When the Palestinian Museum opened its doors in Birzeit in May 2016, it was entirely empty. The $23 million building, its angular limestone-clad shape alluding to the terraced landscape of its West Bank surroundings, had exhibition and education spaces, cafes and an open-air amphitheatre. What it didn’t have, due to a last-minute disagreement between the board and its former director, Jack Persekian, was a collection to exhibit.
American and Israeli detractors gleefully claimed this as symbolic of the emptiness of the entire Palestinian claim to land, culture and nationhood. The lack of an inaugural show, they declared, was emblematic of the historic, self-defeating squabbling of Palestinian nationalism. “The fate of the exhibition may say as much about the realities of Palestinian society as any art collection could,” wrote The New York Times.
Read the full article by Daniella Peled at the Financial Review.