MoMA Workers ask Museum to Address Israel’s Attacks on Palestine

Wednesday, February 14, 2024
MoMA Workers ask Museum to Address Israel’s Attacks on Palestine

A group of workers at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City has released an open letter urging the institution to call for an “unconditional ceasefire” and an end to Israel’s bombardment of Palestine, which has killed over 28,000 people in Gaza and displaced over a million in the months since Hamas’s October 7 attack.

A Statement by Museum of Modern Art Employees Regarding the Ongoing Crisis in Palestine :

We are writing in our capacity as employees at The Museum of Modern Art to express our condemnation of Israel's ongoing actions in Gaza and stand united in solidarity with Palestinians as they confront violence, colonial occupation, and apartheid. Over the last five months, the world has witnessed a devastating escalation of violence in the region that has disrupted the daily lives of Palestinians in unimaginable ways. “Over 100,000 Gazans are either dead, injured or missing and presumed dead” (World Health Organization 1/31/2024) and over 1 million are displaced. We firmly believe that the ongoing crisis there must be recognized as genocide, and addressed with such urgency. Furthermore, we seek to rally our colleagues globally within the cultural field to actively participate in and support this urgent movement.

These attacks have exacerbated the already challenging humanitarian conditions in Gaza, with limited access to essential services such as healthcare, clean water, food, and education. The psychological and emotional toll on the Palestinian people is immeasurable, as they cope with the trauma of witnessing the destruction of their communities and the loss of their loved ones. This continuous cycle of violence has created an environment of fear and uncertainty, impacting the mental health and well-being of entire communities. The gravity of the situation weighs heavily on our hearts, and the absence of a collective acknowledgment or response from our institution adds to the difficulty.

Working amidst the profound silence of our institution in the face of the ongoing crisis in Gaza has become increasingly challenging for us as employees of The Museum of Modern Art. As individuals deeply committed to the values of justice, empathy, and human rights, the silence amplifies the sense of urgency we feel in addressing the unfolding events. The absence of dialogue and acknowledgment within our institution hinders our ability to navigate these challenging times and undermines our mission statement “to connect people from around the world to the art of our time.” The credibility and sincerity of our international purview is incomplete and compromised as we quietly watch Gaza’s invaluable art, culture, and history (15th century BCE), be systematically destroyed, stolen, and erased. We respectfully urge our institution to consider the impact of its silence. We believe that cultural institutions, including ours, have a responsibility to engage in conversations about significant global issues, especially those affecting the lives and well-being of countless individuals.

It is imperative our collective statement clearly outlines that Zionism is neither synonymous with nor representative of Judaism, therefore a critique of the violence enacted in the name of Zionist rhetoric is in no way a suggestion of antisemitism. As museum and cultural workers, we condemn the heightened cases of both Islamophobia and antisemitism that have resulted as direct collateral of Israel’s crimes in Gaza.

As museum and cultural workers, many of whom are members of the United Auto Workers Local 2110, we applaud the International UAW’s call for a ceasefire. Furthermore, we want to amplify the urgent appeal from the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza calling on trade unions in relevant industries to stop arming Israel.

To state clearly, here are our demands of The Museum of Modern Art:

• Call for an unconditional ceasefire and an end to Israel’s collective punishment, genocide, and siege of Gaza.

• At least one of two things: 1) Commit to The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in its entirety and/or 2) Conduct a thorough and transparent review of PACBI to learn from its principled methods and values in order to develop and establish a set of guiding principles for MoMA’s work; to be followed in the Israel/Palestine context and beyond, currently and in the future.

We extend an invitation to everyone within our community, encompassing present and former team members, artists and collaborators who have showcased their work in our galleries and graced our stages, visitors, members, donors, and neighbors, to add their signatures to this letter and unite with us.

Main Image :The Museum of Modern Art © 2019 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Brett Beyer

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Image of the Day

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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