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Santa Fe Murals

SANTA FE MURALS ARE ABOUT JUSTICE
by IRIS KELTZ

The now-defaced murals pasted on an adobe wall in Santa Fe have created a firestorm within and without the Jewish community.

Collected from various news sources, the poignant images are familiar. I’ve seen them before – a group of armed Israeli soldiers surrounding a blindfolded teenage boy, so terrified he wet his pants; a 14-year old boy throwing a rock at a tank. A cameraman working for French television caught the image of a father shielding his 12-year-old son from oncoming bullets from Israeli soldiers. Moments later, the boy lay dead on his father’s lap.

In 2014, when images about Palestinian human rights first appeared on that adobe wall, they were to protest the Israeli siege in Gaza. To argue, as some have, that the iconic images may have been altered, avoids the issue – the systematic and ongoing abuse of Palestinian children and civilians. These murals are not anti-Israel, or pro-Palestinian, or anti-Semitic. They are a reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.

Rabbi Levertov of the Santa Fe Chabad is understandably upset by these images. So am I. I grew up with stories and pictures of Jews being treated as subhumans in Nazi Germany. Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, I am horrified by man’s continued inhumanity.

While members of the Jewish community may be divided politically on the issue of Palestine and Israel, every Jew in my community believes in the righteousness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Signed in 1948 as a response to horrors committed during WW II, it affirms “fundamental human rights, the dignity and worth of every human.”

Remi, a Navajo artist who created the Santa Fe murals, learned about the parallel histories between Palestinians and Native Americans – stolen land, broken treaties, harsh treatment by an army.

In 1914, Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel said: “… there is a country which happens to be called Palestine, a country without a people, and, on the other hand, there exists the Jewish people with no country.” However, Palestine already had over 600,000 people, including Muslims, Christians and a Jewish minority. The land was not empty. Palestinians are experiencing a settler movement similar to U.S. westward expansion based on the belief in Manifest Destiny.

Last fall, a congressional delegation that included U.S. Debra Rep. Haaland of New Mexico traveled to the Occupied West Bank to witness the occupation. Hopefully, this group will now support HR 2407, promoting human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, prohibits U.S. tax dollars from being used to torture and abuse children. It applies to all countries, including Israel, where there is overwhelming evidence of torture and abuse of Palestinian children. Israel receives more U.S. tax dollars than any other country in the world, almost $4 billion annually. The funds are allocated without U.S. oversight as to how the money is spent.

Although Santa Feans for Justice in Palestine (SFJP) is responsible for the Santa Fe murals, they are flanked by Jewish Voice for Peace Abq, Veterans for Peace, American Friends Service Committee, Defense of Children International and others. Members of the Red Nation, a Native group based in Albuquerque, have traveled to Palestine and came home very committed to speaking out.

Jeff Haas, a main spokesperson and organizer for SFJP and a Jew himself, is practicing the highest tenets of Judaism: “Justice, justice, justice, shall you pursue.” In the face of injustice, silence is not an option.

Keltz is author of the books “Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land: Journeys in Palestine and Israel” and “Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie.”

 

 

Murals like this one of a Palestinian boy throwing a rock at an Israeli tank, on an east side adobe wall, have provoked controversy in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MURALS BACK ANTI-SEMITISM, HATE
By TODD GOLDBLUM & BARBARA EINHORN

We would like to please outline and explain why the murals on Old Pecos Trail violate Santa Fe Municipal Code against inciteful propaganda.

First of all, they are hateful and propagate the age-old anti-Semitic blood libel. For centuries, Jews have been accused of the most outrageous crimes, including killing children. This was a favorite of the Nazi regime – Jews were dehumanized, demonized and portrayed as committing the most despicable violent acts.

There is a striking resemblance with one of the Santa Fe murals. The Israeli soldier pointing the weapon at the children is a Jew, as are nearly all Israeli soldiers. He represents the world’s only Jewish state, Israel. And he is pointing his weapon at defenseless children.

Really? Israeli soldiers gunning down innocent children? This is a blood libel portrait that Hitler would be proud of.

This is so outrageous when one considers the facts of the conflict. The Israel Defense Force has the strictest ethical and moral conduct of any army in the world, with painstaking measures to protect innocent civilians. Flyers are distributed and text messages are sent to Palestinian civilians when Israel defends herself against military installations in Gaza. This is because Hamas uses innocent women and children as human shields. And any bullet fired by the IDF that is unlawful requires a formal investigation.

So what happens when the anti-Semitic blood libel claim is made against Jews? History has shown that violence and murder of Jews almost always follows. Our grandparents left Russia because our community was being systematically murdered (pogroms).

The world currently is experiencing a huge rise in anti-Semitism and Santa Fe is contributing to the hate with these murals. They need to be removed.

Todd Goldblum and Barbara Einhorn live in Albuquerque.

 

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