A bulldozer menaces a girl with ebony pigtails, who lies in a pool of blood. A boy with an amputated leg balances on a crutch, in a tent city with a Palestinian flag. A dove, dripping blood, perches against blue barbed wire.
Palestinian teenagers painted those images at the request of an Israeli Jewish student at Brandeis University, who said she wanted to use the art to bring the Palestinian viewpoint to campus. But university officials removed the paintings four days into a two-week exhibition in the Brandeis library.
University officials said the paintings depicted only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Lior Halperin, the student who organized the exhibit, said the university censored an alternative view.
Now, Brandeis is embroiled in a debate about how to portray Palestinian perspectives on a campus where 50 percent of the students are Jewish and where passions about the Middle East run deep. Six to a dozen students at the Waltham university complained about the paintings, which were hung on Wednesday and removed Saturday.
The controversy occurs at a sensitive time for the campus, which has angered some students and Jewish groups with the appointment of a prominent Palestinian scholar and with a partnership with Al-Quds University, an Arab institution.