Appearing on KQED radio, on Forum with Michael Krasny, Museum of Children's Art Board member Randolf Belle dismissed allegations of "pressure" in the decision of the Childrens Museum not to show the controversial exhibit. This was broadcast at 9:30, on Wednesday, September 28th.
According to Mr. Belle:
"This is absolutely not a matter of censorship because we would not have taken the show in the beginning. This was literally a matter of our capacity and resources to deal with this thing when it started getting out of hand. We may have made some missteps along the way just in the process but there was no funding at risk or anything like that. when we heard from enough parents that they did not want the images shown where their kids would be unsupervised looking at them we could not dismiss that."
Mr. Belle continued
"This became an absolute distraction and it started jeopardizing the organization.... Our mission is to keep the doors open for the 25,000 kids we serve per year, the 50+ schools, the 30 + people we employ..."
"Yes, we got calls from the Jewish Federation, but we also got calls from quite a few parents. That's who our audience is and they did not want the images up in our public spaces where their kids would be unsupervised"
Contrast that with the near hysterical claims of MECA Barbara Lubin: "Unfortunately, this disturbing incident is just one example of many across the nation in which certain groups have successfully silenced the Palestinian perspective, which includes artistic expression. Last year, the Jewish Federation of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs launched a $6 million initiative to effectively silence Palestinian voices even in “cultural institutions.” It was all about the wealthy Jews, Lubin concluded: "All of us at MECA would like to extend our deepest thanks to the many friends and people of conscience who took a stand against the pro-Israel groups that use their enormous financial resources to silence Palestinian voices. "
The Museum of Childrens Art had proposed a compromise to MECA, offering to display the materials. It was ultimately refused. Instead, MECA chose to protest the museum, forcing children's birthday parties scheduled for the weekend to be cancelled. The children of Oakland ultimately became "collateral damage" as MECA forced their political agenda on the public.
Listen to the entire broadcast here.
For more information on the Gaza Childrens' Art Exhibit see:
Sides divided after children’s museum in Oakland cancels art show by Gaza kids
Museum was right to cancel Gaza kids’ art exhibit
Gaza children’s art finds new venue
How much adult influence went into the "childrens" art of Gaza?: