Palestinian childrens’ art finds new venue in Oakland after museum censorship

The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) has found a new venue for an exhibit of Palestinian children’s artwork from Gaza, less than two weeks after the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland (MOCHA) apparently caved to pressure by local and national pro-Israeli lobby groups to cancel the show.

In a press release, MECA stated:

As promised, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) presented “A Child’s View From Gaza” on the scheduled opening date, September 24, 2011. The art exhibit opened in the courtyard outside of the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) in Oakland to a tremendous crowd of supporters.

“A Child’s View from Gaza” features the work of young Palestinian children who lived through Israel’s attacks in the winter of 2008-09 — which killed approximately 1,400 people, including several hundred children — and have used art therapy to process their trauma and grief.

On Saturday, 24 September, the day that the art exhibit was planned to open at MOCHA, more than 500 people — led by a marching band — stood outside the museum carrying the childrens’ artwork in their hands, celebrating the young artists and their freedom of expression. 

During the event, MECA’s executive director Barbara Lubin announced that the exhibit had found a new venue — a bigger, better gallery space just around the corner from MOCHA. Days earlier, Lubin said that MOCHA board members had told her that they would consider putting the show back on at their museum, but it would have to be “modified.”

In response, MECA stated that: 

We at MECA made a commitment to the children of Gaza to share their experiences and perspectives, and consider any modifications to the art exhibit as a form of censorship. Children everywhere deserve to be heard, but we have an even greater responsibility to listen to the stories of children under siege and who survived Israel’s brutal military assault in 2008-2009. 

MECA made a video of Saturday’s grassroots protest against the censorship of the exhibit:

Ziad Abbas, associate director of MECA, says in the video:

Here we are, the people are raising their voices, people are coming to the exhibition, and this is an amazing moment. No to censorship, no to silencing the Palestinian people, the Palestinian children. This is a moment for justice.

The gallery is located at 917 Washington Street in downtown Oakland. MECA is looking for volunteers to staff the gallery during opening hours (which will be posted on their website soon) over the next two months. You can call them at 510-548-0542, or visit for more information.




These pieces of art should be printed onto t-shirts, sold on the net and proccedes going to Gaza in some way. I know I'd wear them. Censor that !


BRILLIANT idea! I would wear one too! I know we could sell them on campus at DePaul! MECA??? Are you listening? This is a great fundraising opportunity and gets the art SEEN :)


MOCHA's censorship of Palestinian children's artwork has inspired a SF middle school teacher to create a social studies unit on censorship using what happened at MOCHA as a case study. Her class will be traveling across the bay to visit the exhibit and write about it. Thank you, MOCHA. Your attempt to silence the voices of Gazan children has created more awareness in our schools about the terrible siege and the Israeli lobby that keeps the American public from knowing about it.


Zionists don't seem to think it is bad for the Jews when Israel arrests, shoots, and bombs Palestinian children, but they think it is bad for the Jews if the world knows about it.

As a 71-year-old US-born Jew, I'm sorry to say I've concluded that Zionists are, you should pardon the expression, meshugana.

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).