13 September 2011 | Middle East Children’s Alliance
On Thursday, September 8, 2011, the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) in Oakland decided to cancel an exhibit of art by Palestinian children in Gaza, titled “A Child’s View From Gaza.” The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) had established a partnership with MOCHA and spent several months planning the exhibit, which was slated to open on September 24.
Board President Hilmon Sorey cited vague museum guidelines on appropriate content as reasons for canceling the exhibit, but both board members and pro-Israel groups later admitted that the latter placed pressure on the museum to censor the artwork of Palestinian children.
It is likely that the censorship here was yet another example of a $6 million dollar nationwide campaign by the Jewish Federation of North America, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and its local proxies, to silence the Palestinian perspective, even in “cultural institutions.”
It is very sad and disturbing that MOCHA, which has in the past courageously displayed artwork by Iraqi children featuring U.S. tanks and weaponry, has now chosen to censor artwork of similar content by Palestinian children, and succumb to financial pressure. But it is an outrage that these pro-Israel groups are using their considerable political and financial power to intimidate a local non-profit organization into silencing Palestinian children and censoring their art.