Anish Kapoor has gifted a PR victory to Israel
‘For as long as artists like Kapoor continue to accept these obscenely large gifts, they gift Israel the social licence to pursue its ongoing dispossession of Palestinians'
Anish Kapoor accepts Israel’s $1m Genesis prize and makes a heartfelt statement about the plight of refugees – but fails to mention the word “Palestinian” (Kapoor uses prize to protest at ‘exclusionist’ refugee policies, 6 February). Predictably, his words have been packaged by the prize organisers (co-sponsored by the office of the Israeli prime minister) for a global audience, and they have provided Israel with a $1m PR victory.
It’s laudable that Kapoor wishes to give the prize money to refugee support. But given that Palestinians form one of the largest and most longstanding refugee populations on the planet, and given that the Genesis prize rewards “commitment to the state of Israel”, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Kapoor’s call for empathy for refugees has been used to improve Israel’s poor image abroad and promote empathy for Israel at the expense of its victims.
For as long as artists like Kapoor continue to accept these obscenely large gifts, they gift Israel the social licence to pursue its ongoing dispossession of Palestinians.
Miranda Pennell and John Smith (artists)