Monday, June 04, 2012

An Israeli artist calls for 3.3 million Israelis to move to Poland

And Arabs are overjoyed.

From the JRMiP homepage:
‘3.3 mil­lion Jews can change the life of 40 mil­lion Poles’

The found­ing wish of the JRMiP is to write new pages into a his­tory that never quite took the course we wanted. We call for the return of 3.300.000 Jews to Poland to sym­bol­ize the pos­si­bil­ity of our col­lec­tive imag­i­na­tion – to right the wrongs his­tory has imposed and to reclaim the promise of a utopian future that all cit­i­zens deserve. Our des­tiny is not tied to the fate of Jews – or Poles – we wel­come into our ranks all those who believe in the strength of dreams and polit­i­cal will to achieve more. Members of the move­ment are migrants, intel­lec­tu­als, work­ers, artists, out-casts and thinkers: People who rec­og­nize that the Europe of today needs to be re-thought, that Israel must change to be part of the Middle East and that as cit­i­zens we have the abil­ity and respon­si­bil­ity to imag­ine the world dif­fer­ently. Now, the move­ment needs you. Together, we can be strong in our weakness.

In the words of the JRMiP man­i­festo: ‘This is the response we pro­pose for these times of cri­sis, when faith has been exhausted and old utopias have failed. Optimism is dying out. The promised par­adise has been pri­va­tized. The Kibbutz apples and water mel­ons are no longer as ripe. We direct our appeal not only to Jews. We accept into our ranks all those for whom there is no place in their home­lands – the expelled and the per­se­cuted. There will be no dis­crim­i­na­tion in our move­ment. We shall not ask about your life sto­ries, check your res­i­dence cards or ques­tion your refugee status.’

Join us and Europe will be stunned.

The JRMiP was ini­ti­ated by Israeli-born artist Yael Bartana in 2007 and since then has gar­nered inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion and sup­port. In May 2012 the JRMiP will meet for the first time in Berlin to for­mu­late their future agenda.
The desire seems to be that if Jews of Polish ancestry would return to a country that always treated them as second-class citizens, then the remaining (mostly Sephardic) Jews in Israel could melt into a Middle East and return to becoming second-class citizens as well.

This is considered "utopian."

The heralded JRMiP Congress was apparently held three weekends ago - yes, on Shabbat - and perhaps three dozen "delegates" were scheduled to attend.

I can find no news stories about it.

In fact, the entire idea may have been a publicity stunt for the Israeli artist Yael Bartana, who created a trilogy of films about a fictional JRMiP in faux documentary style.

However tenuous the idea's relationship is with reality, Israeli Arab newspaper Elaph loves the idea. What's not for Arabs to love? It pushes their idea that Jews properly belong elsewhere.

The script could have been written by Helen Thomas!

UPDATE: Simon points me to a Forward review of the film trilogy that makes it clear that the entire idea is a hoax, but a hoax for the sake of art, so instead of calling it a hoax  it is an invitation to have the audience join in the irony. The trilogy equates Israel with the Nazis, but subtly, thus elevating it from hateful rhetoric to a wonderful example of post-Zionist art, according to the Forward.