Broken Language, a Crippled
Debate, and the Gift of Art
Permission to Speak
In this exhibit space, you have a right to speak and a right to be heard. You even have a right to misspeak without bringing on the stigma of anti-Semitism. It cannot be expected that anyone without much experience expressing their feelings or ideas about Middle East events will do so with perfect precision right from the beginning. In this respect, we invoke the Jewish concept of t’shuva. It stands for the four stages of repentance: realizing that you have made a mistake, feeling remorse, correcting the mistake, and asking forgiveness from those who have been wronged and from God. Adopting the principles of t’shuva here is in no way intended to exonerate anti-Semitic speech. Rather, it is to say that people are permitted in the process of finding their voices to make mistakes, and to admit to their mistakes, without being permanently stigmatized.
For too long, anti-Semitism has been treated as a public policy issue,
when in fact it is a public health issue. According to the principles
of hasbara, everyone is assumed to be guilty of anti-Semitism until proven
innocent. This is a subversion of the principles of due process that are
fundamental to the definition of democracy. Under the principles of t’shuva,
everyone is considered to be fundamentally good but capable of error and
contrition: it stands as an antidote to a health problem that can infect
a social community. Hasbara indicts people without consideration of ramifications
or alternatives; t’shuva is based on respect for people, bringing
them back to health where possible and containing the spread of the disease.
|images coming soon|
Next Section: New Definitions to Advance Discussion
© 2003 Liberation Graphics. All Rights Reserved.
Please send us your questions and comments (English only please!)
|Another democracy-building arts
initiative of Liberation Graphics.