Posters promoting Israel boycott were vandalized, curator says
A Los Angeles art exhibition featuring posters promoting a controversial Palestinian-led boycott of goods made in Israel and Israeli settlements has been vandalized, according to the exhibition’s curator.
Carol Wells, executive director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, said nine posters were torn down from an exhibit titled “Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism,” which was organized by her group and the American Friends Service Committee, a politically active Quaker organization.
FOR THE RECORD
An earlier version of this post said the exhibit is titled “The Art of Economic Activism.” It is actually named “Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism.”
The exhibit, on display at Mercado La Paloma just south of downtown L.A., features dozens of posters promoting various boycott movements throughout history, including the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., and the anti-apartheid divestment campaign in South Africa.
All but one of the vandalized posters highlight boycotts of goods made in Israel or made on land seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War and claimed by Palestinians for a future independent state, Wells said. Three posters were stolen, she said, and six were shoved in a trash can.
Wells said the works, which were laminated replicas of the original posters, were worth only a few hundred dollars. She said the organizers of the exhibition have not yet contacted police but are considering it.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has gained prominence in recent months thanks to a high-profile campaign against actress Scarlett Johansson for filming a Super Bowl advertisement for SodaStream International Ltd., a company that employs Palestinians to produce seltzer-making machines in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Supporters of the movement praise its nonviolent methods. Critics say it unfairly targets Israel and seeks to undermine the Middle Eastern nation’s right to exist.
The poster exhibit, which opened May 5 and will close June 29, was funded in part by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Wells said the posters recovered from the trash can have been remounted on the wall, along with a note of explanation about the vandalism.
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