The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Professor creates ‘Zion’ at Pollock Gallery

For an unknown reason even to this day, Russian authors forged a document said to be a transcription of a speech that describes a Jewish plot on world, media and financial domination and an outline to replace traditional social order. The document was originally published in 1905 and the Russian title can literally translate into “The Protocols of Zion.”

This past Monday, over a century later, Noah Simblist, assistant art professor at Meadows, opened an art exhibit at the Pollock Gallery also titled “The Protocols of Zion” that is similarly a hoax like the one before it, but with a much different end in mind.

The fictional setup for the exhibit is based on the idea that several SMU students were members of the New Elders of Zion, a group attempting to bring about the Christian end of days by supporting politics, and by hidden artifacts in their dorms that were recently uncovered. The fictional Dr. Nisam Hosblat (an anagram for Noah Simblist), a character from Hebrew University, put together the exhibit with the help of Simblist. The “artifacts” displayed include symbols, posters, literature and audio recordings that demonstrate an anti-Muslim bias and support for Zionism.

The work in the exhibit consists of modern abstract art much like Suprematism. This art style based on geometric shapes on white background is all exhibited under Simblists’ name. He uses colors such as blue, of the Israeli flag, green and black, a color often representing Islam and red, a symbol of Arab nationalism as well as six-pointed stars, swastikas and crosses. He says the exhibit is his own experiment on the ability abstract art has to make an impact on its viewers.

The first Protocols led to anti-Semitism around the world. Even Hitler used it to justify his treatment of Jews. But of course Simblist did not create the exhibit to support the claims of the original Protocols.

“I hope [it] provokes some questions about the historical and contemporary relationship between religion and violence and war; about the trend toward xenophobic anti-Arabism and anti-Islam sentiments in a post 9/11 world, and most importantly the conflict that results between universal truths about ownership of land – specifically the biblical land of Israel and Jerusalem,” says Simblist.

Simblist also says he hopes the exhibit begs the question, “How do we reconcile divine right with human rights?”

The dialogue he hopes to begin on the SMU campus will be supported by a discussion panel on Nov. 29 with professor Rick Halperin from the history department and professor Mark Chancey from the religious studies department.

“I do think that these questions are important to address right now, both in terms of the current war and also in advance of the arrival to the Bush Library – an event that will bring the decisions of this administration right here to our front doorstep,” says Simblist.

“Protocols of Zion” will run until Dec. 1 in the Pollack Gallery at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

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