Drawings from children provide an insight into that child’s perspective of life and their worldview. When I worked with children a few years ago, they loved to draw pictures for me, and I always enjoyed them because it provided a look into their lives. Likewise, I enjoy my nieces and nephews drawing because it shows me what they are interested in and what they think I will like.
Children in Gaza, suffering from an Israeli occupation that has them living in poor conditions in what is essentially a large prison, certainly would have an interesting worldview that I believe the rest of the world should see. An Oakland art gallery planned an exhibit called “A Child’s View of Gaza” that would show visitors children’s drawings of Gaza. Unfortunately, pro-Israeli groups pressured the museum to cancel the exhibit, and the museum complied. The Jewish Federation of the Bay Area boasted that this was “great news” due to “Jewish community organizing.” It then applauded those who made sure this “extreme anti-Israel propaganda was stopped.” This isn’t some inflammatory rhetoric by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denouncing the existence of Israel (which is only to compensate for his Jewish roots); these are merely children’s drawings, which would prove valuable insight into Palestinian children’s perception of their environment. Certainly some of the pictures would not be flattering towards Israel, but to say it is “extreme anti-Israel propaganda” is clearly an overstatement. Americans — and the world — should be aware of the circumstances in Palestine, and censoring children’s art to protect Israel’s interests is sickening. Again, this proves that the U.S.’s relations with Israel override an open democracy and freedom of speech. Negative images of Palestinians is widely disseminated in the media, but they have no political power in the U.S. to control them. Israeli lobbies are strong enough to not only influence the U.S.’s political relationship with Israel, but also strong enough to censor Palestinian culture and art. This is very disturbing news, and hopefully some art gallery stands up to the pro-Israeli groups that want to hide Palestinian children’s drawings, and therefore their voices.
Were not Americans outraged over Muslims protesting over an image of Muhammad drawn as a terrorist? So anti-Muslim drawings are okay, but children’s drawings that criticize Israel’s control of Gaza are not?