by legal vote. No one is sorry your personal hatred of israel was not considered when passing the vote.

    3. Talmudic nonsense. That land belongs to Palestinians you have no right to an inch of THEIR native homeland. U r not above moral and ethics self chosen squatter sociopath

    4. This is inane. You claim “South Africa under apartheid was structured to privilege whites over black Africans” and yet you ignore that Israel is structured to privilege Jews over Arabs, even those few Arabs who survived the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba and were granted (second class) citizenship. Israel is a Jewish state in the same way that apartheid South Africa or Jim-Crow/Manifest-Destiny America was a white state. Or as the Israeli interior minister put it, “Israel is a white man’s country.” Israel is an apartheid state.

      1. Amen Brother Amen!! ..Look at how they TREAT the REAL Black Jews..if they really valued Judaism they would exalt the only Jews with an ancestral connection to the land of Israel. Israel is a white supremacist state filled lunatics from AmeriKKKa and crazy f..cking Russians gangstas and sick racist Arabs/Persians who adopted Judaism from North Africa…pretty soon they will turn on each other.

  2. Maybe GULF can explain why, people displaced after the 1947 war and residing in surrounding Arab nations where they and their parents and sometimes their grandparents were born are today, 7 decades later, considered refugees and not citizens of the country where they were born and where they live? To not even give them that option goes against every concept of human rights known to man.

    1. Maybe you can explain why 750,000 Palestinians who were hounded out of their homes and villages (not merely “displaced”) by Jewish terrorist gangs STERN, Irgun etc., were never allowed to return to their homes?

      And why are their descendants today confined to refugee camps, while blond, blue-eyed “Jews” from Europe and America, with no link to the land (the Bible not acceptable) are occupying their homes and villages, with huge incentives to do so from rich Americans and the Israeli government?

      These refugees are not considered citizens of the country where they were born. To not give them that option goes against every concept of human rights known to man (and woman). They are not allowed to return to their villages to pay their respects to their dead ancestors, all traces of Palestine and Palestinians having been eliminated by the Israelis. Even American citizens who have some Palestinian heritage are denied entry to Israel (see http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/palestinian-americans-detained).

      Today many Jews llve and prosper in muslim countries. I recently bought a carpet from a Jewish trader in Istanbul. He didn’t seem persecuted to me. Please tell me where all these Jewish refugee camps are, Ive never heard of them. And I thought that Israel was created precisely so that Jews would have a homeland? Isn’t this true any more? Perhaps Israel is now letting in Palestinians now instead of complete strangers. Great news!

      1. Today many Jews live and prosper in Muslim lands? The entire Middle East is cleansed of millions of Jews their property worth 40 times more than any Palestinian land confiscated. Your example of a rug merchant in turkey is laughable. If the bible which records Jews presence in israel over three thousand years is unacceptable than muslim claims that mohamed tied his camel to the western wall and thus forever more Arab invaders are entitled to israeli land is unacceptable.

        1. Impostor Zionist Jews from anywhere but Palestine have no legal moral or ethical right to an inch of Palestine. Period. They gave you a home and you repay them by stealing it from under their feet. Vile despicable bastards

          1. They gave us a home? The massacres committed against Jews before israel was founded, the palestinian brigades set up to help the nazis, and the riots preventing Jews desperately fleeing nazi Europe expose your lies. The jewish people lives. 99.9% of Jews world wide support the return of our people to our historical homeland. We are the indigenous people of the land having two commonwealths spanning three thousand years. You cannot erase history. The land literally is revealing archeological evidence of our long history. Ancient Hebrew texts, ceremonial objects, synagogues have been unearthed. The longing of our people to return to our home has withstood the test of time. We succeeded in breaking the Arabic colonization of our homeland and returning our sovereignty. It is a fact. And your frustrations at our success will never change that. We have survived every empires desire to see us buried in history. Long live the Jewish people.

          2. Please explain how a Jewish “people” can exist when anybody can convert to the Jewish religion. Converts automatically become racially Jewish? Isn’t that a miracle? I thought only Catholics believed in miracles.

          3. It’s not my job to educate you. Please go google and learn. In short the jewish religion derived from the culture of a specific people who were scattered but remained faithful to their traditions. Jews are an ethnicity practice a specific religion and are a nation. Put your bigotry aside and actually do the research.

          4. If you were scattered you wouldnt have been speaking yiddish across the ashkenaz world (as opposed to Hebrew). No one was exiled at all. the people remained on their land

          5. LOL.. Yiddish.. yeah they spoke Yiddish in the Land of Judah 2,000 years ago..these people are Moronic and self delusional!!

          6. Seemingly its your job to spread Zionist lies and Bull$hit. using the Bible as a document to settle a real estate claim is not a good idea homie…U end up looking stupid sooner or later…. trust me homie!!

          7. LOL!… “We are the indigenous people of the land having two commonwealths spanning three thousand years. You cannot erase history.” BULLSHIT!!!

            Are you a Black Falasha Jew? ..then you can not create history out of whole cloth guy? You can not claim Black Jewish History as your own.. Falasha Jew History has Nothing to do with you and AshkkKenazim- White and Arab/{Persian Sephardim Jews homie..stop the bull$hit homie!!

        2. So, your argument is that Arab governments did bad things to Middle-Eastern Jews, therefore Israel is justified in ethnically cleansing Palestinian civilians? Oh wait, it’s obvious that you’re just a hate-filled racist who thinks of Arabs as sub-human.

          1. No that’s your logic. My logic is when Palestinians call on 7 Arab nations to attack israel legally founded by the UN while shamelessly calling to throw the Jews into the sea, you don’t get to dictate terms and rewrite history to make yourself the victim. How ironic that all anti Semites such as yourself call Jews racist for having the audacity to prevent their own genocide by the Arabs. We have no guilt in surviving or thriving. Call us what you want but you really should be embarrassed when looking around the Mideast. Arabs and Muslims slaughter each other and ethnic minirities. Israel by comparison has welcomed it’s brethren from all corners of the world with all their philosophical differences. They even have welcomed their Arab minority’s when it could have been much easier to restrict their rights. Facts are inconvenient to jew haters like you.

          2. “My logic is when Palestinians call on 7 Arab nations to attack israel legally founded by the UN”

            1) Israel’s ascension to the UN was pre-conditioned on it accepting the Palestinians’ right to return, which Israel promised to do then promptly ignored. The right of return is a fundamental human right and is a requirement of international law.
            2) The Palestinians have supported a 2 state solution since the early 70s. Israelis, on the other hand, strongly oppose a 2 state solution and have even been willing to go to war to prevent it from happening(cf, Lebanon in 1982.) So your attempt to portray them as sub-human savages is just a racist lie.
            3) 700, 000 Palestinians were forced off their land at gunpoint, usually after public massacres of Palestinian civilians. It is not unreasonable for them to want to see this act of ethnic cleansing undone and Palestine returned to the Palestinians. But as I said, the Palestinians have long ago accepted that Israel is here as are the Israelis (as have most Arab governments) and their goal is now to end apartheid and secure a future for their people.

            ” We have no guilt in surviving or thriving.”

            Do you have any guilt about mass murder, ethnic cleansing or apartheid? Of course not; that would require a conscience.

            ” Arabs and Muslims slaughter each other and ethnic minirities.”

            Ah yes, the ole “Arabs are savages” argument. I’m surprised it took you that long to drop the pretense of being something other than a despicable, racist sack of shit(though you weren’t doing a good job of hiding it.)

            “They even have welcomed their Arab minority’s when it could have been much easier to restrict their rights”

            OK, this must be a comedy act, right? Nobody would have the chutzpah to actually make such a preposterous claim.

          3. I have no interest in refuting your racist demonization of Jews and israel one twisted assertion at a time. Your opinion on the validity of Israels existence is irrelevant. You will die foaming at the mouth hating Jews and frankly Israel will continue to thrive. That gives me more than enough satisfaction.

          4. I don’t hate Jews and I never have. Your baseless accusations of anti-semitism are the last gasp of a bigot who’s trying to defend the indefensible. And the apartheid regime in Israel will fall, just like it has elsewhere. As MLK Jr said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

          5. It’s funny how you quote Martin Luther king. He declared that anyone who opposed Israels existence was an antisemite. Ouch try sticking to quotes of other haters. Don’t associate your self with men greater than you’ll ever be.

          6. A lot of left-leaning people were duped by Israel’s hasbara campaign back then. If he had lived to see what the world has seen since then, he would stand up for the oppressed rather than the oppressor, just like Mandela and Tutu.

          7. I see so you now speak for a dead man and have changed his opinion for him. What a farce. Dude there is only one reason why there is no palestinian state. Bc they refuse to accept the right of the Jewish people to their own state. They want all their refugees and descendants to come to israel and destroy its Jewish character so that it can unite with the remaining half and form another Arab Muslim majority state. We can care less what the world thinks. If you send in suicide bombers we will build a wall. If you shoot missiles at us we will blockade you. You will not form a state to threaten our sovereignty. We have no guilt defending and defeating our enemies. We are the only nation with the lowest combatant to civilian kill rate even as our enemies use human shields within populated areas. You simply refuse to see the basic truth. Your premise is that israel has no right to exist. Not that there should be two states living in piece. You cannot erase Jewish rights. You cannot kill us with impunity and justify it. We will not apologize if we have to flatten villages to stop missile fire on our cities. No country would stand it.

          8. AMEN.. Hell they even give Nuclear weapons to their Nazi – AfriKKKaaner brothers in South Africa..Yeah MLK would have loved that one. These guys live in a world of Zionist tooth fairy’s blowing smoke up each others @$$!!

          9. If MLK was around today to see how you piss on THE REAL Jews..the Black Jews of Israel he would run far away from your racist apartheid regime. If he saw what you have done to the Black Jews…. which your Chief Rabbi Calls the ” The Seed of Israel” he would be horrified. If he saw your Gulags in the Negev desert to enslave Black Africans in their own lands ( ALL of Africa including Israel is the black mans homeland) he would distance him self from you anti-black racists…we see your contempt and lack of respect for President Obama.. You are behaving with the same arrogance you had in pre-Hitler Germany..like you guys are untouchable and international laws dont apply to you.. I guess laws are only for the powerless..but what goes around comes around homie!!…. Nothing built on a LIE will prosper for long!

          10. They play the victim whilst doing the genocide. Its political zionism which we abhor, nought to do with the Jewish religion.

          11. You abhor political Zionism. The nation state whete the worlds majority of Jews live. You love Jews as long as they are scattered and have no cultural and political autonomy. Boo hoo us stubborn Jews refuse to lay down to your definition of who we are and where we should live.

          12. 1) israel was founded before there was an Arab exodus. Scary how you think Israels founding is preconditioned on a return of refugees than hadn’t existed yet. An inconvenient fact for you to consider. The “right of return” is actually not a fundamental human right and it is not enshrined in law. A general assembly resolution mentions this but it is not binding in international law. You see you are ignorant to the facts and you use wishful thinking to substitute for reality. You must be embarrassed and shamed at your lack of knowledge.

          13. “israel was founded before there was an Arab exodus”

            You are entitled to your own opinions, as stupid and vicious as they are, but you are not entitled to your own facts. The existence of ethnic cleansing during the Nakba has been proven beyond any doubt(mostly by Israeli scholars, no less.) To deny it is to enter into the same foul realm as Holocaust and Armenian genocide deniers. I see you keep good company. I would ask if you have any shame, but a vicious bigot like you is beyond such decency.

          14. Lol again I see reading comprehension isn’t your strength. The Arab exodus occurred after the arabs refused to accept the UN resolution calling for two states. They gambled they could wipe the Jews out. They lost that gamble. You are not entitled to YOUR own facts either. In any case like I said I have no interest in convincing you of anything. I take satisfaction in the fact that long after your worthless life is ended israel will still be prospering. the Greeks and Romans laughed at us too. Whose laughing now? Goodbye hater.

          15. They arent called refugees for nothing simpleton. You cannot even comprehend rational logic or facts (forget just reading).

          16. The Greeks and Romans laughed at the ancestors of the Black Falasha Jews..NOT your people. ..wrong movie homie! ..different ending!!

          17. No israel never declared UDI before there 4
            waves of ethnic cleansing:
            1. 30000 Palestinians were forced to leave Jan 47- Mar 48.
            2. Over 300000 Palestinians were forced to leave W.Jerusalem, Tiberias, Haifa,Jafa, Beishan, Deir Yasin Mar – May 48
            3. The Israeli occupation deported approx 100000 Palestinians from Lod & Ramlah cities to Jordan May- Dec 1948.
            4. Israeli hostilities cont after the 1948 war, over 200000 Palestinians were forced to move to the Gaza Strip.

            The ethnic cleansing continues to this day

          18. And yet the inconvenient context you try to obscure. 7 Arab nations declared war on israel. Why? Bc the Arab world controlling 99.9 percent of Mideast land refused to accept the UN resolution partitioning the land into two states for two peoples. Greed and Muslim hatred of Jewish independence led to wherever we are today. We feel no guilt defending ourselves and defeating our enemies. These people will never return. Islamic state is in need of new citizens. Have a nice day.

          19. They merely wanted the land grab and ethnic cleansing to stop which is kind of human. Clearly u sick people wouldnt know what being human is.“Israel” sits on 80% of mandatory Palestinian land and of the 1 million native people who lived on that 80% of land only 100,000 remained after the Zionist terrorist gangs ethnically cleansed the rest out. We are talking about a country that lost 90% of their community and one can only imagine the trauma of such a dramatic transformation in your life. Of those that were allowed to remain inside “Israel” ¼ were refugees who saw their homes; farms; businesses stolen from under their noses.

          20. Yet another lie. You conveniently omit that Jordan was the majority of the Palestine mandate chopped off to create an Arab state with a Saudi born king. Go look at a map. The rest was subdivided into a Jewish portion consisting of desert and tel aviv. The majority left was given to be a Palestinian state. Only the Arabs couldnt stand this arrangement and attacked. They lost. We have no guilt in degrading our enemies who thought they could defeat us. We are quite pleased we prevented our own genocide can care less about the self inflicted tragedy of our enemies. You really seem to ignore the fact of the Arab invasion. conveniently you and palestinian supporters never ever disrupt your false narrative to address Arab culpability for their own hateful choices. This is why israel will always win. Go try your propaganda with someone not armed with facts.

          21. WHO gave the white controlled UN the right to give away land that does not belong to them? who the hell made the UN legal..its like the US Supreme Court saying Slavery of the Black man is legal..who the foook gave them that right? besides themselves? .. criminals make up their owns laws I guess and hire criminal judges to give it stamp of legality.

        3. Israeli land? More than 3,000 years ago? Ha Ha!
          In that case as a Catholic I should be entitled to a piece of the Vatican. Must stake my claim first thing tomorrow.
          Not interested in anybodys camel or religions. I hate all of them equally. My concern is human rights, not religion, the greatest abuser of human rights for centuries.

          1. Um no Jews occupied their ancestral homeland for 3000 consecutive years. Two commonwealths. When their political freedom was destroyed the majority were scattered but there has been continues jewish occupation of their homeland for two thousand years after that. So for a total of five thousand years Jews have been living in their land. In the 20th century they regained political autonomy after 2000 years. There is no people that has a deeper claim to the land than the Jews. Furthermore our claim is deeper longer than any European people’s existence. So spare me your ignorance. When France and german culture is over run in less than a century the remaining indigenous people will be amazed at how the Jews managed to hold on to their culture and hope of return for Milena. We fought to regain our rights. We won. Accept it or not. We have defied the odds of history.

          2. If you are concerned with human rights please state to me whether or not you believe Israel has a right to defend itself against rockets suicide bombers firebombers and drive-by shootings? You see it’s a human right to not be killed. And please the “occupation” of west bank occurred long AFTER arab attacks on Jewish civilians in all parts of israel. Please tell me what “right” do the Islamic terrorists controlling Gaza have to shoot missiles at population centers in israel. What right do they have to educate children in summer camps to kill Jews? And again before you go talking about the UN legally sanction blockade let’s acknowledge this went into effect AFTER Gaza terrorists shot missiles and imported weapons from Iran. You see you people live in a dream world and think israel is responsible for all actions in the Middle East. Never do you human rights supporters cry over the MILLIONS of Arabs slaughtered by their own people. Shame on you all

          3. This stuff they feed you since birth is truly worrying. The fact that you buy it shows you are a simpleton who cannot think for yourself and question this madness.

          4. LOL!!.. Yeah that Indonesian or Chinese – Musliim has got to stake his claim on Jeddah Saudi Arabia ASAP before King Faisal and the boys notice!!

        4. The Bible records Black Jews presence in Israel..not white and Arab/Persian Jews from Europe and Middle East. There was no white people living in Israel/North Africa 2,-3-4,000 years ago. STOP THE effing Lies… any thing built on a lie will be built on sand and will crumble to the sea in due course. So it is written so it shall be done!!

      2. Your ignorance is so vast it’s absurd. Almost a million Jews from Arab lands were forced out of their homes they lived in for thousands of years. Israel is made up of 60% mizrahi or eastern Jews from Arab lands. They were given citizenship and absorbed. Jews did not keep their brothers in refugee camps to use as political fodder against Arab states. We moved on and built up a thriving country. We did not spend a second plotting the destruction of our neighbors. While arab states fed the Palestinians on s false diet of hatred of israel with the promise of her eventual destruction. Four generations later they are still waiting for a day that will never come instead of peacefully building their state. And for the record many Palestinian and lebanese Arabs have blond hair and blue eyes due to mixing with European blood. So not sure what your point was….that only Jews who don’t look European have a right to move or live in their ancestral homeland? By your logic no turkish or Arab can move to Europe. No white man should exist in america, and no african can live in australia america or Europe. No only some half baked logic is used against Jews to create a “reason” for your opposition to
        Israels existence. And yet we as a people have survived every persecution. Have been scattered and resisted assimilation of our culture. We bravely came back from the dead and resurrected our political independence. We are proud not apologetic and certainly not remorseful

        1. LOL.. ONLY the Black Jews of Ethiopia the Falahaas can claim Israel as there ancestral lands.. STOP the LYING and disinformation. you are Kazars from Eastern Europe and semetic Arabs ..you have ZERO connection to Israel..Your ancestors adopted Judaism like Chinese /Indonesian Muslims adopted Islam.. Can Chinese Muslims claim Saudi Arabia because that is where Islam was founded? STOP the bull$hit. Look how you treat the REAL Black Jews in Israel, you dont care about Judaism ,it was just a another white man land grab… like you have done all over the world. the British offered the Zionist Uganda at one point, there by the Grace of God you did not accept because the black man would be fighting you racist lunatics in Uganda today.

    2. Because u sent them there not of their own choice they have a homeland which u squat in they have an inalienable right to it. Jews from anywhere but Palestine DO NOT. Its basic common sense

    3. That’s an inane argument. For one thing, nobody is supporting the way that gulf governments have treated Palestinian refugees nor does GULF have a high opinion of these governments. But more importantly, it wasn’t Jordan or Kuwait or Saudi Arabia that ethnically cleansed these refugees from their ancestral homeland. It wasn’t Egypt that sent death squads across Palestine, executing those Arabs suspected of being too uppity or politically conscious and forcing hundreds of thousands of others to leave at gunpoint with nothing but the clothes on their backs. It was Israel who did that and it’s Israel’s moral and legal obligation to allow these victims of Israeli ethnic cleansing to return home.

  3. Palestinians thought European Jews were seeking refuge, poor souls who just wanted
    to live but all the time they were amassing weapons to drive the hospitable
    natives from their homeland.

  4. This comment section displays some of the most blatant antisemitism I have ever seen in my years visiting Hyperallergic. Arguments dismissed as “talmudic nonsense?” Casting doubt on the Jewishness of “blond, blue-eyed” Jews from Europe? “Impostor zionist Jews?” This is White Supremacist, Nazi rhetoric masquerading as justice for Palestine. This is slander lifted from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the long-discounted Khazarian theory. Just egregious.

      1. Hrag my friend..Let People talk and exchange their thoughts and opinions- only thru frank exchanges of opinions are people able to address tough issues.. please do not censor my Jewish Friend Sheikof Chic defending his Zionist fantasies or any one else seeking to educate him. Thank you sir. ..this is DEMOCRACY and FREE Speech in action and its wonderful.

    1. Though, I keep reading this and it’s going on forever. This is going to take me a while. Oy. But I think you should note there is a lot of Islamophobia in the comments, and not only anti-Semitism.

      1. I do note it. Perhaps this is naive of me, but I assume the general Hyperallergic readership is capable of identifying Islamophobia. This likely is naive of me. That said, I am more attentive of and sensitive to antisemitism because I am Jewish. I don’t think leftist spaces do all that great a job of policing antisemitism, and because the people who usually point it out have the “wrong” (sometimes profoundly wrong) politics the accusation is all too often discounted. This is particularly disturbing when the antisemitic ideas being ignored are identical to those espoused by White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis and “Radical” Traditionalists. More than mere bigotry, antisemitism in this form is the instrumentalization of radical politics for reactionary ends. I therefore feel obligated to point out when this strain of antisemitism appears, as it has here. I very much appreciate that you are taking my complaint seriously.

      2. LOL.. There eyes only see anti-Semitic things…every thing else is OK or dont matter..its ALL about them!!. This is AmeriKKKa they want to control every thing..even what people think and write..there is No truth but their TRUTH!!

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