a different side of Israel

Hang on, doesn’t democracy mean freedom of expression?

Paradise Now

By Jill Cartwright

The Machsom Watch exhibition that I posted about on this site a few weeks ago has been banned by the Be’er Sheva municipality because of its “harmful content.” On One Jerusalem the exhibition, which showed photographs taken by the women of the human rights group that monitors soldiers’ behavior at the checkpoints, was described as being neither extensive, nor hard-hitting.

In fact I found it to be a rather insipid display of cliched images – soldiers looming over babies, old people and walls. However, Yaakov Turner, the mayor of Be’er Sheva, found the contents to be so explosive that he banned the exhibition in his city for fear it might “offend the sensitivities of the city’s population.”

What’s more, when Machsom Watch went to the High Court to appeal the ban, the court upheld Turner’s decision ruling he was acting within his authority as mayor.
Machsom Watch
And while we’re on the subject of wild censorship, the town of Acre has cancelled a showing of Hany Abu Asad’s Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated movie Paradise Now, about two Palestinian would-be suicide bombers and the dilemmas they face before going to execute their mission in Tel Aviv. The movie is excellent, by the way, and I highly recommend you go and see it.

However, it seems some right-wing Jewish extremists from Acre disagree with me. They threatened to demonstrate outside the hall where the movie was due to be shown and, it seems, exerted such pressure on the town leaders that the screening of the movie was cancelled.

The Acre municipality said it had not given into pressure but had decided not to show the movie so as not to disturb the delicate balance of coexistence in Acre, which has a mixed population of Jews and Arabs. No excuse, if you ask me. Go and see the film if you can. It’s screened nightly at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.


  1. Hi Jill, about the ‘Machsom watch” exhibition in Be’er Sheva – My understanding was that the issue was that it was to be held at “Beit Yad Le’banim” which is similar to a war memorial where the fallen of the town are commemorated. I think the source of the sensitivity was parents of the fallen (some of which died in recent years in the territories) who felt uncomfortable with having that exhibition davka there.

    “Paradise Now” – I thought it was very well made – very confronting but what made me feel uncomfortable was the sense I got of it being manipulative and deceptive. I know Lisa saw it as a call for peace but I’m not convinced and I say this as a partner to the “Meretz or Peretz dilemma”. Maybe this is because I watched the film overseas.

    Love your ‘not Jewish’ posts by the way keep them up
    Chag Shameach

  2. please take your confused ideas about freedom & democracy with you when you go back home to your mum!!

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