By Jill Cartwright
The Machsom Watch exhibition that I posted about on this site a few weeks ago has been banned by the Beâ€™er Sheva municipality because of its â€œharmful content.â€ On One Jerusalem the exhibition, which showed photographs taken by the women of the human rights group that monitors soldiersâ€™ 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 Beâ€™er Sheva, found the contents to be so explosive that he banned the exhibition in his city for fear it might â€œoffend the sensitivities of the cityâ€™s population.â€
What’s more, when Machsom Watch went to the High Court to appeal the ban, the court upheld Turnerâ€™s decision ruling he was acting within his authority as mayor.
And while weâ€™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.