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At the Jewish Museum, gut-wrenching drawings depict the terror of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel

(New York Jewish Week) — A family of ashen, burned bodies sit around their kitchen table, their expressions frozen in terror — hands pressed against gaping mouths, silently screaming. An elderly couple, hands bound in rope behind their backs, embraces as blood pools around them and flames lick at their feet. A mother grips her son close to her chest as she looks over a pile of dead bodies. 

These horrifying scenes are part of “7 October 2023,” a new exhibit of 12 drawings created by Israeli artist Zoya Cherkassy in response to the Hamas attacks on that day. The colorful but violent and gut-wrenching works, which are now on view at the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side, are inspired in part by Pablo Picasso’s renowned “Guernica,” which he painted to show the world the violence and inhumanity during the Spanish Civil War.   

“Museums exist to be custodians of world cultural heritage, and this kind of savagery and barbarism is the antithesis of that,” James Snyder, who took over as the new director of the Jewish Museum last month, told the New York Jewish Week. “We need to speak out against them and we need to do what we can to educate and engage.” 

An Israeli mother holds her son and looks at a mass of bodies in “Massacre of the Innocents.” (Drawing by Zoya Cherkassy)

When Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and kidnapping around 240, Snyder said he immediately began thinking about the unique responsibility that the Jewish Museum — and museums around the world — had to meet the moment. 

“I started thinking about how after World War I, Dadaism and surrealism were new vocabularies that got created coming out of the chaos of that moment,” Snyder said. “We thought we could create a similar opportunity to show installations of work by artists at this moment.”

It’s cultural activism; it’s art activism,” he explained. “It’s not about the complex politics of what’s going on. It’s about artists producing work in response to trauma and tragedy happening in the world.”

Cherkassy’s exhibit at the Jewish Museum, which will run until Feb. 19, is the first time her Oct. 7 drawings are being displayed in public. Two months is an atypically fast turnaround time for museums, Snyder said, but the material was too important to wait. 

Immediately after the terrorist attack, Snyder said that he and the museum’s curators began to develop an ongoing series to address the attack and the subsequent war, and to provide “a forum for dialogue and reflection on the role of art and culture during these complex times,” according to a press release. In addition to art exhibitions, the museum is preparing public programs, a speaker series and opportunities for staff to engage more deeply with the cultural ramifications of the conflict. 

Cherkassy, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, began drawing the scenes that became “7 October 2023” just a few days after the Hamas attacks in Israel. She had temporarily fled to a friend’s apartment in Berlin with her young daughter, bringing along the art supplies she knew she would need to process the tragedy.

“When we got ready to leave home, I packed some drawing and art supplies because I knew something was going to come. In a moment like this, you cannot think about anything else, so I knew I would be making art about it,” Cherkassky, who was unavailable for an interview with the New York Jewish Week, told the Times of Israel in October.“I grabbed pencils, wax crayons, watercolors — whatever. My whole [Tel Aviv] studio can’t fit in one bag, but it’s enough for me to do what I want.”

The 11 x 17 drawings in “7 October 2023” are displayed in an all-black room. (Courtesy of The Jewish Museum)

The series is one of the first to be displayed under the helm of Snyder, who began his tenure in early November after four years as the executive chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation and, before that, 22 years as the director of The Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Snyder first worked with Cherkassy in 2018, when The Israel Museum exhibited her work “Pravda” (“Truth”), which depicted her experience as an immigrant to Israel from the Soviet Union. And this isn’t her first time making wartime art: A native of Kyiv, she has also been painting and drawing art in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for nearly two years. In her series “Before and After” Cherkassy juxtaposes art she made about her childhood in Ukraine with present-day scenes of the war-town country. 

At the Jewish Museum, Cherkassy’s Oct. 7 artwork is like “bereshit,” said Snyder, using the Hebrew word for the first book of the Torah, meaning “creation” or “genesis.” “It’s the day everything started,” he said.

Museums are places of repose and reflection,” Snyder said. “We felt that as a place of education and engagement, we needed to shape an action plan that would offer opportunities to educate our staff, to engage with our audience and with the public, and to provide opportunities for artists to show work responding to the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East.”

The first guest in the Jewish Museum’s speaker series will be Israeli author Ruby Namdar, who will be in conversation with Snyder about the cultural ramifications of the Israel-Hamas war in the diaspora on Feb 5. Talks with Cherkassy and Israeli artist Michal Rovner are forthcoming this spring. 


The post At the Jewish Museum, gut-wrenching drawings depict the terror of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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French Government Will Hold Commemoration for Victims of Hamas Pogrom Amid Disquiet Over Far Left Party’s Participation

Posters in Paris broadcasting the plight of Israeli hostages in Gaza covered over with pro-Palestinian messages. Photo: Reuters/Magali Cohen

French President Emmanuel Macron will preside over a special ceremony on Wednesday to commemorate the French victims of the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas pogrom in Israel as a row over the potential presence of far left parliamentarians continues to fester.

A statement from the Elysée Palace on Monday confirmed Macron’s presence at Wednesday’s event, which will take place at Les Invalides in Paris, where the French National Assembly and other leading national institutions are based.

A spokeswoman for Macron’s office pointed out that 42 French citizens were among the more than 1,200 people murdered during the Hamas assault, with a further three still being held hostage in Gaza.

Answering a question from a reporter about whether a similar event would be held for French citizens killed during the IDF bombing of Gaza that followed the assault, she added that a separate memorial ceremony would be held at a date yet to be determined. “It is obvious that we owe the same emotion and the same dignity to the French victims of the bombings in Gaza, and this tribute will be paid to them at another time,” she said. It is not clear how many French passport holders have actually been killed since the French government announced the deaths of two Palestinian children who were French citizens on Oct. 31.

Wednesday’s ceremony will unfold “under the universal sign of the fight against anti-Semitism and through it, all forms of hatred, racism and oppression against minorities,” the official statement from the presidency declared. Each of the murdered victims will be commemorated through the display of a photograph with their name attached. Families of the victims will be present, many of them being flown in from Israel on a special flight chartered by the French government.

The event is already mired in controversy due the announcement of parliamentarians from the far left La France Insoumise  (LFI -“France Rising”) that they plan to attend. LFI has been vocal in its support of Palestinians in Gaza, frequently drawing accusations of antisemitism because of its harsh rhetoric. Earlier this month, the daughter of two LFI MPs was arrested for allegedly antisemitic social media posts in the weeks following the Hamas attack, while another LFI MP faced condemnation over a posting on social media that invoked a popular Japanese manga meme appropriated by antisemites.

In a letter to Macron, members of five of the victims families demanded a ban on the participation of LFI MPs.

“We, families of victims of Hamas terrorists, solemnly demand that any presence of LFI at the national tribute that will be paid to the 42 Franco-Israeli victims of 7/10 be prohibited,” the letter stated.

However, that request is unlikely to be granted. Pointing out that parliamentarians are automatically invited to state-organized ceremonies, Macron’s office stated that “It is up to everyone to assess the appropriateness or not of their presence since the families spoke out and expressed strong emotion,” but notably did not accede to the ban request.

Mathilde Panot, the head of the LFI deputies in the National Assembly, said last week that she planned to attend the ceremony.

“I will be present and I have asked that a tribute be paid to all the French victims of this war in the Middle East, including the Franco-Palestinians killed in Gaza by the Israeli army,” she said.

 

 

The post French Government Will Hold Commemoration for Victims of Hamas Pogrom Amid Disquiet Over Far Left Party’s Participation first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Montana Tucker “Bring Them Home” Grammy Tribute for Israeli Hostages Turns Heads

Feb 4, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Montana Tucker at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. Photo: Dan MacMedan / USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

Jewish singer and songwriter Montana Tucker showed her support for Israelis still being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza at Sunday night’s 66th Annual Grammy Awards, an annual ceremony held to honor the record industry’s most critically acclaimed artists.

Posing for photographers, Tucker walked the red carpet clad in a beige, diaphanous corset gown ornamented with a yellow ribbon that said, “Bring Them Home.” She also wore a Star of David necklace.

136 Israeli hostages remain imprisoned by Hamas in Gaza. They have been there since Oct. 7, when the terrorist organization committed a massacre of Jews across the southern region of Israel, the deadliest mass killing of Jews since the Holocaust. Hamas’ fighters brutally murdered and rape hundreds, and according to numerous reports, more are being sexually abused in captivity.

Tucker’s wasn’t the only statement made about the Israel-Hamas war. Ann Lennox, Scottish vocalist of the popular 1980s band Eurythmics — most known for its No. 1 song “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” — called for a ceasefire in Gaza in a speech delivered after she performed a tribute to Sinéad O’Connor.

Raising a “Black Power” fist before a much larger audience than Tucker was accorded, Lennox proclaimed, “Artists for a ceasefire. Peace in the world.”

Lennox was alluding to “Artists4Ceasefire,” a small group of entertainers who issued a letter calling on President Joe Biden to “end the bombing of Gaza” that did not mention that Hamas started the war or condemn rising antisemitism. The letter’s signatories include, among other B-list celebrities, Adam Lambert — who in 2009 won second place in the now-discontinued television series American Idol — Jennifer Lopez, Rosie O’Donnell, and Alyssa Milano.

The Algemeiner honored Montana Tucker in 2022 for being one of 100 people recognized for positively influencing Jewish life. A granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Tucker was dogged all her life by assertions that she does not “look Jewish.” Undeterred by the remarks, she committed to proudly representing the Jewish community, and in 2022 produced “How To: Never Forget,” a ten-part docuseries about her grandparents lives in Poland before the Nazi invasion.

“This has been my responsibility to do this, for me and my grandparents and everyone else,” Tucker said at the time, during an interview. “People are used to seeing my very light-hearted, fun dance videos and me collaborating with a lot of different people…It’s rare for me and my content, and rare for the platform in general, to have a docuseries on the Holocaust.”

Other pro-Israel activists wore apparel to the Grammy awards to show. Orthodox Rabbi-Rapper Moshe Reuven, whose song “You Are Not Alone” has amassed over one million streams on Spotify, sported a “Never Is Now” shirt distributed through partnership between civil rights nonprofit StandWithUs and Perspective Fitwear. The shirt’s designer is Karen Margolis.

Taylor Swift’s 2022 record, titled Midnights, won “Album of the Year,” and rapper Jay-Z implied during a speech for accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award that his wife, multi-platinum artists and most-winning Grammy award winner ever Beyoncé, has never won “Album of the Year” because she is a Black woman. The moment was reminiscent of a 2009 incident in which Kanye West stormed the stage of the MTV Awards to denounce Swift’s winning “Best Video by a Female Artist.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Montana Tucker “Bring Them Home” Grammy Tribute for Israeli Hostages Turns Heads first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israeli Bank Shutter Accounts of Settlers Sanctioned By Biden

A woman uses an automated teller machine (ATM), outside a Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 30, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Nir Elias / File.

The Israeli bank accounts of two of the Israelis sanctioned by the United States government last week were closed on Sunday and Monday. Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich spoke out against the action, saying “I will take action as the finance minister and do what I must. If need be, we’ll advance legislation on the matter.” He further called the instance “unthinkable” that it occurred.

The two Israelis, Yinon Levi and David Chai Chasdai, had their personal and business accounts closed by Bank Leumi and Bank Hadoar, respectively. The other two settlers listed bank with Bank Hapoalim, who also said they would close the accounts, saying “Bank Hapoalim respects the international sanctions and will comply with any legal order.”

The Bank of Israel announced their support for the move, saying “Banking corporations, by necessity of their international activities, are required to establish policies and procedures for the use of international sanctions lists and national sanctions lists of foreign countries and for entering into or carrying out operations with parties declared on such lists. Circumvention of sanctions regimes as mentioned, has the effect of exposing the banking corporations to significant risks, among them, compliance risks, money laundering and terrorist financing risks, legal risks and reputational risks.”

Chasdai, who denies any wrongdoing, said “The fact that a government bank decides in the middle of a bright day to seize the bank accounts of settlers solely because of pressure from extreme leftist organizations and a hostile American government is unimaginable, but the fact that this is happening under the tenure of a right-wing government just after the greatest massacre in the country’s history is a national disgrace first class.”

“We have gone through many oppressors who harmed the people of Israel over the generations, we will also go through the persecution of Biden and his aides,” he added.

US President Joe Biden approved the sanctions last week, saying “The situation in the West Bank – in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction – has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security and stability in the region.”

The post Israeli Bank Shutter Accounts of Settlers Sanctioned By Biden first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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