Museum of Tolerance

Jerusalem votes ‘yes’ to controversial tolerance centre

Opponents appeal for foreign help to save Muslim graves

The fight to move the site of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Museum of Tolerance from a Muslim cemetery is not over yet, although its opponents have exhausted all legal options in Israel. In June, the city council approved the renewal of the building contract, after ten years had elapsed since it was signed. Six of the 31 council members voted yes, but most abstained or were absent.

The majority of left- and right-wing parties oppose building on the site: the left for political reasons, to be sensitive to the Muslim community, and the right for religious reasons—because the site contains graves, says Meir Margalit, a member of the council representing the Meretz Party. “The only remaining option is asking our European and American allies to help; only political pressure can now make a difference. The Europeans will not let this pass in silence. There was a plan last year to build a courthouse on an adjacent property, but the courts responded to European pressure after graves were found there and changed the location, so we know there is [a] precedent.”

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'City votes ‘yes’ to controversial tolerance centre'

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 238 September 2012