Earlier yesterday morning, Donald Trump tweeted that he would like to outlaw the burning of the American flag. We wrote an article about the tweet that detailed the long and unsuccessful history of American flag burning legislation as well as the Israeli flag desecration laws and their recent ramp up in severity (among other changes, the penalty for desecrating the flag has jumped from a one year maximum to a three year maximum).
Here is a quick overview of three recent, and ridiculous, flag desecration cases out of Israel – spoiler: they’re not for the squeamish:
Natali Cohen Vaxberg
Natali Cohen Vaxberg’s case is perhaps the most notorious on this list. In 2014, the activist, actress, and artist posted a video of herself online entitled “Shit Instead of Blood;” warning, the video (linked here) is extremely graphic. In the video, Cohen Vaxberg films herself defecating on both the Israeli flag and various other national flags from around the world, all set to the music of composer Frederic Chopin.
Since posting the video, Cohen Vaxberg has been arrested numerous times stemming from civilian complaints about her work from around the country. While no charges were filed in 2014, it was reported earlier this year that she will be charged with five counts of desecrating the flag.
Israeli Professor and provocateur Amir Hetsroni is known throughout Israel for his inflammatory remarks and uncompromisingly blunt politics. Among other things, he has said that voting for the Right “is a sign of mental retardation,” insulted Jews of Mizrahi and Sephardic heritage, and been accused of insulting female sexual assault victims.
In response to the announcement of charges against Cohen Vaxberg in January, Hetsroni released the following statement on his Facebook page:
“Politically, Natali and I see Israel identically – a state destined for scrapping and immediate dismantling. Nevertheless, there are differences, because Natali is an artist while I am a scientist. Therefore, Natali wastes high-quality cloth on useless installations, while I use the Israeli flag as a rag for washing the floor. Even Corinna, the faithful Filipina cleaning woman, knows that in casa professor the floor is washed only with a blue and white flag.”
The statement was accompanied by a picture of a mop handle with an Israeli flag tied to the bottom. The Israeli police have said that they will look into the post, but so far no arrest has been made.
During a cultural conference sponsored by Israeli newspaper Haaretz back in March 2016, artist Ariel Bronz took the stage for a performance dressed in high heels and a short pink skirt and proceeded to pelt the audience with oranges. When the audience began booing and throwing the oranges back at Bronz, the event organizers requested that he leave the stage. Instead of exiting quietly, Bronz turned his back to the audience and stuck a flag on a stick into his backside, at which point ushers escorted him off the stage, flag still inserted. It is unclear whether the flag that Bronz used was an Israeli flag or something else, but, as of March, Israeli police were investigating the incident. Minister of Culture and Sport of Israel Miri Regev, who attended the event, has stated that she would explore options to prosecute Bronz if the flag was indeed an Israeli one.