Artis Programs

Artis & the New Museum Present a Salon Series by Public Movement

Public Movement, Positions: (NYC, Union Square South, 11/6/11), 2011. Documentation. Co-presented by New Museum and Artis Contemporary Israeli Art Fund. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner.
Artis & the New Museum present Public Movement: Salons


Public Movement's salon series are performative public debates, specifically staged as congressional sessions, summit meetings, diplomatic consultations, secret gatherings, and demonstrations taking place at sites across Manhattan.

The salons will a) celebrate the choreographies of ideological youth journeys to Israel (Taglit-Birthright); b) deconstruct their relationship to the American Jewish lobby as one of the most successful programs for the Diaspora community; and c) consider the appropriation of these strategies towards the potential creation of a Birthright Palestine.

Salons will perform strategic research for the final Public Movement action for New York City, scheduled to take place in 2012 as part of the New Museum Triennial.

Check out coverage in the New York Observer's The Gallerist and the Jewish Daily Forward.


SALON 1: Rebranding Park51 Muslim Community Center
Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 7:00PM
New Museum Theater
235 Bowery, NYC

Salon 1 will feature branding experts presenting ideas on how to rebrand Park51 (the so-called ''Ground Zero Mosque'') to members of the public, who will be cast in the role of Park51 board members. At the end of the salon, the public will vote on the best proposal. Park51 is a planned community center "inspired by Islamic values and Muslim heritage” that has faced much public controversy over its proximity to the former site of the World Trade Center and 9/11 attacks.

Participants include Hashem Bajwa, Director Digital Strategy at Droga5 (www.droga5.com) and Principal of De-De (www.de-de.com); Ian Daly, Planning Director & Cultural Strategist at Anomaly (www.anomaly.com); Jeffrey Inaba, Principal (www.inaba.us)

SALON 2: Visioning Session for Return
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 6:30PM
Vera List Center for Art and Politics
The New School, Orozco Room
66 West 12th Street, 7th floor, NYC

Salon 2 will feature academic experts presenting positions on scholarly issues related to a Palestinian right of return. Topics will include religion and secularism, the dynamics of nationalism and diaspora, definitions of citizenship, ideas of return, the possibility of financial compensations for displaced Palestinians, and the status of the Palestinian community in New York. Members of the public will be called upon to register their own positions.

Participants include: Gil Anidjar (Associate Professor, Religion and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University), Rochelle Davis (Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University), Lubna Hammad (Palestinian human rights activist, lawyer, and founding member, Adalah-New York), and Hagar Kotef (Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University)

SALON 3: Birthright as Public Choreography
Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 4:00PM
New Museum Theater

Salon 3 will invite a group of recent Birthright Israel alumni to reunite and to relate/reconstruct their experiences and impressions of their trip in the format of a documentary theater program. A sociologist will provide a commentary after the performance, followed by an open discussion with the public. The Birthright Israel program sponsors free ten-day heritage trips for Jewish young adults from all over the world (mainly from the US) to Israel. Over 300,000 people have gone on these trips over the past thirteen years. Between 2013 and 2015, the Israeli government expects 51,000 people per year (one out of every two eligible Jews in the world) to visit through this program.

Participants include: Sociologist Jackie Feldman (Senior Lecturer, Ben-Gurion University); and Taglit Birthright Israel alumni (February 2012, Bus 363): Evan Drahzal-Gasster, Evan Engel, Stephanie Eisen, Daniela Errazquin, Lisa Greenberg, Alex Kimmelman, Rebecca Hartman, Leah Salditch, Zoë Salditch, Seth Zubatkin; and 2009 alumnus Ariela Lovett.

Dr. Jackie Feldman is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and a veteran tour guide. He focuses on the performance of contemporary pilgrimages and the role of pilgrimage in the construction of cultures and identities. He has published on the trips of Israeli youth groups to Poland, on Christina pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and is currently doing comparative research on Yad Vashem and the Jewish Museum Berlin.

SALON 4: Deconstructing Birthright Israel
Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 7:00PM
Artists Space: Books and Talks
55 Walker Street, NYC

Salon 4 will host multiple roundtable discussions and workshops on the different aspects and dimensions of Birthright Israel including: psychological dimensions, ''sentimental experience'' mapping of Israel, the politics of Birthright, Zionism for American Jews, the erotic economy, and the idea of Birthright Palestine. The public is invited to participate, as delegates, in the democratic formulation of six declarations, to be delivered at the conclusion of the session and published in the print media the following day.


Led by Rachel Havrelock
In this workshop current, past, and future mappings of Israel and Palestine will be discussed. We will view images of maps from ancient and recent histories and, with the Birthright itinerary in mind, will plan travel itineraries in the places represented by the various maps.

Rachel Havrelock is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently speaking and writing on “The History of the Map of Israel.”

Led by Bruce Robbins
Birthright tourism is a tool intended to produce certain kinds of political socialization and subjectivity. The participants in this roundtable will be asked to take a further step, examining the specific politics performed vis-a-vis diaspora.

Bruce Robbins is the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He is presently at work on a documentary about American Jewish critics of Israel.

Led by Efrat Even Tzur & Chaya Rubin
This roundtable will focus on the role of Israeli soldiers in the Birthright Israel program—examining the relationship between identity development and psychosexual development according to psychoanalytic theories and thinking about connections between body and nationality.

Efrat Even-Tzur is an Israeli child psychologist and editor. She is an active member of PsychoActive and Zochrot (Remembering).

Chaya Rubin is a clinical psychologist with experience working on identity changes in Israeli and Palestinian former combatants involved in non-violent peace activism.

Led by Lisa Grant
This roundtable discussion will focus on the challenges of representing Israel on Birthright tours. Using the Masada “Myth” as a case study, we will consider the purposes of heritage tourism and explore together what different outcomes might be achieved through different narrative structures and educational approaches on the tour.

Lisa D. Grant is Associate Professor of Jewish Education at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Her scholarship focuses on adult Jewish learning and the place of Israel in American Jewish life.

Led by Lubna Hammad
This workshop will introduce the global campaign of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and its guidelines, and will examine the project of Public Movement, “SALONS: Birthright Palestine?,” as a case study in order to understand the different effects and tensions of the boycott, as well as the potential upshot for dialogue.

Lubna Hammad is a Palestinian legal consultant and human rights activist. She is a founding member of Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (organization for identification purposes only).

Led by Mahdi Sabbagh
This workshop will explore the proposal of Birthright Palestine via basic questions of execution, while also considering the underlying principles and socio-political realities of such a proposal.

Mahdi Sabbagh is a Palestinian from Jerusalem and is currently based in New York, where he is training in architecture. He has briefly worked with the UNRWA Camp Development Unit, Decolonizing Architecture, and L.E.FT Architects and is now working at Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

SALON 5: Birthright Palestine? Debate/Vote
Sunday, April 15, 2012 - 3:00PM
New Museum Theatre
235 Bowery, NYC

Salon 5 will present a public debate staged as a congressional session amongst the public and previous salon participants on the initiation of Birthright Palestine. Invited debaters, along with the public, will argue all sides of the case and its possible implications. The debate will be followed by a democratic vote. If the public votes against the creation of a Birthright Palestine, then Public Movement's Final Action in New York will be canceled.


SUSAN AKRAM is a Clinical Professor at Boston University School of Law, teaching immigration law, comparative refugee law, and international human rights law, and supervising students handling refugee and asylum cases. Before joining the faculty at BUSL in 1993, she was Executive Director of Boston’s Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project. She is a past Fulbright Senior Scholar in Palestine, teaching at Al-Quds University Law School in East Jerusalem and researching durable solutions for Palestinian refugees.

SA'ED ATSHAN is a joint PhD candidate in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University where he is a Soros Fellow, National Science Foundation Fellow, and Graduate Student Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He received an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2008. Atshan received his BA from Swarthmore College in 2006 and completed high school at Ramallah Friends School, a Quaker institution which has been in Palestine for over a century. He has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, the UN High Commission for Refugees, Human Rights Watch, Seeds of Peace, the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department, and the Government of Dubai. He is also a Lecturer in Peace and Justice Studies at Tufts University. Atshan was born into a Palestinian refugee family and was raised in the Occupied Territories.

HANNAH ARENDT is a German-American political theorist whose work deals with the nature of power, the subjects of politics, authority, and totalitarianism. After fleeing to the United States in 1941, she taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Princeton, Northwestern, and Yale Universities, as well as the University of Chicago, the New School, and the University of Muri. Her works include: Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), The Human Condition (1958), On Revolution (1963), Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), Men in Dark Times (1968), and On Violence (1970).

ARIELLA AZOULAY teaches visual culture and political philosophy. She has written and published: Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (forthcoming, Verso, 2012), From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950, (Pluto Press, 2011), and The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008). Her curated exhibitions include: “Potential History” (2012, STUK/Artefact, Leuven; Digital Art Center, Holon), “Untaken Photographs” (2010, Igor Zabel Award, the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana; Zochrot, Tel Aviv), and “Architecture of Destruction” (Zochrot, Tel Aviv). Her films include: Civil Alliance, Palestine, 47-48 (2012), I Also Dwell Among Your Own People: Conversations with Azmi Bishara (2004), and The Chain Food (2004).

NADIA LATIF is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Human Rights at Bard College. She has been conducting field research in Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp since 2004. She has written about questions of home and belonging to place, Palestinian camp refugees’ experience of forced displacement in Lebanon, and issues of gender in protracted conflicts. Her work has been published in New Centennial Review, Arab Studies Journal, and Feminist Review.

BRUCE ROBBINS is the Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He works mainly in the areas of nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, literary and cultural theory, and postcolonial studies. He is the author of Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress (NYU, 1999), The Servant's Hand: English Fiction from Below (Columbia, 1986; Duke, 1993), and Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (Verso, 1993). He was co-editor of the journal Social Text from 1991 to 2000. He is presently at work on a documentary about American-Jewish critics of Israel.

FINAL ACTION for New York City
Saturday, April 21, 2012 - 12:00PM
Location TBA

In Salon 5 from SALONS: Birthright Palestine?, the public will vote on whether to initiate Birthright Palestine. If the vote is affirmative, then the final Public Movement action for New York City will take place on this date in a location TBA. However, if the vote is negative, the final Public Movement action in New York City will be canceled.


About Public Movement
Public Movement is a performative research group which investigates and stages political actions in public spaces. In the last five years, Public Movement has explored the regulations, forces, agents, and policies, as well as formations of identity and systems of ritual that govern the dynamics of public life and public space. Public Movement has organized events, rituals, and political situations through consultation and collaboration with scholars, experts, and ongoing group debates and discussions. The Movement was founded in November 2006 by co-leaders Omer Krieger and Dana Yahalomi until August 2011 when Yahalomi assumed sole leadership. Public Movement actions take place in public spaces and in collaboration with art, theatre, dance, and academic institutions in Israel and abroad.

Public Movement’s participation is co-presented by the New Museum and Artis Contemporary Israeli Art Fund, with additional support from the Ostrovsky Family Fund, and the Israeli Lottery Fund.