SALONS: BIRTHRIGHT PALESTINE?
The Salon series used the phenomenon of Birthright Israel in order to raise questions about nationality and heritage, as well as the politics of tourism and branding. In a series of five performative public discussions, each adopting existing formats of discursive forums, different publics presented and debated upon related questions and issues that would inform, affirm and/or oppose the proposal to initiate a Birthright Palestine program. Each salon addressed a different aspect of this proposal: the branding of a controversial project located in the crosshairs of conflicting interest groups; the historical, legal, philosophical, and ethical implications of “the right of return”; the affective register of mapping and memory; the deconstruction of existing models of birthright tourism; and, of course, the ramifications of such a proposal towards a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the objectives of social justice movements such as the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. At the conclusion of SALONS: Birthright Palestine? members of the temporary congressional session voted in favor of the proposal to initiate a Birthright Palestine program.
Co-presented by the New Museum and Artis Contemporary Israeli Art Fund
With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ostrovsky Family Foundation, and the Israeli Lottery Fund.
Residency and Salons Producers: Travis Chamberlain and Ryan Inouye
Producer/Editor: Danny Abel
February- April 2012
New Museum Triennial: “The Ungovernables”, New York
Curated by Eungie Joo
Co-presented by: Artis Contemporary Israeli Art Fund and New Museum, NYC.
Public Movement Leader: Dana Yahalomi
Research and Development Agent: Michelle Hyun
Strategy & Protocol Agent: Alhena Katsof
Consultant: Daniel Miller
“…She’s [Yahalomi] formidable in person-tall and professional in a dark navy skirt and jacket, a billowing scarf around her neck-just the type who could convince a museum to let her stage a series of events, discussions and interactive exercises on controversial topics as part of a landmark art exhibition.(last month they discussed rebranding Park 51, the so-called “Ground Zero mosque.)”…
…”But Public Movement’s grand finale is yet to come. it begins with a vote at the New museum on April 15. “if the vote is in favor, then we will activate the last action of Public Movement in New York and hopefully start building towards Birthright Palestine,” Ms. Yahalomi said. “and if the vote is against, then we cancel the final action and no more” – her deepened-”no more of this project.”…” GalleristNY 11/18/12 By:Andrew Russeth
 Birthright Israel is a 10-day free trip for Jews between the ages of 18 to 26 who travel around Israel together on a bus. It was founded in 1999, sponsored by the government of Israel and American Jewish philanthropy. Over 300,000 people have participated in the program since its founding. Birthright Israel was founded in the hope to address the following concerns: detachment of diaspora Jews to the state of Israel, an increase in intermarriages between Jews and non-Jews and a need to sustain the Israeli-American Lobby, which for years served Israel with political advocacy and a great source of funding.