Over the past weeks, we have come together as a community to express our collective concern over the "Child's View from Gaza" exhibit that was scheduled to open this week at MOCHA, the Museum of Children's Art, in Oakland. As I shared with you before Shabbat, MOCHA's Board of Directors heard our concerns and has decided to cancel the exhibit.
Now MOCHA is being inundated with letters, emails, Facebook and Twitter posts accusing MOCHA of censorship and insisting that the decision be reversed.
WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW. MOCHA needs to hear from the Jewish community that we applaud their decision and that we are grateful that the children of the East Bay will not be exposed to violent propaganda within the walls of an important community institution. To support MOCHA's decision to cancel the scheduled "Child's View from Gaza" exhibit in the face of immense public criticism from anti-Israel groups we urge you to
Visit Mocha's Facebook to express your view. The page is inundated with anti-Israel responses.
Write letters to the editor supporting MOCHA's decision to your local media, in particular to newspapers that, in our view, have published an inaccurate or partial description of the exhibit. These include the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Contra Costa Times.
Potential talking points for supporting MOCHA's position:
This exhibit, sponsored by a well-known political advocacy organization (the Middle East Children's Alliance), constitutes propaganda aimed at indoctrinating our children under the guise of art. There is no context given to understand the complex issues facing Israel and the Palestinians, nor is there recognition that Israeli as well as Palestinian children are the continuing victims of the conflict.
The exhibit contains images of extreme violence that demonize and dehumanize an entire ethnic and religious population. A biased, one-sided perspective filled with depictions of violence has no place in a community-based museum dedicated to serving very young children, including three-, four- and five-year- olds.
The museum's leadership recognized the negative effect that this exhibit — ripe with violent imagery often focused on Jewish and Israeli symbols such as the Jewish Star — would have on young children, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, and that the exhibit would have created a very divisive and potentially unsafe atmosphere for Jewish children.
The political organization that created this exhibit also planned to arrange for a cartoonist, Khalil Bendib, to work with children visitors to the exhibit. This cartoonist's work is known to contain extremely offensive and anti-Semitic imagery. http://bendibexposed.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/12