Ottawa Won't Shut Down Palestinian Art Show in Canada Capital City Hall

'Invisible' Focuses on Occupation — Jews Blast Incitement

courtesy of Rehab Nazzal

By JTA

Published May 27, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The City of Ottawa will not close an art exhibit denounced as a glorification of terror by Israel’s embassy and the local Jewish community.

“Invisible,” the creation of Toronto-based Palestinian artist Rehab Nazzal, focuses on “Palestine … and its military occupation by Israel,” according to a gallery brochure. The exhibit, which is scheduled to end June 22, has been on display at a gallery inside Ottawa City Hall since May 9.

Israel’s embassy in the Canadian capital said the exhibit “reflects a culture of hate and incitement that contradicts the values of Canada as a guardian of peace and champion against terror.”

Rafael Barak, Israel’s ambassador to Canada, met last week with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to discuss “the problematic nature of the exhibit, especially because it does not portray ‘artists, activists, writers and leaders,’ as is presented in the pamphlet, but known terrorists,” said a statement from the embassy a day after the meeting.

The statement added that the artist is a relative of Khalil Nazzal, who masterminded the Maalot school massacre in Israel that took place 40 years ago this month that killed 22 children and three adults.

While Barak was “pleased” to learn through his meeting with the mayor that the exhibit “does not reflect his values or the City of Ottawa,” he said the artworks “provide Canadians with a window into what lies at the root of terrorism and the obstacles in Israel’s quest for peace: the Palestinian glorification of terror, the incitement of violence and the refusal to accept the State of Israel.”

The embassy provided background information on seven Palestinian suicide bombers, hijackers and terrorism operatives presented in the exhibit as artists, writers and “leaders.”

The Jewish Federation of Ottawa and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called on the mayor to remove the “inappropriate” exhibit, which is “hurtful to the Jewish community and offensive to any peace-loving person, including non-Jewish Canadian victims of terror,” the federation said in a statement last week.

But the city advised the federation that it was unable to remove the exhibit, “citing deficiencies in its own selection process,” said Jewish Federation of Ottawa president and CEO Andrea Freedman.

In a statement to JTA, Steve Kanellakos, Ottawa’s deputy city manager, said, “To exhibit a work of art is not to endorse the work or the vision, ideas, and opinions of the artist. It is to uphold the right of all to experience diverse visions and views.”

Kanellakos added that “the artist’s works and the artist herself benefit from [Canada’s] protection of freedom of expression.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • For 22 years, Seeds of Peace has fostered dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian teens in an idyllic camp. But with Israel at war in Gaza, this summer was different. http://jd.fo/p57AB
  • J.J. Goldberg doesn't usually respond to his critics. But this time, he just had to make an exception.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.