Arab figures in Paris against an exhibition on the Jewry of Islamic countries

An international exhibition on the history and culture of the Jews of Islam, presented by its organizers as the largest on the subject ever held, has met with protests and threats from the boycott movement against Israel – but also from Arab intellectuals. The exhibition “Eastern Jews” is held in a precedent-setting way at the Arab World Institute in Paris, in which the French government participates but is largely funded entirely by Arab countries. Its organizers tried to lower its profile when it came to advertising in Israel and the Jewish world, for example, so for example they did not invite official representatives and Israeli and Jewish media to the opening events and related events and did not pass on information about them, but it did not really help.

More than 200 Arab intellectuals, artists and public figures, including Lebanese writer Elias Khoury, Palestinian director Elia Suleiman and Tunisian musician Anwar Braham, protested, among other things, that six exhibits from the exhibition were borrowed by Israeli institutions – Israel Museum, Yad Ben Zvi And the Government Press Office, and 24 other exhibits from the private collection of William Gross of Tel Aviv.

“Cooperation with Israeli institutions involved in taking over Palestinian and Arab-Jewish culture is a betrayal by the Arab World Institute and an agreement on the immoral use of art as a political weapon that legitimizes colonialism and oppression – and deliberate confusion between Arab and Eastern Jews and the Israeli occupation regime.”

Jewish bodies, for their part, criticized the exhibition for swallowing up the elimination of Jewish culture in Arab countries upon the expulsion of Jews from there after the establishment of the State of Israel, and forged a false idealization of Arab-Jewish coexistence there.

The president of the institute and the initiator of the exhibition is former French Minister of Culture Jacques Lang. French President Emmanuel Macron, who attended the limited opening ceremony (due to corona restrictions), said it was an “extraordinary rate of coexistence and exchange between monotheistic religions, enriching them and their identities mutually” versus “the dark factors then and now.”

By Editor

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