When Vandalism Turns into Advocacy
Last Wednesday, April 24th, a group of graffiti artists stood in front of Rutgers Hillel on College Avenue, and encouraged students to spray-paint with them on a 20-foot mural to show their support for Israel. This group of artists had originally gone to express themselves through their art on security walls in the West Bank, and ended up falling in love with the country, a feeling I can understand very well. Their Facebook page description explains that they use “the powerful and universal messages of art to educate, support, and provide awareness about Israel.”
It has been one week since the Positively Israel: Artists 4 Israel event has passed, but I still cannot stop thinking about it. I personally had an amazing time at the event, and it wasn’t only because of the warm weather, free food, fun music, and good company. This was more than the normal Rutgers Hillel Israel events- it was a way to express support for Israel that would attract and intrigue ANYONE passing by, and not just those who already support Israel. By being located on a well-populated street, it forced students who may have had no prior knowledge about Israel to ask questions. However, at times I worried that the goal of raising awareness and messages of support to Israel wasn’t apparent enough, as it seemed that many students participated without fully understanding what the event truly was about. Perhaps, however, it is better to be more subtle about it and to engage students with fun and interesting activities such as having the chance to spray-paint so as not to overwhelm them, and if they want to ask questions about Israel, they were free to do so without feeling pressured.
At the end of the day, it truly was a refreshingly new and unique way for us to express our love and support of Israel, as well as to engage new students that wouldn’t have been involved in an Israel-related event otherwise. If the event enlightened even just one student about Israel, then it was a total success.
(Laura Faiwiszewski 15′)