British artist Banksy’s latest pro-Palestine artwork created controversy when Batia Ofer, a British-Israeli art collector, said Saturday that his recent piece was more “anti-semitic” than artistic.
Batia Ofer told Haaretz, “We are very pro-peace. But having said that – I will stand up for our right to exist when people try to incite against us.”
According to her, Banksy went a step too far with his latest work. The subject of the criticism is a poster drawn by Banksy to promote Palestinian tourism.
In the poster, Banksy drew children on a fair riding around a watchtower with a caption saying, “Visit historic Palestine, the Israeli army liked it so much they never left!”
Through his Instagram account, the artist said that he would be displaying a replica of the West Bank separation wall at the World Travel Market London international trade show.
“Opening my first ever stall at a trade fair next week. I’ve painted a replica separation barrier to promote the Walled Off Hotel. … We’ll be at the Palestine stand giving away free stuff,” Banksy wrote.
. Opening my first ever stall at a trade fair next week. I’ve painted a replica separation barrier to promote the Walled Off hotel, ironically the neighbours have complained it’s too tall. We’ll be at the Palestine stand giving away free stuff, World Travel Fair, London Excel centre 6th and 7th November. Free to get in if you register online today and pretend to be a travel agent.
Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maayah praised Banksy for driving young people to visit West Bank and expressed gratitude for his help with the trade fair.
The poster was handed out by Palestinian officials in the tourism fair which was praised by Palestinian officials for promoting tourism and also denouncing Israeli occupation.
However, the poster did not sit well with “pro-peace” Ofer who wrote on Instagram while replying to Banksy, “You may criticise Israel for the current situation and I’m totally for a two-state solution and fight for justice on both sides!”
She continues, “BUT insinuating we don’t have a right to exist (which is exactly what your poster does using the term “historic Palestine”) suggesting Israel has no right to ANY land is disgraceful. In addition- military service in Israel is mandatory! So your poster is denouncing all Israelis! Your posters resemble Nazi propaganda in the 1930s and spread antisemitism.”