Yesterday, Melbourne’s The Age ran a front page story on a work by two artists in a Flinders St gallery window. The work is a giant Israeli flag, with the text:
“Since the creation of Israel in 1948, 200,000 Palestinians have been killed, 5,000,000 refugees have been created, 21,000 square kilometres of land has been annexed, 385 towns and villages have been destroyed, 200,000 settlements have been built, 300 billion military dollars have been spent, 100+ WMD have been manufactured, 65 UN resolutions have been ignored.”
Naturally, Jewish groups in the city were righteously outraged, just like when Swedish artist Gunilla Skoeld Feiler and Israeli born Dror Feiler caused a fit of apoplexy in the Isreali ambassador at the sight of Snow White and the Madness of Truth.
So today, amid much blustering by State Opposition Robert Doyle, Mayor John So and various Jewish groups that emerge from time to time to denounce anything that slightly criticises their country as anti-semetic, the work was removed. Victoria’s Premier thinks the Mebourne City Council which funded the work has now had an opportunity to “re-examine its policy on what is and what is not art”.
Various civil-liberties groups and Palestinian Delegations have called the censorship “outrageous”, and accused politician of being bullied by small-minded extremist lobby groups.
Amidst all of this though, not one person has called into question the validity of the statistics that caused such an hysterical reaction.