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Mahmoud Abbas on a poster in Bethlehem
photo by Rhonda Spivak


by Rhonda Spivak, June 6, 2013

I think that  members of the Winnipeg Jewish community will be interested in following this new story out of Ramallah, which is that Palestinians are building a museum near Bir Zeit university  to tell their story.
I  say this because at some point the CMHR is going to put on an exhibit or exhibits (temporary) relating to the  Israeli-Palestinian  conflict, and chances are that we will be able to get a pretty good idea of the types of things that Palestinians will want to have appear in the CMHR about their lives by looking at the types of exhibits they intend to display in their museum.
In an article about the Palestinian Museum  done by the Media Line, the following is a description given as to the  nature of the exhibits:
"The exhibits will include some of the Palestinian nationalistic symbols such as keys that symbolize homes that Israel destroyed or from which Arab families fled. Keys and title deeds are meant to refer to the displacement of people and the right of return claimed by Palestinians. Visual and written material, including photos and other forms of art, will offer a variety of Palestinian stories the curators say will be relevant to Palestinians all over the world."
 Note that the above description refers to the" right of return  claimed by Palestinians" and ' the keys to homes that Israel destroyed." This means that what will be at issue in the Palestinian Museum is the birth of the very existence of the State of Israel. When Palestinians say the "right of return" they are claiming the right to return en masse to  pre-67 Israel , and not about returning to a future Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza  as part of a two state solution.
In the article written by Media Line, the Director and head curator of the Palestinian Museum  Jack Perekain explained that the “contemporary side” he speaks of "will be strong on politics, asserting that Palestinian daily life that includes barriers, checkpoints", and I think one can assume that Palestinians in Canada will want this type of exhibit in the  CMHR  when it deals with their conflict.

The Museum is slated to open at the end of 2014, and will start with the  Palestinian "Nakba" which is in 1948 when Israel is born.

In a  you tube video of  Persekian,  Persekian refers to the Palestinian Museum showing  a story of a person through an ordinary object that they have kept  with them over a long period of time. He then refers to  the classic image of a Palestinian with a key to his home that he had to leave as a result of the Nakba in 1948.

What's important here is to note that the  focus is on the 1948 war, and the Palestinian right of return.

Persekian told  AP that he hoped the museum would tell stories not just of Palestinian Muslims and Christians, but also of Jews who lived in what was Britain-administered Palestine before Israel was founded in 1948.

The Associated Press reported that the Palestinian Museum "draws attention to the conflicting narratives at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

"For Jews, the establishment of Israel reinforced the homecoming of an exiled people with ties to the Holy Land going back thousands of years. Palestinians refer to the establishment of Israel, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who either fled or were driven from their homes, as their “nakba,” or catastrophe."

Persekian is a curator and producer who lives in Jerusalem and in Sharjah, U.A.E. He is the founding director of Anadiel Gallery, the Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem, and XEIN Productions. Exhibitions he has curated include the Official Palestinian Representation to the São Paulo Bienal (1998), In weiter ferne, so nah, neue palastinensische kunst at Ifa Galleries in Bonn, Stuttgart, and Berlin (2002), Disorientation: Contemporary Arab Artists from the Middle East at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2003), Reconsidering Palestinian Art in Cuenca, Spain (2006), The Jerusalem Show in Jerusalem (2007 and 2009), and DisOrientation II: The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities, at Abu Dhabi Art (2009). He was chief curator of the 7th Sharjah Biennial (2005) and artistic director of the 8th and 9th Sharjah Biennials (2007 and 2009). He has also directed and produced the Millennium Celebrations in Bethlehem, in 2000 and the Palestinian Cultural Evening at the World Economic Forum in the Dead Sea, Jordan (2004).          








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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.