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Hebrew University
[Hebrew U, Spinoza Institute] Ishay Menuchin: "The silence of the Israeli public in the face of oppression" rampant in Israeli society
Dr. Ishai Menuchin is the current managing director of the Jerusalem Spinoza Institute. His main main fields of interst are democracy, civil disobedience and selective refusal.
Email: Spinoza@mscc.huji.ac.il

Saturday, 25 October, 2008

"Silence over the Abyss"
On the silence of the Israeli public in the face of oppression
PCATI exhibition at the Artists House, Tel Aviv

The opening of the exhibition will be held on Saturday 25 October 2008, at 19:30, at the Artists House, 9  Elharizi Street, Tel Aviv. The exhibition "Silence over the Abyss" was initiated by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) in response to the silence of the Israeli public in the face of oppression. The curators of the exhibition are artists David Reeb and Miki Kretsman, and Ishai Menuchin, Executive Director of PCATI. Most of the works of art were created specifically for this project by Activestills, Lahav Halevy, Sharif Waked, Gunilla Skold Feiler, David Tartakover, Alex Levac, Sigalit Landau, Avi Mograbi and Dror Feiler and present various aspects of the resounding silence of the Israeli public in face of various forms of oppression rampant in Israeli society.

As stated by the curators of the exhibition:
"In our society there is a steady increase of oppression of members of weakened groups -women, minorities, the disabled and those living under the Occupation. Similarily, while our society ignores the cries and the escalated suffering of the oppressed, social responsibility has been reduced to a faint, insincere and ambiguous, non-committal concept…It is our hope that examining and discussing the evil consequences of silence will strengthen our collective commitment to social change..
a different world is possible".

The exhibition's opening will include Dror Feiler's performance "Refuse no.3", and a musical performance by musical artists Zeev Tena, Amir Zoskabitz, Asif Tzahar and Shmil Frankel.

In the framework of the exhibition, open discussions will be held on Fridays (31.10.08, 7.11.08 and 14.11.08) at 11:00, on the limits of personal responsibility of each and every one of us in face of the crimes being committed in our name.

The exhibition will be open through 18 November 2008, Monday-Thursday 10:00-13:00 and 17:00-19:00, Friday 10:00-13:00, Saturday 10:00-13:00.

For additional details please contact:

Yoav Loeff,  PCATI's Coordinator of Public Engagement
Tel: 972-2-6429825/117, 972054-3368434

The Artists House, 9 Elharizi Street, Tel Aviv


We expect individuals in a democratic society to act "when horror descends upon us like

the rain". We expect that they will assume responsibility not only for themselves and their

individual acts, but also for the behavior of their society and its members.

In our society there is a steady increase of oppression against its exploited and weakened

members – women, minority groups, disabled, and those living under the Occupation.

Similarly, while our society increasingly ignores the cries and the escalating suffering of

the oppressed social responsibility, as we understand it, is reduced to a faint, insincere and

ambiguous concept.

It is customary for society to point its finger at the protesters and at the demonstrators, at

the opponents and at the dissenters and to accuse them of violating the consensus, of

attacking the national moral and of endangering society. Society demands from them a

moral accounting for their actions. But what about normative society itself, the obedient

ones, those who sit on the fence and conform? Plunging their hands deep into their

pockets, they hesitate, they are sorry and occasionally they sign or circulate petitions but

mostly they simply wait for others to rectify the injustices. These people are personally

responsible for ignoring the situation and for their choice to do little to nothing about the

injustice. Yes, they too are liable even if someone else committed the offence and they

only stood and watched from the side.

This catalog chronicles a project that took place from 25 October to 18 November 2008 at

the Artists House in Tel Aviv. The project is meant to focus our attention on the Israeli

public's deafening silence in the face of oppression. It features the work of artists who

refuse to go along with the silence.

It is our hope that examining and discussing the consequences of silence in the face of

oppression will reinvigorate a collective commitment to social change.

The Curators

Ishai Menuchin, Miki Kretsman, David Reeb



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