A new video series about ‘design flaws’ tackles the question of why the world is so irked by Israel’s separation barrier. Surely it’s not the fact that it cages in millions of people and annexes roughly 10 percent of the West Bank. No, it’s just a matter of aesthetics.
In a video clip published online this week by Kann, Israel’s new public broadcast corporation, a young man wearing a hip polka-dot shirt and a fashionably scruffy beard explains the real problem with Israel’s separation barrier — its aesthetics.
The 90-second video opens with the young man walking bouncily along a dusty strip of road lined by a chain link fence as he explains that “the world is not crazy about our separation barrier.”
View the full-length Hebrew here; a shortened, subtitled section is below:
“Even though 94 percent of the barrier is actually a fence, and only six percent is a wall, the world calls it a wall. An apartheid wall,” he says. But why? The problem, according to the young man, is the wall’s appearance — which, he asserts, is “the principle reason behind the opposition” to the barrier.
The solution, he says with a wink, is “to fire the designer.” (“Fire the Designer” is the name of the new online video series examining design flaws in various areas of life, of which this video is the second episode.)
The problem, he explains, is that the concrete sections of the barrier run through urban areas, like Jerusalem, and the eight-meter high wall in Jerusalem reminds people of the Berlin Wall, which was “hated by the entire western world.” The Berlin Wall, he adds, was also decorated with graffiti — “just like ours.” So no wonder the world thinks our fence is “evil” and that it should also be dismantled.
“Forget politics!” says the young man, now sipping espresso in a cafe overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City. “The fact is that the government of Israel has stated that the purpose of the fence is to keep terrorists out.” Strolling over to the cafe windows that overlook the picturesque Ottoman-built walls surrounding the Old City, the young man says, with heavy irony, “If only we could find some appropriate local inspiration in another physical barrier that was built to protect the city against dangerous invaders.”
The camera pans over the 500 year-old wall of the Old City, built of golden Jerusalem stone.