Home Media Action Alerts2023 Adbusters Magazine Quotes Palestinian Saying First Palestinian Intifada An “Artistic Project”

Adbusters Magazine Quotes Palestinian Saying First Palestinian Intifada An “Artistic Project”

by Robert Walker

In the most recent edition of Adbusters Magazine released in April, the Vancouver-based publication which describes itself as a “a global collective of writers, artists, designers, musicians, poets, philosophers and punks,” published a lengthy question-and-answer article entitled: “First Intifada was an Artistic Project,” featuring an interview between Croatia-based journalist Lela Vujanić and Khaled Hourani, a Palestinian artist based in Ramallah.

In the article, both Hourani and Vujanić repeated both highly misleading and outright false accusations about Israel.

In the introductory paragraph, Vujanić described the situation of Palestinians in 1987 – at the outset of the First Intifada, or Palestinian uprising – as having been impacted by “decades of Israeli dispossession, violence and occupation.”

Despite Vujanić’s oversimplistic depiction of alleged Israeli transgressions, the truth is far more nuanced.

If by “decades of Israeli dispossession,” Vujanić is referring to the 1948 War of Independence, when Israel was invaded by neighbouring Arab countries following its declaration of independence, then the facts are entirely different than her accusation suggests.

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Prior to Israel becoming a sovereign state in 1948, the British Mandate proposed converting the historical Land of Israel into a Jewish State and an Arab State, with an international zone for Jerusalem. The Jewish representatives accepted, but Arab representatives rejected this compromise, and when Israel declared its independence, it was almost immediately invaded by surrounding Arab countries, intent on destroying the newly reborn Jewish State.

While it is true that roughly 750,000 Arabs were displaced during the country’s tumultuous independence period – roughly coinciding with the 800,000 Jews who were forced out of their homes in Islamic lands during the same period – the contexts were very different.

As recorded by Israeli historian Benny Morris, even before 1948, Arabs in Israel were being encouraged to leave the country.

“Arab officers ordered the complete evacuation of specific villages in certain areas, lest their inhabitants ‘treacherously’ acquiesce in Israeli rule or hamper Arab military deployments,” stating that “There can be no exaggerating the importance of these early Arab-initiated evacuations in the demoralization, and eventual exodus, of the remaining rural and urban populations,” according to Morris.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced out of their lands in Muslim-majority countries during the time of Israel’s independence and even in the years prior, seen as a dangerous fifth column. Sometimes, violence was brought upon them, like in 1941, when Baghdad’s Jewish community was attacked in a violent pogrom, and as many as one thousand were murdered.

As for Vujanić’s allegation of Israeli “occupation,” while this is almost certainly the most commonly-leveled claim made against Israel, it still does not make it true.

Israel possesses extensive legal and historical rights to the land in question, both pre-1967 Israel, as well as historic Judea & Samaria (often referred to as the “West Bank” by the news media). As pointed out by international law scholar Professor Eugene Kontorovich, “International law holds that a new country inherits the borders of the prior geopolitical unit in that territory. Israel was preceded by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, whose borders included the West Bank.” Conversely, there has never been any sovereign State of Palestine previously which could claim title to the land which Vujanić refers to as under Israeli “occupation.”

During the interview, Hourani describes one of his art pieces, called “Unnatural landscape,” referring to Israel’s security barrier, which was approved by Israel in 2002 to thwart Palestinian terrorism.

Hourani describes the barrier’s “damage and social side effects the wall has between the farmer and his land, the family and their relatives, between a city and a village.” What neither Hourani or Vujanić mention is the almost incessant Palestinian terrorist attacks which forced the construction of the security barrier, nor the dramatic impact that the barrier has had in reducing those attacks.

Hourani tells Vujanić that the First Intifada was a spontaneous outburst of Palestinian anger against their living conditions, describing it an “artistic action,” and elaborated that it was “like announcing a revolution not only against the occupation and its politics, but also against all its causes. People did not revolt only against the military machine and the barriers. They revolted against poor education and health care; they revolted to return to the land, and to home farming and solidarity; they revolted against the way of life that was denied them.”

What Hourani fails to mention is that the First Intifada was also a violent uprising which killed about 200 Israelis, including innocent civilians, and which paved the way for the Second Intifada in 2000, which was even deadlier, killing roughly one thousand Israelis, including countless civilians.

This whitewashing of terrorism and rewriting of history is only the latest instance of Adbusters Magazine delving into anti-Israel propaganda. In its previous edition, published in early 2023, the magazine encouraged Palestinians to “fight fight fight for your freedom…plunge into a third intifada…do whatever it takes…fight fight fight like hell…”

It seems that Adbusters, even after receiving roughly $30,000 in a taxpayer-funded grant in 2021, has not softened its stridently anti-Israel agenda.



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