• Sweden edition
 

Art exhibit pulls drawing after Jewish protests

Published: 17 Mar 2012 13:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Mar 2012 13:42 GMT+01:00

A Swedish educational association behind a Christian art exhibit in Stockholm has withdrawn a drawing after protests from a US-based Jewish group that it was anti-Semitic.

"Bilda has made a mistake, and we want to apologise for this," said Magnus Stenberg, Middle East coordinator at the association, in a statement on Friday.

The drawing by two Swedish pastors depicted three mice, one of which carried a weapon. The mice appear to be standing on a map of the Palestinian territories in a scene which could be interpreted to represent Israelis.

While the image had not yet been published in the exhibition, angry responses had been registered by the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center which argued that it depicted Jews as rats.

"Animalization (depicting humans as animals) of Jews was perfected by the Nazi propaganda machine, an all-too effective way to dehumanize Jewish citizens in the eyes of their German neighbours," the centre wrote in a statement.

Magnus Stenberg however explained that the artists behind the work intended their image to "describe how all sides in a conflict are losers", a conclusion that they came to after visiting with Israeli and Palestinian artists during a trip to the region.

On behalf of Bilda he expressed regret that the drawing had been circulated and explained that the artists had become unhappy over the response via social media channels and had decided to withdraw their work from the exhibition.

"We should have realized how wrong a picture of cheese and mice could lead people’s thoughts, and how, for example, could be exploited in anti-Semitic circles," Stenberg said.

Far-right website Nationell.nu was among those which celebrated the drawing, claiming that it showed that "Swedish artists grasped that Jews were violent pests".

The drawing was due to have featured in connection with Stefan Sjöblom and Larz Lindqvist's art exhibition "The holy land - det håliga landet" (land of holes) at the Immanuel International Church which opened on Friday and runs until April 10th.

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Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:16 March 17, 2012 by Iraniboy
"Animalization (depicting humans as animals) of Jews was perfected by the Nazi propaganda machine, an all-too effective way to dehumanize Jewish citizens in the eyes of their German neighbours,"

And that's exactly what Lars Vilks has done about Muslims!!

I personally think Freedom of speech should be fully respected and those individuals who seek attention by dehumanizing other groups with the name of freedom of speech should be allowed to do so. But on the other hand their intentions should be exposed as well and how in the past these presumably rights of expressing opinion had led to death of millions of innocent men. So people see and judge!
15:20 March 17, 2012 by JoshArnold
i dont see any one bitching the freedom of expression mantra this time .... oh yeah ... freedom of expression only applies when we are to bash a population of 2.1 billion ... hypocrisy at its best
16:10 March 17, 2012 by Migga
If it means we have these kind of cases while living with Freedom of Speech then I`m willing to take it. Freedom of Speech is more important. No matter if it`s about Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddists or Hindu.
16:21 March 17, 2012 by strixy
I normally support Israel but these Jews should just get a life and stop bi*chng about stuff that maybe is not funny but should be allowed in the name of free speech.

Apart from the fact that even Quran says that the Israeli land is to be given to Jews :) And that Palestine is mentioned is Quran 0 (zero) times. :)
17:25 March 17, 2012 by colombianska_tjej
I wonder what did those representatives of jews said about the Mohammed drawings...I bet they found it funny. But beware, don't ever say anything against them, or they will start whining about the holocaust and so...

I think holocaust happen, and I agree that we shouldn't forget it, but can you please move on with your lives? I mean, for the sake of everybody...
18:18 March 17, 2012 by skatty
I just mention that animalization of human has been done in the world of art for centuries, probably from the early civilizations. There are many ancient sculptures around the world; partly human, partly animals. However, there are different reasons to symbolize human as an animal, the reasons can be arguable!
19:28 March 17, 2012 by omash kavash
where is freedom of speach in this case and the case of a man drawing the pictures of the prophet is freedom of speach baseless we shud respect all not one lars viks is fake
20:17 March 17, 2012 by Dazzler
Hey now the jews have a free pass to murder, burn, pillage the westerners just like their sodomite muslim friends!
20:41 March 17, 2012 by samwise
The equivalent of the Vilks story would be, some Jews burn the swedish pastors houses, attempt to kill them, assault them when they appear in a lecture hall. That's not what's happening. It's quite obvious. And the reason we are given for withdrawing the product is not simply fear of violent reaction.
21:00 March 17, 2012 by Iraniboy
@samwise

First of all the action and reaction are two different stories. An action is right or wrong regardless of the would be reaction. If someone slap you in the face you cannot break his legs. Besides, I'm really happy that Jews have a big enough political hammer to foil these so-called freedom of speech which undercover the real hatred against startegers. Muslims lack it. Sadly, until there is big genocide in the heart of Europe or the US, Muslims won't get such hammer!
21:58 March 17, 2012 by samwise
Iraniboy, I think the core of the Vilks incident is his life is threatened, and his properties are damaged simply because what he draws/says. That's wrong. Drawing offensive things doesn't deserve to die, feeling insulted is no excuse to murder.

I've said before Vilks is no role model to me, but that's irrelevant. I would say it's wrong if the swedish pastors houses got burned down. I wouldn't say things like "but drawing that is really disgusting", because it's irrelevant.
22:29 March 17, 2012 by pietschka liika
Simon Wiesenthal has ben accused of falsifying his Auschwitz sojourn by others who actually went thru that ordeal. I find it beyond ironic that Wiesenthals sole purpose in live is to sniff out every iota of expression he deems to be anti-semitic, whereas he can't prove he is a genuine semite himself. The closest he can say is that he is an askeNazi Khazar descendant whose predecessors adopted Judaism as their religion, by no means automagically makes them genuine semites.

The Irish can definitely claim to be genuine semites because they descend from the Tribe of Dan, Tuathae Danae. Their country is named after a grandson of Noah, IR, who comes from son of Noah, Shem, the source of all semites. Spaniards can also claim this semite deriviation because their entire peninsula is called IBeria, whereas Ireland is called hIBernia. The name IB comes from a son of IR. Methinks Wiesenthal should prove conclusively he is a blood descendant semite prior to making all of his grandios rantings.

BTW, the name Ib is found in Danmark, settled by Tuathae Danae when St. Patrick drove out the 'serpents', the name Jacob bestowed on his own son and all of his son Dan's descemdants. This means Danes can also claim to be genuine semites.These semite Danes and fellow tribe Jutes conquered southeast England and held it for over 400 years. So now there is a genuine semite remnant in the UK from a Danish perspective, as well as a very strong Irish presence in the UK. This would infer a semite presence in Skåne due to the fact Danmark controlled it for centuries.
22:53 March 17, 2012 by OUIJA
Iraniboy is right in what he is saying..

" "Animalization (depicting humans as animals) of Jews was perfected by the Nazi propaganda machine, an all-too effective way to dehumanize Jewish citizens in the eyes of their German neighbours,"

"And that's exactly what Lars Vilks has done about Muslims!!"

But in the case of this story, the drawing was pulled out.. In the case of Vilks, we are paying his protection because he will continue using his so-called "paintings" to keep on insulting a religion and its prophet Muhammed.

Double standards? Yes. But that is the name of the game in Sweden the icon of neutrality in the world.
00:41 March 18, 2012 by gh2008
a group of Jewish (in the US) has managed to get a Swedish educational association to apologize and withdrawn a drawing while groups of Muslims (in Sweden) have failed to achieve the same goal, in regards to L.V drawings?

14 million Jewish around the world

1.4 billion Muslims around the world

that even goes against physics! higher density means higher pressure.

now that i think of it, i might got it totally wrong! Muslims have higher volume and certainly not "density". on the other hand, Jews have higher density among world's elite.
01:25 March 18, 2012 by glimmannen
@strixy

in Quran it says God gave the holy land to the israelites?

It is true but why doesnt CNN or Fox news mention this?

There is a reason why you dont hear this on the news or NY Times, ect..

My friend there are conditions to the holy land.

go to youtube and type 'imran hosein jerusalam in the Quran'

Watch the lecture, it is a long one...but watch it.
01:30 March 18, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
What does Lars Vilks have to say about this?
05:03 March 18, 2012 by samwise
Freedom of expression doesn't mean everybody has to publish whatever you have to say. You still have perfect freedom of expression when all media outlets decides it's not worth publishing. However, your freedom of expression is endangered when you are threatened for what you say, or media outlets are threatened for publishing what you have to say.
10:01 March 18, 2012 by calebian22
Since the apologists have brought it up, lets make a comparison. Where were the death threats against the artists? Where were the actual attempts on their lives?

Peaceful protest gets respect, or at the very least sympathy. Muslims will never be the victim as long as the sword is the weapon of choice. It is hard to claim victim status when one is trying to burn someone's house down or cut off his head over a drawing.

Any comparison between this story and Vilks is just laughable.
11:54 March 18, 2012 by skogsbo
As religion is just a fictional piece of literature, surely any art is the same? You be very sad and insecure person to be offended by either a cartoon or image of anything, no one is forced to view it.
14:19 March 18, 2012 by libertarianism
I can't judge a picture I haven't seen. That said, I feel it's generally best to "err" on the side of free speech. Controversial images create dialogue and can be used to explore and understand multiple points of view. (There was a US story a while back where NYC Jews were protesting that a Chinese-American shop sold swastika earrings. Should a millennia-old Hindu and Buddhist symbol be banned in an Asian culture community bc of psychopathic Germanic Europeans?)

That said, the (alleged?) representation of Jews as mice made me think of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning graphic novel "Maus" by Art Spiegelman, inspired by Spiegelman's relationship with his father, a Polish Jew holocaust survivor. Jews in "Maus" are drawn as mice. Non-Jewish Germans are cats.

From wiki: ...Other animals are used to represent other nationalities, religions, and races. Most characters of a single "nationality" were drawn identically, with only clothing or other details to distinguish them.

In making people of a single nationality look "all alike", Spiegelman hoped to show the absurdity of dividing people by these lines. In a 1991 interview, Spiegelman noted that "these metaphors... are meant to self-destruct in my book — and I think they do self-destruct."
17:00 March 18, 2012 by johan rebel
Let the anti-semites display their "art" anywhere and everywhere, I say.

It is much better when we know exacttly who the Jew-haters are, and what they stand for.

By the same token, muslims should be allowed to wear their headscarves, niqabs etc. anywhere and anytine. Sweden is an open, tolerant and democratic country, and thus vulnerable. Much better and safer if we can recognize the medieval barbarians amongst us at a safe distance.
20:24 March 18, 2012 by Iraniboy
@calebian22

First of all, like I said before, an action is wrong or right regardless of its reaction. Your double standard is very clear here. For example if a person spread a naked picture of you while having sex with an underage, it doesn't make the action of that person any better if you slap him in the face or even threaten to kill him. It will just make both of you wrong.

On the other side it is pathetic that the actions of some murderers who happen to be Muslim is accounted for more than 1 billion Muslims. It is exactly what Nazis and Hitler started to do. They had some example that hey though is misbehaving Jews, then they dehumanized the entire Jewish population based on those examples. Finally they stripped their right of living. You are the first stage! It's not just you you have the whole European far right political establishment with you who are thirsty of another Holocaust in Europe this time with Muslims.
21:25 March 18, 2012 by TheWatchman
@Iraniboy

No one is thirsty for another Holocaust. I see your point, and no people should be drawn like animals, regardless of their religion. I don't support the drawing of Germans as animals either. If I am looking at the right drawing, then I don't see where the offense comes from, unless it is only depicting the Israelis as rats. If both were to be represented as rats there would be no problem at all but I guess they are not present.

Also, the difference between Muslims and others is that you could make the same drawings about those other groups but they would never attack or make death threats against Lars even if the images were extremely offensive. Iraniboy, if a person spread a picture of someone having sex with an underage person it would be good that the nasty person be exposed for their crime, and it is extremely wrong to threaten to kill them even if it is not a 'nice' thing to expose them.
21:38 March 18, 2012 by guliver
gh2008

good observation, now you have to analizze the reasons
22:43 March 18, 2012 by Radhus
While I agree in the name of freedom of speech that it's wrong on many levels to remove this artwork, I just have to laugh how Iraniboy is the first to comment on and makes it all about muslims. In doing so he only digs a deeper hole for himself. I heard about this issue (Jews complaining about a painting in Sweden) elsewhere but unlike the muhammed cartoons I hear nothing about threats of any kind.

Of course there are many more muslims in the world than Jews, but the Jews have just as much, if not more influence than muslims.

Still, in developed countries (with the exception of Israel) both muslims and Jews are minorities, but we notice how muslims are the "loudest", always playing the victims of "racism" and taking Western freedoms for granted, believing that freedom means they can do absolutely anything they like because they won't get stoned, hanged or their limbs cut off. Heck, in Sweden they'll probably spend a month in jail at the most for a crime, if that. If someone offends them then threatening to terrorize (and even carrying out the threats) is all they know. Not evolving from the middle ages is just not on.

I remember about ten years ago there was an artwork made by a Swede consisting of a boat sailing in red water representing blood. I don't remember exactly where it was, an art gallery perhaps, but it was in Stockholm or Göteborg and it was a memorial to Palestinians killed by Israelis. Next thing, the Israeli ambassador shows up, gets upset and tips over the boat (about a metre high), consequently destroying the artwork. This made headlines in the news, but there were no threats of violence or terrorism. In other countries, Jews and even other minorities get often offended by something, yet how often do we hear of them burning down of buildings, killing others, etc?

So Iraniboy, heed your own advice: "see and judge" and really think hard before you write such silly comments.
15:22 March 19, 2012 by Querist
.

Forget about Vilks...

Muslims get their panties in a twist even if Mohammad is depicted as a Human Being.

.go figure.

.
19:49 March 19, 2012 by Iraniboy
@TheWatchman

Exactly for this reason I said such things shouldn't banned. Instead the motive behind it should be revealed.

@Radhus

Like I said before, if you account 1 billion persons responsible for the action of some person then you don't judge, you have prejudice!

Like I said before, a reaction doesn't make an action wrong or right.

If the Sweden or any civilized country starts to act on people based on groups then it either end up becoming Germany in 1950s. This will never happen in Sweden since there is an enormous majority who vote against such mindset.
09:47 March 20, 2012 by Max Reaver
I say let Lars Vilks preach his Freedom of Speech on this one too.

If Vilks starts, wonder how long time it'll take before somebody decides to take action against him. Just like what happened to Wael Zwaiter.
19:14 March 23, 2012 by Samir S. Halabi
Pietschka liika accuses the late Simon Wiesenthal of not being 'Semitic' but being instead of Khazaric descent. Your comment on this subject is without any knowledge on this subject, you have also insulted the late memory of Simon Wiesenthal who unfortunately is not with us anymore to defend himself of your defamation of him. If as you say he was a Khazar then why was he then incarcerated in the infamous Nazi-German death camp of Auschwitz as he would have been considered as of Turkic origin. You have also further dishonoured him by writing askeNazi Khazar you meant Nazi.

Get your fact right you are no authority on this subject. You have by calling this man a Khazar insulted all the other 6,000,000 Jews who perished in the Shoah.

You are nothing but a dirty little Jew-hating piece of garbage who should have been genocided with others like your ilk in place of the Jews.
05:26 April 21, 2012 by Khaliil
The artwork did not represent Jews, it represented Zionist & their victims in Palestine.

A group of Zionist with power to harm in many ways complained & got compliance.

If a police officer suggest that you stop a particular action, you do not comply because he asked nicely But refuse to obey the one that was harsh in his command; you comply because they both have authority.

After the slaughter of Jews by Hitler, they got sympathy (good); After the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia Muslims got little sympathy except from very few, like the Jewish man who survived the holocaust & gave $40 million U.S. to help the Muslims survive theirs.

lets be fair, if you should not insult one group, you should not insult any.

"If you do not believe in justice for all, you do not believe in justice at all" Noam Chomsky.
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