Despite announcements in the media about the closure of the gallery, threats from the Jerusalem municipality, and freezing of their part of the gallery budget, we continue our life at Barbur as usual.
The fact that the lecture of “Breaking the Silence” at the gallery went on as planned is a victory for the spirit of freedom and proof that you can and should stand up to the threats and attempts of intimidation and incitement.
According to all the legal opinions we received, the municipality’s claims are baseless factually and legally. Theirs is a political statement designed for promotional purposes and a flattery to the extreme right in the city, and not a move that has any real substance – neither legal nor material. This behavior of the municipality – to deceive the public – is not consistent with the public interest and proper management. The purpose of this move is to punish and intimidate Barbur Gallery and suppress artists, creators and cultural institutions, and in fact all those whose opinion does not conform to the positions of power.
The struggle for the Barbur Gallery is part of the struggle for the character of Israeli society. There are trends of racism, violence and hatred permeating the public and political sphere in order to impose authority and fear, damage freedom of expression and democracy, civil organization, and the rights of the inhabitants of the city and the country.
These days, the existing laws are canceled and new law proposals erode the existence of mechanisms that maintain the rights of the individual and the public, democracy and justice. Only through solidarity and a common stand of all citizens and civic organizations and institutions for whom freedom and equality, welfare and justice are important, we can maintain a healthy society and hope for the sane future for all of us.
We have no words to thank all those who helped, supported and expressed solidarity and sympathy from all parts of the population in Jerusalem and outside – neighbors, students and professors, artists and designers, musicians and poets, directors of cultural institutions and art galleries, Israel Prize laureates, civil society organizations and associations, friends and family, people who knew the gallery for years and those who heard about it for the first time – and in word and deed expressed solidarity and a voiced a strong opinion, and gave us inspiration and confidence to carry on at Barbur gallery the creative space that includes an open dialogue that gives expression to the diversity of opinion — not violent, not aggressive, and within the law.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts,