ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | For the Love of Self-Hatred 18.1.04

For the Love of Self-Hatred

18 January 2004

By Yisrael Ne'eman

Upon hearing the news this morning, the artist and sculptor Alfred Nossig came to mind, as did an antisemitic poem from the late 1960s.

Yesterday in Stockholm, an artistic presentation by ex-patriot Israeli artist and musician, Dror Feiler, was damaged by Zvi Mazel, the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden. Freiler’s artwork compared Hanadi Jaradat, the female suicide-homicide bomber who killed 22 Israelis at Haifa’s Maxim Restaurant in October, to Snow White. Mazel was enraged, turned off the lights and knocked one of the lamps into the water surrounding the exhibit. He is in for a reprimand by the Swedish foreign ministry.

Freiler considers Mazel a vandal, and adds that his work was misunderstood. He claims he is really against such bombings and has tried to explain that he does not consider Jaradat to be Snow White. As part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace organization which vehemently opposes Israeli policies in the Palestinian areas, he thought he was expressing best his opposition to violence. He also claims he is a Zionist and has the right to freedom of speech and artistic expression.

So who is Alfred Nossig? During the worst days of World War II during the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto he was forced by the Nazis to serve on the Jewish Council or Judenrat. There is no doubt Nossig was a Zionist and that he had little choice if he really faced Nazi demands. According to the Jewish underground in Warsaw, he initiated active collaboration with the Germans and in the end was executed by Antek Zuckerman, the number two man after Mordechai Anielewicz. Zuckerman survived the War and moved to Israel while Anielewicz died in the Mila 18 bunker. (One can read about this episode in Zuckerman’s memoirs, A Surplus of Memory).

The poem was read over Radio WBAI in New York City during the 1968 teachers’ strike when ethnic tensions soared between Jews and Blacks. It was considered artistic and quite creative, especially since it came from a 15 year-old Black student and was read by his activist teacher, Leslie Campbell. The recital is: “Hey, Jew-boy with that yarmulke on your head/ you pale face Jew-boy, I wish you were dead./ I see you Jew boy/ now you can’t hide/ I got a scope on you/ yeah, Jew-boy, you gonna die.”

One has the right to criticize Israeli government policy or Jewish community policies. The is no right to demand nor laud massive death for Jews (or anyone else). Feiler claims he meant no harm and demands his freedoms. Nossig apparently knew what he was doing (according to Zuckerman), while Campbell presented the poem as freedom of speech and was backed by WBAI, including certain Jews.

Feiler is a self-hating Israeli Jew who found the ultra-Left Swedish artistic climate the correct atmosphere for his expression. His denial of intent are impossible to believe. Super liberal Swedish commentators consider Mazel’s behavior reprehensible and stand with Feiler as does apparently the Swedish government.

The Swedes always deny antisemitism since they saved Norwegian and Danish Jewry during WWII. On the other hand they hate to be reminded of their massive iron ore sales to Germany well into the mid-1940s, allowing the Nazis to produce steel, extend the war for years and kill millions more.

Feiler and the Swedes are duplicitous and dishonest; they have crossed all the red lines. The supposed “artwork” and “freedom of expression” are nothing more than support for the Palestinians and their atrocities. Would an exhibit singing the praises of Baruch Goldstein’s massacre at the Machpelah Cave (March 1994) be displayed as a legitimate “freedom of expression”? Let’s hope not.

The artwork, Swedish policies and the Fieler himself are all to be condemned as condoning and encouraging violence under the veneer of democratic freedoms.