Israeli artists reach out to Iran against war

Ahram Online and AP, Sunday 25 Mar 2012

The art exhibition 'Iran,' opening in Tel Aviv and running until 19 April, aims to avert war, sending a friendly message to Tehran

Aiming at decreasing "Iran attack" hysteria among Israelis, some Israeli artists opened the art exhibition "Iran" in early March, reaching out to Iranians worldwide.

Opened at the Spaceship Gallery in Tel Aviv, "Iran" conveys a friendly message to Iranians and Israelis alike through a series of photography and sculpture exhibitions and video presentations.  

Among the exhibiting artists are the gallery curators themselves, Roy Arad, Joshua Simon and Ari Libsker, among others, aiming at easing tensions between the two nations.

Featured are a fake missile pointed at the nearby US Embassy, a statue of Ehud Barak entitled "The most dangerous man in the world 2012," and short films. Barak is dressed in black clothes with his hands in his pockets, Haaretz newspaper describes.

Haaretz story reads, "The exhibit lacks integrity and awareness. It seems like a rowdy late-night event, but one that takes itself seriously."

In one video, "The Attack," Ofri Ilany and Yotam Feldman present an investigation into a classified plan for an Israeli attack on Auschwitz-Birkenau.

According to AP, some Israelis have also built a website in Farsi with news of Israeli daily life, and protested Saturday against a potential strike on Iranian nuclear installations. Many have shared on Facebook images and calls against a war with Iran.

According AP, Meir Javedanfar, an Israeli expert on Iran, says: "This marks the first time Israelis have reached out in such a way to another nation in the Middle East. Has it had impact in Iran so far? That's not clear yet, though Israelis say Iranians are responding positively to the Internet outreach. But it appears unlikely that any goodwill being generated by civilians will sway governments."

"Iran" is displayed at the Spaceship Gallery in Tel Aviv until 19 April.

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