Brandeis students protest removal of Palestinian art

From the American Library Association, May 5:

Brandeis Students Protest Removal of Palestinian Art
Some 100 people, many of them students at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, marched May 4 to protest the removal a week earlier of “Voices from Palestine: Aida Refugee Camp Children Speak Out”—an artwork exhibit that had been on display at the campus’s Farber Library. Drawn by Palestinian youths, the paintings depict such images as a bulldozer threatening a girl lying in a pool of blood, a boy with an amputated leg, and a dove perched on barbed wire.

Campus officials removed the art April 30, four days after it debuted, in response to complaints that the images are one-sided. Sophomore Dmitry B. Vilner, explained in the May 3 Boston Globe that he opposed the exhibit for being in stark contrast to the university’s reputation as a “traditionally Jewish, pro-Israel campus.” “This is outrageous,” countered Lior Halperin, the Brandeis student who organized the exhibit as the final project for the Brandeis course “The Arts of Building Peace.” She went on to assert that art by “12-year-olds from a Palestinian refugee camp [is] not going to be about flowers and balloons.”

At the May 4 protest, people marched outside the library while holding the banished images, after which members of the Arab Students League and Muslim Students Organization helped move the artwork to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, where the exhibit is scheduled to appear through May 11. Gilda Silverman, who facilitated MIT’s last-minute hosting of the display, expressed hope in the May 5 Waltham Daily News Tribune that Brandeis officials would learn from the incident “that it’s good for Palestinians and Jews to be engaged in open dialogue.”

See our last post on the Brandeis censorship scandal and Israel/Palestine.