Santa’s Ghetto in Bethlehem

Banksy Wall Art

Banksy, my personal favorite graffiti artist (sorry, Mobius), is holding his annual “Santa’s Ghetto” show (“a loose collection of the great unwashed hawking their artistic wares”) in Bethlehem this year, across the street from the Church of the Nativity. From the show’s site:

Bethlehem is one of the most contentious places on earth.
Perched at the edge of the Judaen desert at the intersection of Europe, Asia and Africa in the state of Palestine it was governed by the British following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. After World War II the United Nations voted to partition the region into two states – one Jewish, one Arab and there’s been fighting ever since.
It’s obviously not the job of a loose collection of idiot doodlers to tell you what’s right or wrong about this situation, so you’re advised to do further reading yourself (this month’s National Geographic has an excellent article all about Bethlehem).
We would like to make it very clear Santa’s Ghetto is not allied to ANY race, creed, religion, political organization or lobby group. As an organisation the only thing we’ll say on behalf of our artists is that we don’t speak on behalf of our artists. This show simply offers the ink-stained hand of friendship to ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.
Every shekel made in the store will be used on local projects for children and young people. Not one cent will go to any political groups, governmental institutions or, in fact, any grown-ups at all.

Who wants to go?

7 Responses to “Santa’s Ghetto in Bethlehem”

  1. So according to a friend of mine who plays Counterstrike (I’m glad to say I don’t know what he’s even talking about) the gun is an AK-47, therefore “the soldier” is not specifically an Israeli soldier and “the girl” is not specifically a Palestinian girl. I hope people can get beyond the specifics of its location and see through to the concept he’s getting at. You can’t see it and not think about it…


    Yehuda David · December 5th, 2007 at 12:20 pm
  2. am I the only one who’s tired of Banksy?

    he always puts up this “what, me partisan? oh no I’m just an objective artist observer” front when it’s total BS.

    “state of Palestine” OK. and the website features a Christmas tree in the shadow of the dark, looming separation barrier.

    as if the message (and Banksy’s hipocrisy) weren’t enough, he claims that “Santa’s Ghetto is not allied to ANY race, creed, religion, political organization or lobby group”…but that “every shekel made in the store will be used on local projects,” i.e. — presumably — Palestinian causes.

    “It’s obviously not the job of a loose collection of idiot doodlers to tell you what’s right or wrong about this situation” says the idiot doodler before proceeding to tell us exactly what’s right or wrong about this situation.

    dude’s whole schtick is tired.

    and Trumpet: if Banksy is your favorite graffiti artist (and if Mobius even registers on your list), I imagine you know very little about graffiti.


    rootlesscosmo · December 5th, 2007 at 5:40 pm
  3. PS no offense Mobius.


    rootlesscosmo · December 5th, 2007 at 5:44 pm
  4. and I don’t play strike force, but I know an M16 when I see one.

    and that’s an M16 (look at the website for a better pic of that painting).

    so yeah, that’s an Israeli soldier. which is obviously the point of the painting (why is there even an argument surrounding this minor point again?)


    rootlesscosmo · December 5th, 2007 at 5:46 pm
  5. Despite the likelihood that my views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are radically different than Banksy’s, the graffiti is funny.

    I like his sense of humor– although his actual “insights” as a social critic probably have far greater validity when he’s lampooning society and government in the UK– so he can only see the Middle East through the window provided by the UK press.


    Ian Thal · December 8th, 2007 at 12:05 pm
  6. [...] the issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Israeli-Palestinian security barrier” and here’s him implying parallels between ghettos and [...]


    J Street’s Israel Campus Organizer Drew Cohen – Israel Is “Unjust And Even Criminal,” Uncomfortable With “People Who Espouse Zionism” | Mere Rhetoric · November 28th, 2010 at 5:16 am
  7. [...] between the issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Israeli-Palestinian security barrier” and here’s him rhetorically leveling ghettos and Bethlehem.   If you enjoyed this article, please [...]


    J Street’s Israel Campus Organizer Drew Cohen – Israel Is “Unjust And Even Criminal,” He’s Uncomfortable With “People Who Espouse Zionism” · March 4th, 2011 at 2:10 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik