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Tel Aviv University
[TAU, Minerva Humanities] Ariella Azoulay London Exhibition "From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction & State Formation"
Editorial Note:
Ariella Azoulay (Minerva Humanities Center, TAU) made a career out of producing one-sided narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Her medium of choice- photography and her critical scholarship methodology - lend themselves to a particularly pernicious way of misrepresenting reality.  On one occasion she displayed "torture photographs" [of a group of Palestinians arrested by Israeli security forces].  She asserted that even though the images do not depict actual torture, they should be considered "modes of torture."
Her London exhibition is equally telling in this respect.  Azoulay presents pictures of ruined Palestinian structures [and lives], a price paid to achieve a "utopian Zionist theory of a Jewish homeland." She blames the Jews for the Palestinian nakba (catastrophe) and laments that neither side can explain how such a deep seated conflict took root.   
This message is ingenious at best and ignorant at worse.  The Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini had consistently resisted a compromise solution and, when WWII broke out, teamed up with Hitler to bring the "final solution" to the Jews of Palestine.  Even after the collapse of Nazi Germany, al Husseini - still the undisputed leader of his people - would not settle for anything less than full sovereignty over Palestine.   The Palestinians rejected the 1947 U.N. partition proposal and with the help of Arab states, launched a war of annihilation against the new Jewish state.  All along, al Husseini managed to eliminate [often physically] more moderate leaders.  Israel won the war forcing the Palestinians to suffer the consequences of the decision taken by their belligerent and misguided leader.  
Azoullay omission of the kind of Islamism represented by al Husseini and more recently, by Hamas is not coincidental.  The anti-Semitic and genocidal beliefs harbored by significant elements of the Palestinian population is not a pretty picture.  The veteran photographer knows that very well.

Ariella Azoulay, email: rellyaz@netvision.net.il

The Mosaic Rooms
The Mosaic Rooms brings some of the most exciting, progressive and innovative creative voices in the Arab World to London.



Ariella Azoulay will speak about curating the exhibition ‘Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950′ and the publication of her book of the same title, on the-

5th November at 12pm

Azoulay is a respected documentary maker, independent curator and author of several books. Over the past decade she has become one of Israel’s foremost visual and cultural theorists. Azoulay directs the Photo-Lexic, International Research Group at Tel Aviv University’s Minerva Center and is 2011 Leverhulme Research Professor at Durham University.

This talk is free but places are limited. Please RSVP info@mosaicrooms.org, 020 7370 9990


From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction & State Formation, 1947-1950

By Grace Cowlard | 04 November 2011

A black and white photo of a building whose roof has caved in, covering the floor in rubble
© IDF and Defense Archive
Exhibition: From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction & State Formation, 1947-1950, The Mosaic Rooms, London, until November 25 2011

At the heart of conflict in the Middle East, the journey from the destruction of Palestine to the formation of Israel has seen 50 years of violent struggle take its toll on the territory's people. 

Now, in a fascinating photographic exhibition at The Mosaic Rooms, London, leading visual theorist Ariella Azoulay unveils the stories behind the conflict.

Striking in nature, these images tackle not only the establishment of the state of Israel but the formation of a new identity for the Palestinian people.

Via the medium of photography, Azoulay attempts to explain the events and stories behind more than 200 photos from the Israeli archives, many of which have never seen before outside of Israel itself.

The beauty of Azoulay's work is her narrative, which addresses the human-interest side of the conflict by recounting tales often stifled, twisted and shunned by Israeli Jews and the West.

Depicting four crucial years from 1947-1950, individual stories radiate from the exhibition to tell the personal story of how the Palestinian majority in Mandatory Palestine became the minority in Israel, while the Jewish minority established political power to rule ex-Palestine.

Taking on a two-pronged approach, Azoulay deftly weaves theory of the nakba – meaning catastrophe in Arabic, referring to the defeat of the Palestinian armies in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war  with the Zionist theory of a utopian Jewish homeland. 

The conflicts between these two visions highlight the stark disparities between Jews and Arabs on the road to forging a diplomatic existence in Israel, yet present the conclusion that neither side is capable of explaining why such deep conflict took hold.

"What was and still is truly unavoidable is not national conflict, but rather the co-existence of Jews and Palestinians in a shared territory and the open space for a variety of forms to shape, practice, express and represent this co-existence," she says.

Accompanied by a series of talks discussing relationships between photography, film archives and the writing of history, the exhibition coincides with the publication of Azoulay's accompanying book of the same name, published by Pluto Press on 3rd November. 

Azoulay directs the Photo-Lexic project at Minerva Humanities Centre at Tel Aviv University.

  • Open 11am-6pm Monday-Friday (4pm Saturday, closed Sunday). Admission free

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