Artists who are disgusted with the extremist political line associated with much of the artistic community in Israel will meet Tuesday at the Tmol Shilshom coffee shop in Jerusalem at 4:00 p.m., in an ad hoc conference titled “Culture that Unites instead of Dividing.”
Ortal Tamam, whose uncle Moshe Tamam was murdered by terrorist Walid Daka, will also attend the conference. Tamam was reduced to tears by hecklers when she addressed the leftist artists' conference Sunday, and had to cut short her speech. The leftist artists opposed Education Minister Naftali Bennett's decision to stop support for a play that glorifies Daka – and a threat by Culture Minister Miri Regev to stop supporting an Arab theater company whose director, Norman Issa, refused to appear in the Jordan Valley.
The organizers say the conference is not for “right wing” artists, but for what they call “the transparent artists” – creative Israelis from the artistic and culture scene “who think differently from the artists who covened on Sunday and who are not cited in the media all of the time because they hold different views,” in the words of Aspaklaria Theater director Hagay Lober.
Co-organizer Yonatan Dobov, who manages the Gula club in Petach Tikva, wrote on Facebook: "I saw the unbridled attacks yesterday, the term 'grass-munching beasts' and especially the awful intolerance toward a bereaved niece – and I could no longer remain silent.
"I called Hagay Lober, Ishay Lapidot, Yuval Morgenstern, Kobi Sella and other friends and we decided to prove that there is another kind of art in Israel, which may be invisible but at least does not see its audience as beasts, which does not live in an ivory tower somewhere in the state of tel Aviv, and mostly – that loves the state and the IDF.”
Lober promised the NRG website that the event will include artists from the entire political spectrum. “We simply oppose the exclusion of other people from the discourse. It is unacceptable to exclude people because of their origin, sex or place of residence. People who live in the Jordan Valley pay taxes, and the artists like Norman Issa who take funds from the state must accept the fact that they work for whoever pays them. Otherwise, don't take that money. If you hate the state, and you want it destroyed, and libel it – don't take its money.”
"We are issuing a very clear call,” Lober explained. “We all favor freedom of expression and none of us want a murderer like Yigal Amir or Walid Daka to enter the cultural discourse. We are also very fearful of the kind of discourse that people from the cultural sphere have been permitting themselves to utter since Miri Regev became minister. It's true, you didn't vote for her, but she is an elected official and she has an agenda and that is her complete right. It's disgusting to deride her in such a lowdown fashion. You can criticize or argue but this onslaught and the wording that is used indicate that not everyone who works in culture is a cultured person himself.”
Singar Ishay Lapidot, a co-organizer, said that many artists support the event Tuesday but are afraid to attend it, lest their professional status be harmed.