Public Comment

New: Sign National Letter to Protest Closing of Gaza Children's Art Exhibition in Oakland

Forwarded by Lorie Brillinger
Wednesday September 14, 2011 - 08:43:00 PM

Dear Friend,

You may be aware of a controversy related to the recent decision of the Museum of Children's Art (Oakland, CA) to cancel an exhibition of art by children in Gaza. (Relevant links are are pasted at the end of this message.) The open letter to MOCHA that follows is being circulated for signatures by the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine. We are inviting signers to provide name and city to demonstrate that the museum’s action has drawn condemnation across the US and internationally. Feel free to forward this letter to others.  

Replies will be accepted through Tuesday, September 13 at midnight CST. The letter will be sent by FedEx as hardcopy to the two MOCHA recipients and issued electronically through available channels on Wednesday, September 14.

To be added as a signatory, send a message to

Hilmon Sorey, Board President
Masako Kalbach, Interim Executive Director

We are writing to request an explanation of MOCHA's decision to cancel the forthcoming exhibition, "A Child's View of Gaza."

We commend you for having seen--at least initially--the importance, relevance, and immediacy of such an exhibition. The show's concept is brilliant: art as a window into the minds of children and, simultaneously, a geopolitical issue. The exhibition, which would have displayed children's varied artistic responses to life experience--some of it traumatic--was sure to inspire the viewer that museum art is a vibrant, living form of expression. Art like this touches our lives and underscores our common humanity within the global family of man.

Why, then, the cancellation?

We would hope that MOCHA's decision is not designed to avoid either controversy or controversial art. Surely, there are well-funded institutions whose purpose is to promote a positive view of Israel. Those same parties, unfortunately, see the marginalizing and demonization of Palestinians as an essential corollary to their advocacy for Israel. They work to silence voices that raise essential, appropriate questions about the human impact of Israeli policy. The individuals who fund and direct these institutions possess, in many cases, a worldview based on limited contact with actual Palestinian individuals or the lives they lead: subjects of military occupation, minority members of a nation in which they are relegated to perennial outsider status, exiles who have been dispossessed so that another people might find a place.

Evidently, some of these narrow-minded individuals with influence and access to decision-makers find it threatening that a direct, uncensored Palestinian perspective might be given a temporary space in American cultural life. Is MOCHA's decision to cancel the exhibit a capitulation to the demands of such persons--individuals whose ignorance, prejudice, and empathy deficit have taken the form of a narrow, intolerant political agenda? Are we to be denied access to the art of all children living with political violence--or are only Palestinian children to be denied a place?

We Americans do not suffer from an overexposure to Palestinian perspectives; on the contrary, our limited exposure is a critical factor in perpetuating dangerous and damaging misapprehensions. Those working most assiduously to eliminate expressions of the rich and complex Palestinian experience are the very people who would benefit most from encountering it in an honest, uncensored form. The best remedy for ignorance, prejudice, and lack of empathy is exposure to life through the eyes of another. That was to be the profoundly hopeful, transformative possibility of "A Child's View of Gaza."

We request an explanation of MOCHA's cancellation of the exhibition, an action that, to us, reflects a serious error in judgment.


Avigail Abarbanel, Inverness, Ireland
Tarif Abboushi, Houston, TX
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, Berkeley, CA
Paula Abrams-Hourani, Vienna, Austria
Sheriff Abuzahra, Cambridge, MA
Dina Afek, Tucson, AZ
Paul Afek
Sherri Agganis, Atlanta, GA
Andrea Urqueta Alfaro, Berkeley, CA
Mary AlKhaja, Lompoc, California
Barbara Anderson
Alan Arnold, Albuquerque, NM
Dr. Nancy Arvold, Redwood City, CA
Sue Azizi, Chandler, AZ
Aruna Aiyana Baker, Edinburgh, Scotland
Daphne Banai, Tel Aviv, Israel
Donna Baranski-Walker, San Mateo, CA
Marta Barbosa, Los Angeles, CA
Carolyn Barrani
Gerard Barron, New Ross, Wexford, Ireland
Duncan Baruch, Portland, OR
Steven Bell
Anna Berg, New York, NY
Allen Bergson, New York, NY
Deirdre Bergson, New York, NY
Robin Berson, New York, NY
Shari Bierly, Mount Vernon, NY
Jennifer Bing, Oak Park, IL
Scott Bird
Elliott Blass, Amherst, MA
Beverlee Bolton, Alexandria, VA
Peter Bolton, Alexandria, VA
Lynette Bondarchuk, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Sallye Steiner Bowyer
Andy Brady, Angelica, NY
Julia Bridges, Kankakee, IL
Bonnie Britt, Berkeley, CA
Marilyn Brunger, Claremont, CA
Rob Buchanan, New York, NY
Rev. Rosemarie Carnarius, Tucson, AZ
Sr. Elizabeth Carpentier, OSU, Alton, IL
Susan Chandler, Ann Arbor, MI
Mohamed Chettouh, Houston, TX
Karen Clarke, Charleston, SC
Seán Clinton, Limerick, Ireland
Jim Clune, Binghamton, NY
Basil Clunie, Evanston, IL
Rev. Ernest W. Cockrell, Saratoga, CA
Joan Cocks, Hatfield, MA
Pauline Coffman, Oak Park, IL
Chuck Connell
Jean Converse, Ann Arbor, MI
Peter Converse, Marion, MA
Geoffrey Cook, Berkeley, CA
Caroline Cracraft, Chicago, IL
Gretchen Craig, Brooklyn, NY
Ana Cleja
Dr. Edwin E. Daniel, Victoria, BC, Canada
Virginia Daniel, Vero Beach, FL
Dr. Raymond Deane, Dublin, Ireland
Richard DiMatteo, San Diego, CA
Diane Donato, Columbus, OH
Barry Dryden, San Jose, CA
Anna Durrans, New York, NY
Carole Edelsky, Tucson, AZ
Amanda Eicher, San Francisco, CA
Bea Eichten, Little Falls, MN
Mahjoub ElGhorfi, Northampton, MA
Fatima Elkabti, Berkeley, CA
Marvin Engel, Dedham, MA
Jean Entine, Boston, MA
Hedy Epstein, St. Louis, MO
Barbara Erickson, Berkeley, CA
Riadh Fakhoury
Marek Falk, Seattle, WA
John Farbarik, Silverdale, WA
Kathy Felgran, Watertown, MA
Moira Ferguson, London, UK
Sylvia Finzi
Rebecca Foote, London, UK
Noushin Darya Framke, New York, NY
Racheli Gai, Tucson, AZ
Bernadette Garcia, Albuquerque, NM
Ellen Garvey, Brooklyn, NY
Samuel Goldman, Bronx, NY
Julius Gordon, Tucson, AZ
Arifa Beryl Goodman, San Cristobal, NM
Tarez Samra Graban, Bloomington, IN
Barbara Gravesen, Lady Lake, FL
Brayton Gray, Chicago, IL
Dr. Sarah Gundle, New York, NY
Stanley Habib, Montague, MA
Sue Halligan, Woodbury, MN
Gloria J. Harb, Ann Arbor, MI
Vince J. Hardt, Warrenville, IL
Amy Harlib, New York, NY
Wendy Hartley, Nevada County, CA
Alan Harwood, Cambridge, MA
Iman Heijstek, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Joanne Heisel, Howard County, MD
Peter Henry, Edmonds, WA
Roger Higginson, London, UK
Nadia Hijab, Washington, DC
Norbert Hirschhorn, MD, London, England
Tikva Honig-Paenass, Jerusalem, Israel
Ethel Hopkins, Cupertino, CA
Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, Gainesville, FL
Alma Abdul Hadi Jadallah, Fairfax, VA
Peter Haidu, Brooklyn, NY
Mary Heffron, Traverse City, MI
Cynthia Hoffman, Fremont, CA
Sally Howland, Lisle, IL
Robert Jacobson, Brooklyn, NY
Todd Jailer, Berkeley, CA
Selma James
Susan Janelle, Walla Walla, WA
Nancy Kanwisher, Cambridge, MA
Elizabeth Karan, Oakland, CA
Lilyan Kay, Seattle, WA
Afifee Kayaleh
David Kaylor, Black Mountain, NC
Ben Kenagy, Albany, OR
Dave Kinane, Dublin, Ireland
Alice Diane Kisch, Emeryville, CA
Ellen Khalifa, Oakland, CA
Alisa Klein, Leeds, MA
James Koss, MD, Alameda, CA
Steve Kowit, San Diego, CA
Michèle Krauthamer
Margaret Leicester, Albuquerque, NM
Michael Levin, Berwyn, IL
Rebekah Levin, Oak Park, IL
Joseph Levine, Leverett, MA
Caren Levy Van Slyke, Oak Park, IL
Laura Liben, New York, NY
Wanda Katja Liebermann, Cambridge, MA
Kathy Lique, Nahant, MA
Jack Litewka, Berkeley, CA
Marilyn Sutton Loos, Haverford, PA
Nancy S. Lovejoy, Wilbraham, MA
Maryam Lowen, New York, NY
Lora A. Lucero, Albuquerque, NM
Marlou MacIver, West Chester, PA
Jo Margolis, PA
Daniel Marlin, Berkeley, CA
Marjorie McCarthy, San Jose, CA
Sharron McCuistion-Lewis, Vista, CA
Alex McDonald
Rev. Loren McGrail, Chicago, IL
Bill McGrath, Northfield, MN
Tammy Mclane, New Port Richey, FL
Shirley M. Meckley, Kerrville, Texas
Sol Metz
Susan Miller, Philadelphia, PA
Susette Min, Oakland, CA
Yehia Y. Mishriki, MD
Elizabeth Moody, Mill Valley, CA
Donald Moore, S.J., Bronx, NY
Sabra Morton, Conway, NH
Liz Mulford
Morton Nadler
Rev. Diane Nancekivell
Donna Nassor, Wyckoff, New Jersey
Joan Nestle
David Neunuebel, Santa Barbara, CA
Judy Neunuebel, Santa Barbara, CA
Donna Nevel, New York, NY
Rael Nidess, MD, Marshall, TX
Gretchen Nielsen, Tucson, AZ
Paula Orloff
Janet L. Owen
Sonja L. Page, Ann Arbor, MI
Léa C. Park, San Francisco, CA
Susan Pelican, Nevada City, CA
Francine Perlman, New York, NY
Karen Platt, Albany, CA
Pat Price-Tomes, London, UK
Moneta S. Prince, Austin, TX
Betts Putnam-Hidalgo, Tucson, AZ
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Bethlehem, Palestine
Michael Rakowitz, Evanston, IL
Rudy Ramp, Arcata, CA
Doris Rausch, Columbia, MD
Anne Remley, Ann Arbor, MI
Martha Reese, River Forest, IL
Mara Rivera, San Francisco, CA
Eugene Robbins, Ashland, OR
Anne Roberts, Washington, DC
William Roberts, Redwood City, CA
Marion Rojas, Oakland, CA
Barbara Rose, Tucson, AZ
Naomi Rosenthal, Berkeley, CA
Lori Helene Rudolph, Las Vegas, NM
Bryan Saario, DDS, MD, Seattle, WA
Grace Said, Chevy Chase, MD
Carol Sanders, Berkeley, CA
Marlena Santoyo, Philadelphia, PA
María Sause, Newport, OR
Daniel Scarlett, Santa Rosa, CA
Mary Scarlett, Santa Rosa, CA
Skip Schiel, Cambridge, MA
Richard Schlobohm, Mill Valley, CA
Ron Schmidt, San Francisco, CA
Susan Schuurman, Albuquerque, NM
Peter Scott, Knox, IN
Evalyn F. Segal, Walnut Creek, CA
Suhail Shafi, Ozark, AL
Cindy Shamban, Berkeley, CA
Robin Share, Los Angeles, CA
Lansing Shepard, Minneapolis, MN
Jeanie Shaterian, Berkeley, CA
Sharon Shohfi, Chapel Hill, NC
Ted Shohfi, Chapel Hill, NC
Phyllis Shulman
Bobbi Siegelbaum, Bronx, NY
Steve Siegelbaum, Bronx, NY
Melinda Smith, Albuquerque, NM
Stephen Soldz, Brookline, MA
Roderick Stackelberg, Spokane, WA
Michael J. Stephen, Elmwood Park, IL
Laura Stokes, Corrales, NM
Nancy E. Stoller, San Francisco, CA
Robert A. Stone, MD, Frisco, CO
Shirley Stone, Frisco, CO
Jerilyn Tabor, New York, NY
William Tamblyn, Medford, NJ
Shoshanna Tenn, Oakland, CA
Trisha Terwilliger, Brattleboro, VT
Will Thomas, Auburn, NH
Melinda Thompson, Silver Spring, MD
Rev. Richard K. Toll, Portland, OR
Joel S. Trupin, Marshfield, VT
Joan Valor, Aptos, CA
Eric Wachspress, Chicago, IL
Nabil Wahbeh
Ellen Schwarz Wasfi, Dover, DE
Phil Weintraub, Oakland, CA
Janet H. Whitcomb, Chicago, IL
Debra J. White, Tempe, AZ
Louis Williams, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
John Williamsom
Iris R. Winogrond, Oakland, CA
Kenneth M. Winston, Sonoma, CA
Noga Wizansky, Oakland, CA
Matt Woolery
Dr. Barry M. Wright, Gilroy, CA
Nicolas Wyatt, Edinburgh, Scotland
Elise Young, Northampton, MA
Carl W. Zaisser
Dorothy M. Zellner, New York, NY
Charlotte Zietlow, Bloomington, IN
Harriet Ziskin, San Francisco, CA
Elizabeth Zoob, Boston, MA
Marilyn Zuckerman, Seattle, WA
Andrew Zweifler, MD, Ann Arbor, MI
Ruth Zweifler, Ann Arbor, MI

1) http://www.mecaforpeace. org/news/media-advisory- oakland-museum-childrens-art- shuts-down-palestinian- children%E2%80%99s-exhibit
2) bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/ 09/10/BA921L2H5J.DTL
3) 2011/09/10/oakland-childrens- museum-cancels-palestinian- childrens-art-exhibit-under- pressure-from-local -jewish-groups/