White City Black City – Sharon Rotbard

pg 2 – … [T]he physical physical shaping of Tel Aviv and its political and cultural construction are intertwined, and play a decisive role in the construction… in that sense, exploring the story of this archtiectural history of Tel Aviv not only reveals some of the true political colours of both modernist and Israeli architecture, but also demonstrates how history can alter the geography. .

pg 3 – THose who have the power to shape the physical space to suit their needs can easily shape it to suit their values and narrative – not only to obtain for their values and narratives a hegemonic stature, but also in accordance with them, to reshape the city. We may formulate this simple state of things in the following paradoxical rule: a city is always a realization of the stories that it tells about itself.

pg 5 – [1920 there was bauhaus] the Bauhaus Philosophy and International style it advocated was built on the premise that it was possible to sculpt a better and more just world. In 1933, Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany and shut down the academy. Its teachers and students were forced to disperse in all directions. The Jews among them fled to Tel Aviv. Filled with eclectic architecture where they revived the Bauhaus style and built themselves a white city

1984 exhibtiion White city with architects – Erich Mendelsohn, Richard Kaufmann, Dov Karmi, Karl Rubin , Zeev Rechter, Aryeh Sharon, Shmuel Mestechkin and Sam Barkai.

pg 6 – The white City exhibition itself became a definig moment in this story (constructing a architectural history of israeli architecture) and today arguably stands as , if no the central reference point for any debate on Israeli architecture.

pg 8 – Esteher Zandberg portrayed the local International style architecture as neither part o a great historical movement nor a revolutionary aesthetic, but primarily as a useful model for everyday city life, as a vehicle to promote values such as usability, economy , modesty, cleanliness, logic and common sense.

pg 13. This use of the memory of word war II could be considered to be part of another similar and even more important tendency in the Israeli culture of the 1980s, the of the ‘Second Generation’. The idea of a second generation of Holocaust survivors consisted of the late discovery of trauma among the descendants of the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust….. In contrast with the general attitude of repulsion, contempt and even disgust manifested by Israeli society towards the Holocaust survivors since the 1940s, the theme of the second generation was adopted by the White Israeli public with enthusiasm [artist and architects took this on board] enabling Israeli society to wallow in self-victimisation…

pg 21 ^^ – The Ideal Tel Aviv in the White city exhibition catalogue: Engel House, planned by Zeeve Recter, mazeh street 1933. The Engle HOuse is beyond doubt the most emblematic international style building in Tel Aviv. Owing to the novelty of the raised building on pilotis, Tel aviv become a ‘town on pilotis’ according to Aryeh Sharon.

pg 27 – The elasticity of these diaporan Jewish identities stems from the Complexity of the European Frontiers, but also from the movement and migration of Jews between these territories. The preference from the Central European (German or Austrian) among emancipated members of the Jewish elite, rather than an Eastern European identity, can be seen as a reflection of the regions perceive cultural hegemony. [essentially the liked german and Austrain Jew from rich places and not eastern jews from poor places]

pg 28 – [Eastern european architecture looks like] a mixture between Berdicheve and Baghdad’ David Shimonovitz

pg 28 – The city’s modern architecture, on the other hand, was sold as distincitly,unequivically Central European. With this in mind, it is worth nothing that even after the rediscover of the Eastern European modern archtiecture in the wake of the dissolution of the Eastern European bloc, there were no attempts to assoicate the international style of architecture in Tel Aviv with the Eastern European style of modernist architecture.

pg 35 – Indeed , Zionism has odten systematically utilized the most contemporary and radical doctrines of the day to shape its living enviroment – it empolyed the International Style of architecture to settle Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas, manipualted the town models of Le Corbusier as a means of dispersing fresh immigaration in the 1950s and 1960s, and utilised postmodernist doctrines in the 1970s in order to entrench a Jewish Majority in the Old City of Jerusalem

pg 52 – All traditional communities – Christian, Muslim and Jewish alike – centre around concepts of good behaviour, with the aim of translating a basic ethos of righteousness and respect into practical interactions with the Other, And this is precisely wehre teh White city narrative, as an extension of Political Zionism and architectural MODernity (both of which are strongly opposed to notions of tradition,) is different. It is also where , as we shall see, all the human and universal promises made under banners of Political Zionism and architectural modernity are ruthlessly dashed. If there is something anthropomorphic in any piece of architecture and if any building is also a fable of the human beings that built it, then the story of Tel Avis white city reveals clearly how, in the sharpwords of toni Morrison ,the Jews became white


Part II – Black City

pg 59 –  The second flaw in the white City Fable is the borderes of reality which frame it . When it becomes impossible to provide political solutions for an existing urban reality and therefore architectural solutions are utilized instead, discourse on that architecture  and that city inevitably become political. In the case of the White City, the narrative appears desperate to confine itself to the architectural, and is heavily reliant on the modernist tradition of the autonomy of artistic discourse as a means of neutralising the political.

pg 60 – Needless to say, one is not expected to pass judgement on oneself, nor is it the job of the municipality to write history – either the history of the city of the history of its architecture. Especially when that history suspiciously slots with great ease in to an existing state system which other tracts of history, geography, archaeology and architecture are all recruited for the ideological education of the population and its army.

pg 61 -after all the pomp and fanfare of the UNESCO celebrations, which were attended by just as many politicians and heads of state as architects and academic commentators, it became clear that the White City story extended beyond any regular discourse on modern architecture and the architecture of Tel Aviv itself. Soon enough, it became part of Tel Avivs official political history and was deemed crucial for understanding the place and purpose of the city within Zionism wider narrative; it told the legend of those warrior ideologues who had rebuilt both the land of Israel and Israeli identity in on fell swoop. As a result, the white city became intrinsically en wrapped in the apologetic of Zionist endeavour on a much grander, state level.

pg 63- The Black City covers everything outside Ahuzate Bayit, represents the city of Jaffa and its environs before the establishment of the state of Israel. The varying shades tell us something about the condition of the orchards after world war 1 , with the lighter areas indicating those plantations which had been damaged, cut down, desiccated or abandoned. Such instances of deterioration had far-reaching consequences because when their Palestinian owners could not economically justify maintaining such unsustainable terrain, Jewish land-agents were on hand to pluck these plots at bargain prices: when the black patches turned white, they also turned Jewish.

pg 64- Everything unwanted in the White City is relegated to the Black City; all the inconveniences of metropolitan infrastructure, such as garbage dumps, sewage pipes … brothers, sex shops, casinos, etc.

pg 81 – Like most other Arab Cities in Palestine During the 19th century, Jaffa housed a tiny Arab-Jewish Minority , who lived in relative harmony beside much larger Arab- Muslim and Arab-Christian Communities. Even though the establishment of Neve Tzedek in 1887 and Ahuzat Bayit in 1909 proved critical in encouraging separatist aspirations and calls for a Jewish nation, Coexistence between Arabs and Jew had continued beside, and in spite of, These fledgling Zionist Settlements…. Any sense of tranquillity was promptly shattered, however, with the British conquest of Palestine in 1917 and the signing of the Balfour Declaration of November 2 that same year. In one fell swoop , this act of betrothal dramatically altered the political horizons for the Jewish population living in the region and for the burgeoning Zionist movement at large.

pg 82 -As in turns out , the Zionist movement would benefit most from the unlikely dalliance (with the British); leaning on the British colonial machine, they were able to lay down a foundational infrastructure for the future State of Israel and prepare logistically for the ware in 1948 which would guarantee their Independence.

pg 82 – Floods of Jewish immigrants arrivign from Easter Europe after world war 1 known as the Third aliya had only increased what wsa fast becoming a serious housing crisis. In the short period of sept 1920 and may 1921 , 10,000 jewish immigrants entered through zion. (why jews wanted arabs out ) .

pg 92 – [British masterplanning when came in to power in 1930 < look up date ]. The ruling British government did more for the country infrastructure that the state of Israel has done in all its years of existence. In may ways, then, Building the state of Israel was actually more of a British project than an Israeli Project.

pg 98 – According to the United Nation’s decision on November 29 , 1947, which divided the country between Jews and Arabs, Jaffa would be granted the special status of an independent palestinian enclave within a future Jewish state. But only five months later, on April 25, Jaffa was attached and by the time it surrendered on may 13, the city had already been massively destroyed…. In the months between the United Nations ruling and the declaration of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948, the country was brought to a state of civil war;

pg 105 – The City’s surrender (Jaffa City) on MAy 13, 1948, thwo days before the founding of the State of ISrael, is politically relevant because it proves that ‘Israel’ (or least the Zionist forces that would soon come to represent Israel) breached the strict terms of the U.N. partition agreement

pg 106. The almost complete disappearance of Jaffa’s Palestinian community, which had constituted roughly 97 percent of the city population as  a whole even in late 1947, was just as unnerving as the city physical destruction.

pg 108 – The Palestinians of Jaffa had been forced into exile in much the same way Jewish communities throughout history had been repeatedly driven from their own homes and villages. And just as in these cases of Jewish expulsion, when the Palestinians of Jaffa were exiled, their culture, economy, government and history was thrown out  with them. Within days the community had melted away, almost as if it had never existed in the first place.

pg 110 – The new state of Israel devoted its energies and resources to bulldozing ancient, Arab jaffa. This involved both the physical overhauling of city spaces and the nullification of those symbols and images which had previously imbued them with charge. All Palestinian social, cultural and historical content was decanted and the empty shell was refilled with a triumphant Zionist mythology.

pg 124 -[[ maybe in with moshe safde work ?]] In November 1962 a govermental-municipal corporation , ‘ahuzat Hahof’ (estates of the beach), was established. The first thing ahuzat Hahof did was to initiate an international open-call competition for the design of the area – bounded by Allenby street in the north-east, Eilat street in the south-west and the coastline adjoining the two. The idea was to encourage planners to make full use of Manshieh’s 2,400 dunams (2.4 sqkm) and include public and municipal buildings, shopping commerec areas, office towers thousand of new homes , centres of leisure and entertainments and open public spaces.

pg 128 – [[power brings architecture]] The cherry on the top of this grisly exercise in pulverisation was the establishment of the Sir Charles Clore Park, which would only be completed in the 1970s. Named after the British financier who had donated large sums to the new state of Israel and design by Hillel Omer, the landscape architect, it was another layer on the flattened mound of what had once been the neighbourhood of Manshieh. Again , Zionism had made the desert bloom ; only this time the grass was artificial and coloured green.

White City, Black City and A Rainbow

pg 158 – The White city story Progress chapter by chapter, decade by decade: in 1984 there was the White city exhibition, in 1994 the Bauhaus in Tel Aviv events, and in may and June 2004 a calendar of celebrations in honour of UNESCO’s declaration of the city as a world heritage site. Once again the city celebrated itself with dedicatory events as Bauhaus-themed publications, Honorary conventions, commemorative ceremonies and guided walking tours all satiated the municipality. News of the UNESCO victory spread thick and fast through an unrelenting stream of catalogues, flags, pins and festive weekend supplements in the local newspaper


pg 161 – Perhaps more than any other architectural tradition, Israeli architecture has a tendencey to reveal its own politics. The story of the international canonization of the White City of Tel Aviv hardly deviates from this rule. THe white City’s Journey , from the lowly exhbition to global certificaiton, even demonstrates how Israeli architecture unveiled, rehashed and manipulated other political economies; in this instance, the poltiics of UNESCO and the poltics of international architecture. From the Israeli stanpoint. the practical meaning of the UNESCO declaration is that TEL Aviv is obliged publicly, vis-a-vis the world, to realize its own designation as a white city… [so] what exactly did Tel Aviv promise UNESCO when it accepted its stamp of approval? Essentially, it promised to be white, to bleach itself clean.

pg 179 – A visit to any public park in the southern neighbourhoods proves that the future is already here; [black city ] the children that play together in Levinksy Park are made up of an eclectic mix of secular Jew, Religious Jews, Palestinians, Russians,Ethiopians,Chine…. Their city has nothing to do with the “white city” narrative. the Ethnic purification programmes which continue to terrorise their neighbourhoods and the families is proof enough that, in contradiction to the claims made by Dani Karavan, the White city has yet to defeat the tenets of Nazism.








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