JANUARY 19, 2003
Arab/Islamic Art in Israel
IN HIS Jan. 5 article, writer David Green suggests that an Arab art museum in Israel is an anomaly ("The Painting Policeman," Ideas). He writes, for example: "And a reasonable person wouldn't dream of building an Arab Art museum in the Jewish state." He goes on to speak of Israeli Arab artist Said Abu-Shakra's plans to open such an institution. Abu Shakra's vision of a Museum of Arab Art in the heart of the Jewish state reflects his understanding that the two communities, Jews and Arabs, share a common fate.
But a reasonable person doesn't have to dream to see a museum of Arab/Islamic art in Israel. Green simply has to walk a mile or so from his Jerusalem Report office in central Jerusalem to reach the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art, open to the public since 1974. In addition, visitors may learn about Arab culture at the Bedouin Heritage Culture in Shibli and the Arab Culture and Heritage Museum in Sakhnin.
The writer is a senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.