Let’s put this carefully. The idiotic director of Whitworth Art Gallery, Alistair Hudson, has been forced out of his post by Manchester University after getting confused about what an art gallery director is supposed to do and succumbing to the fashionable Corbynesque pastime of Jew-bashing. To me, Ed Glinert, Britain’s most prolific tour guide, author of the incomparable Compendium guides and more, tourism expert, and creator of Manchester as a tourist destination, it’s quite simple – the gallery’s role is to put on exhibitions, get people inside and educate the public on art.
Oh, but not Mr Hudson. No, he thought his role was to tell the world his thoughtless, pointless discriminatory views on Israel. Last summer, the Whitworth put on an exhibition by Forensic Architecture which featured a message falsely accusing Israel of engaging in the “occupation” of Palestine and engaging in “the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian neighbourhoods by Israeli police and settlers”. The gallery stated its “solidarity with Palestine and with decolonisation efforts everywhere”.
The only purpose of such libel in the city region with Britain’s second biggest Jewish community is to foment hatred against Jews, especially considering none of the accusations are in the slightest but true.
In another statement, the gallery claimed: “In 2008, Israel launched a bombing campaign against Gaza.”. This is a blatant lie. As Joshua Rowe, the chairman of Manchester’s King David School, wrote to Hudson: “That is a strange statement which seems to have been allowed to pass without fact checking and stranger still, that you allow it on your website. Israel never launches a war against anyone. It is the Arabs or the Palestinians who launch wars against Israel and then Israel has no choice but to respond in self-defence. It is incredible that your exhibition should be complicit in presenting such a catalogue of simple untruths.”
Why didn’t the gallery comment on China’s policy to the Uighurs or Vladimir Putin’s warmongering or Qatar’s policies on LGBTQ, or indeed Britain’s illegal occupation of Ireland over the centuries? Because us Jews are a soft target that are only in Britain to be discriminated against and mocked. This is what I’ve experienced from the established tour guides in Manchester since I tried to join them in 2009, but I fight back. I contacted the gallery and told them I would not be taking people inside or acknowledging the gallery in my writings. Paul Harris, editor of the Jewish Telegraph, ran a piece and suggested we meet Hudson. The doomed director didn’t know what he was letting himself in for. Paul tore him to shreds, his piece-de-resistance being his recollections of his many interviews with Yasser Arafat himself.
Our side contacted the relevant authorities, brought in m’learned friends and a few months later the university has rightly forced Hudson out and the gallery can go back to what it should be doing – putting on exhibitions, getting people inside and educating the public on art – not getting involved with complicated political subjects it knows nothing about.