February 1, 2023

As Israel bans Palestinian flags, one artist protests with his brush

8 min read


Editor’s note: A version of this story appears in today’s In the Middle East newsletter, CNN’s thrice-weekly review of the region’s biggest stories. Sign up here..


Jerusalem
CNN

Just over a decade ago, a Palestinian flag hung alongside the Israeli and American flags at the residence of the Israeli prime minister. Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shared a historic handshake.

Today Netanyahu is back in power and Abbas never left, but many other things have changed, including Israel’s attitude toward the Palestinian flag.

This month, Israel’s new national security minister… Itamar Ben Gvir Ordered the police down. Palestinian flag in any public place in Israel, claiming they are a rallying symbol for terrorists.

At least one artist felt compelled to respond to Ben Gower’s dictum.

Upon hearing about the minister’s order, Michael Rosenoff, a visual artist from Tel Aviv, painted himself in the colors of the Palestinian flag and made the artwork his Facebook profile picture.

A cartoon depicting the Jewish holiday of Passover, with a text bubble that reads,

“It’s ridiculous, you want to take down the flags? What are you going to do if I’m the flag? Are you going to put me down because I’m wearing certain colors? said Rosenoff, who goes by the name Mesh. “So I drew this illustration which took me 10 minutes.”

He didn’t expect it to attract much attention, but dozens of Israelis joined the mash, asking him to take profile pictures with the Palestinian flag in hopes of making some impact.

“And then I thought, yeah, it would be cool to offer other people to join in. Because I love drawing and I love starting something online,” Mesh told CNN.

Naturally, he also drew Ben Guer dressed in the colors of the Palestinian flag, right down to his kappa, worn by religious Jews.

Mesh is far from the only Israeli unhappy with Netanyahu’s new government. The prime minister’s right-wing coalition won a slim majority of the popular vote in November’s election, but critics and opponents object to a wide range of measures, including a public ban on the Palestinian flag, in deference to the ultra-Orthodox. Plans for additions and alterations are included. judicial system.

More than 100,000 people turned out in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, the latest – and largest – in a series of protests. Weekly protest Netanyahu’s allies are plotting against the legal reforms.

But not all Israelites welcomed him. Mesh drawing.

One commenter on Facebook accused Mesh of “spreading the flag of hate” and added: “How rude.”

Another said: “What does this mean? That the nation is cold now that has surrendered to its terrorist leaders? Hamas does not want peace with us, isn’t that clear?”

Aries responded to each comment, explaining and trying to convince his critics.

But they believe Ben Guerre’s attempt to publicly ban the Palestinian flag — which is technically legal to fly in Israel — is a continuation of the direction Israel has been moving since then. Established in 1948..

“It’s definitely a step closer to insanity, but nothing surprising,” said Mesh. “I think what we’re seeing now is the shattering of the illusion that most Israelis are trying to maintain, that they can live in a liberal democracy that respects all human rights, and At the same time, it is robbing more than five million people of their basic rights,” he said. Referring to the Palestinian population

A self-portrait of Mesh, who has created a series of illustrations protesting the Israeli government's move to ban the use of the Palestinian flag in public.

An artist who uses various media – film and animation, illustration and comics – to address social and political issues, as well as sexuality and gender, Mesh came to Israel from Russia in 1994 at the age of 16 and for three years Serve in his army. .

But one day while doing his reserve service at an Israeli outpost in the Jordan Valley, he says he had a great insight into the Palestinian experience.

“The only reason the checkpoint was there was to make life more difficult for the villagers,” Mesh said. “We were checking the same people twice a day. They were mostly mothers who took their children to kindergarten on the other side of the village.

“There was one day when I was standing there with my gun and checking another military ID card, and all of a sudden I realized that I’m a grown man pointing a gun at a 3-year-old. Says: ‘I’m not really pointing it out. That’s how I stand.’ Yes, but he doesn’t know that. What he sees is this horrible creature pointing the king’s gun.

“It hit me all of a sudden, the other side’s perspective, what is this kid who sees this monster with a gun pointed at him twice a day. What are the chances that this kid grows up to see me as a human being? Be willing to be seen as I am? How can I expect him to see me as a human being. Then I decided I’m out of it. I’m not doing it anymore,” Aries said. said

Mesh sees a direct connection between Israel’s military checkpoints and Ben Guerre’s attempt to ban the Palestinian flag, which is likely to be tested in court.

“Every oppressive system is a weak system because it cannot tolerate any friction,” argued Mesch. “He needs to enforce a lot of violence to avoid friction.”

That’s what Ben Gower is trying to get at, Mesch said: “This is the idea that in order to achieve our national identity, we need to alienate it from other people.”

NATO talks between Sweden, Finland and Turkey delayed – Finland

Finnish Foreign Minister Pika Hausto told CNN on Tuesday that the country’s bid for joint NATO membership with Sweden has been delayed amid resurgent tensions with Turkey. “Of course, this is not good news,” he said. The delay follows protests in Stockholm over the weekend, including the burning of copies of the Koran.

  • background: Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT Haber reported on Tuesday that talks scheduled for February between the three countries have been postponed at Ankara’s request. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Sweden that it should not expect any support from Turkey to support Turkey’s bid to join NATO in light of the protests. Haavisto indicated in the CNN interview that Finland has no plans to move forward with its NATO membership bid without its Nordic neighbor: “We are not in a hurry, we have time to work together with Sweden, ” he told CNN.
  • Why it matters: Turkey’s Erdogan is locked in a spat with his NATO allies over blocking the accession of Sweden and Finland to the Western alliance. Turkey cited the Nordic countries’ “support for terrorist groups, especially Kurdish militant groups” as one of the main reasons for its objection. The recent Koran burning incident in Stockholm, which sparked outrage across the Muslim world, further strained the talks, all coming just months before Turkey’s presidential election. Erdogan hopes to rule for a third decade. Havastu added that he hoped talks could resume after the Turkish elections in May.

The battle continues over the investigation into the Beirut port explosion.

Lebanese judiciary officials clashed on Tuesday over reopening the investigation into the 2020 Beirut port explosion. The inquiry was reopened by Judge Tariq Batar on Monday, but was overruled by Attorney General Ghassan Ouidat, who insisted that the investigation remained suspended and that no decision had been made on whether Batar could continue the investigation. Is.

  • background: The inquiry into the blast has been paralyzed for more than a year due to political infighting and complaints filed by senior officials who were questioned. On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion in the port of Beirut killed more than 200 people and injured thousands. Damages were estimated between $3.8 and $4.6 billion.
  • Why this is important: Reopening the investigation could bring hope to the countless victims whose lives were uprooted by the deadly blast. Many people are still eager to see accountability for this incident.

The Israeli Prime Minister met the King of Jordan in Amman in his first foreign visit after taking office.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu held talks with King Abdullah in Jordan on Tuesday. The visit comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries at the holy site for both Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem, which is overseen by Jordan in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

  • background: Tensions are high at the flashpoint complex known as the Haram al-Sharif to Muslims and the Temple Mount to Jews. It contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, and the site of the destroyed First and Second Jewish Temples, the holiest Jewish site. Under a decades-old agreement, only Muslims are allowed to pray at the complex. However, Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Ben Gower, who visited the site two weeks ago in a controversial move, believes Jews should also have the right to pray there. King Abdullah told CNN in December that Jordan was willing to work with “anyone and everyone” in Israel to bring peace, but would not allow “red lines” to be crossed on Jerusalem, referring to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • Why it matters: This is Netanyahu’s first foreign visit since resuming Israel’s prime ministership last month, and his first visit to Oman and meeting with Abdullah since June 2018. It comes just two weeks after Ben Gurion’s visit to the site drew widespread international condemnation, including from Jordan. royal court. After the visit, Abdullah stressed the need for Israel to respect the “historical and legal status” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The Palestinians immediately objected to the visit.
Kylie Jenner attends the 2022 CFDA Awards in November 2022 in New York City.

Territorial: Air

US social media star Kylie Jenner’s son was trending on Twitter in several Arab countries – for all the wrong reasons.

Jenner revealed the name of her 11-month-old son to the public on Sunday. Arabs quickly mocked him on social media. The name, Aire, means penis or ‘my penis’ in Levantine Arabic, and is often used as a profanity.

“Um, should someone tell Kylie Jenner that she named her son Ayer, which is the common Arabic word for ‘my penis’ or nah?” The journalist tweeted. Antoinette Kindness To his 13,000 followers.

Even the head of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) weighed in.

“Arabic speakers are having a field day with this one. The Arabic language is full of beautiful words, many of them used for names. Abed O AyyubADC national executive director jokingly tweeted to his 15,000 followers. “I hope he doesn’t have any Arab friends when he grows up.”

Jenner, 25, is mom to Air Webster and 4-year-old Stormi Webster.

This is not the first time that such names have been reported in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Levantine countries of Palestine.

In 2012, Arabic news organizations found themselves In a tough spot When Jean-Marc Ayrault became the Prime Minister of France. The French pronunciation of his name also means “his penis” in Levantine Arabic. Many Arabic outlets chose to pronounce his name with an L, meaning silence.

Similarly, CNN Arabic decided to transcribe Errolt’s name as it is written, with the last two letters, rather than how it is pronounced.

The French Foreign Ministry said at the time that it was aware of the matter but did not comment.

People play in the snow in Algeria's Constantine province, 400 km east of the capital Algiers, on Monday.





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