Hamline News

“Visit Palestine”: Expropriating the Promised Land

Rebekah Marzahn, Advisor: Aida Audeh

This presentation develops an art historical perspective concerning twentieth-century understandings of American-Israeli/Palestinian relations through the historical and theological concept of Manifest Destiny and its related ideology of “America as the New Promised Land.” To do so, this research examines a 1936 poster entitled Visit Palestine and its expropriation within present day visual culture. This presentation first examines the concept of Manifest Destiny and its connection to both Christian Zionism and the American landscape tradition through the nineteenth-century painter Frederic Church and his work entitled Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Secondly, this presentation examines the visual connection between Church’s work and the use of landscape in Franz Krausz’s 1936 Visit Palestine poster. This portion also includes an inspection of the political and cultural climate of the Second World War and its connection to various Zionist movements in America that fostered the creation of Krausz’s original conception of the Visit Palestine poster. This leads to the examination of the 1995 reprint of the Visit Palestine poster by graphic artist David Tartakover and his artistic-political statements within present-day Israel. Finally, this presentation examines the continued presence and use of the Visit Palestine poster in present-day Palestine and its connection with American Christian tourism. In so doing, this research opens avenues for examining the lingering effects of American Orientalism and the continuation of Manifest Destiny-related undertones stemming from an historical landscape tradition.