From God to art to politics, in Amman

Abdul Hay Mosallam’s frieze of Gaza, at the Darat al-Funun museum in Amman Jordan. March 2019. (photo:  Alice Rothchild)
Rothchild’s second dispatch from a Middle East trip describes the political messiness and the heartache of a complicated country facing many challenges.

By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | Apr 28, 2019

Jordan has ‘the second highest share of refugees compared to its population in the world.’

March 23, 2019

Leaving the Nazarene Church, I meet up with a reporter from the Electronic Intifada, Tamara Nassar, who is excited to inform me that this week is Israeli Apartheid Week, organized by the Jordanian BDS chapter. I learn that there is a general sentiment here that supports boycotting Israel and Israelis broadly rather than just complicit institutions. Tamara talks of another unaffiliated group focused on anti-normalization called Etharrak that recently was critical of Netflix for filming a new TV series using Amman as Tel Aviv. These activists denounced this effort as normalizing relations with Israel. As Tamara wrote in a piece for Electronic Intifada, two Jordanian actors pulled out of the show and there were protests at one of the film locations.

Etharrak condemned the filming in a letter to the Royal Film Commission of Jordan, an official body that promotes and facilitates foreign film and television production in the country.

Israel uses cultural normalization “to beautify and whitewash its crimes, terrorism and occupation,” the letter stated.

Activists have demanded answers from the film commission on the nature of the TV series and the authorization it received to film in Amman.

They also stated that the Royal Film Commission should not have approved a production without full knowledge of the content of the film, which could potentially support Israeli policies and a Zionist agenda. So much for Wadi ‘Araba, the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan.

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