Let’s look at this more closely. As clearly pointed out by Jon Goldberg, the executive director of the AJC and the organizer of the 2010 AJC mission to Israel, when belatedly interviewed in response on CBC Radio, Mr. Forrestall is an acclaimed Nova Scotia artist. It is outrageous that he would be attacked for simply traveling to Israel and painting some landscapes. This is Canada. We don’t blacklist artists in this country. Those who are attacking Mr. Forrestall cannot claim to be motivated by human rights given that they single out Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, at a time when more than 60,000 have been murdered next door in Syria, to cite only one example.
The real story here is that anti-Israel activists can be deeply obsessive, even to the point of attacking a renowned (and apolitical) Canadian artist simply for painting Israeli landscapes. That’s shameful and totally un-Canadian. And I must say – it doesn’t seem particularly conducive to artistic freedom.
So to bring things back to where I started, and with the utmost and sincere respect to Mr. Sharansky, I would like to propose a variation of the 3D Test to describe the people who propose such ridiculous rubbish.
The first “D” is disingenuous. They are neither candid nor sincere. So, for example, there is no ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem (where Mr. Forrestall painted one “controversial” watercolor) and they know it.
The second “D” is deceitful. Not only are they disingenuous, they are deliberately so. They know full well that there is no ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem (where, by the way, the Arab population has only grown since 1967 — when the city was reunited under Israel sovereignty). But they assert so anyway.
The last “D” is devious. They are so desperate to attack Israel, that they will seize any opportunity to promote their warped agenda. As one of my non-Jewish friends said in reaction, “This is the stupidest thing ever! Should every Canadian landscape painting have to show a sign saying ‘land disputed’ by First Nations?”
I have no idea why these people hate Israel so much. My personal opinion is simply that they are jealous of the success of a state that in 65 years has risen to be a world leader in such areas as the arts, medicine, and technology — all while under a constant existential threat that fluctuates but never, ever, goes away.
As for me, I’ll stick to the facts and the incredible true and positive story that is embodied in the modern state of Israel.