Death by Art Failure
Death by Art Failure

Imagine you are walking in the hallways of your college and notice an exhibit commemorating Osama Bin-Laden, Jihadi John and Adolf Hitler featured prominently on the wall.

Next imagine observing fellow classmates rushing to remove the exhibit, but witnessing how they are confronted by other students insisting that the exhibit is a work of art and should not be removed.

Perhaps the exhibit is meant to be ironic? A tasteless joke? No. The students defending the exhibit explain that they created it in order to pay their respect to three "innocent lives" that were taken. Nothing ironic. Nothing humorous. They actually want to mourn for them and cause other people to do the same.   

Now imagine that this is not a thought experiment, but the reality in Israel in 2018.

Following the May 14th riots on the Gaza border, when Hamas attempted to infiltrate into Israel and murder innocent Israeli civilians, students at the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem displayed, in the school's hallways, 60 black plaques bearing the names of the 60 terrorists who were killed.

Despite what anti-Zionists would have you believe, that these people were innocent protestors demonstrating against the US Embassy move to Jerusalem, the truth is that these were terrorists looking to murder Jews. Hamas even admitted that 50 of them were its operatives, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said three of their operatives were killed as well.

I've studied cultural and media studies and understand that throughout human history there have been numerous approaches to art and there are many ways to define, decode and interpret it.

Other than glorifying terrorists, this exhibit had no artistic value whatsoever.
But does that mean that glorifying terrorists should be considered art rather than a simple provocation?

Some might argue that art should not be confined or restricted, and that free speech needs to be taken into account. However, other than glorifying terrorists, this exhibit had no artistic value whatsoever.

Mourning the deaths of terrorists who aspire to murder Jews is tantamount to endorsing their goals. It is not art, but a provocation that should've been removed immediately by the university administration (it wasn’t).

Less than a week later a Swastika appeared spray-painted on the wall of Bezalal Academy. While this might be shocking, it is not surprising. An institution that allows students to hang exhibits in support of terrorists emboldens students to engage in other more extreme activities.

This is a clear manifestation of the university's lack of action. One week it's glorifying terrorists, the next it tolerates hate-driven vandalism. If the university does not decide to act to quell this unruly behavior on the part of its students, who knows how far it will go next week?

The author is a cultural and political analyst