Hundreds of French citizens protest Paris museum’s exhibit glorifying Palestinian suicide bombers. To add your voice to the protest, scroll to the bottom.

More than 400 French citizens protested an exhibition at the Jeu de Paume Museum of Contemporary Art in Paris. Titled “Death,” the exhibit features sympathetic photos of Palestinian suicide bombers before they went on their murderous rampages. Both the French government and the museum defended the exhibit, which is scheduled to remain on display through September, as an example of free speech. The Paris demonstrators observed a minute of silence in honor of all Palestinian terrorism victims and were supported by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which calls on the Jewish community “and all friends of Israel and of humanity who fight against terrorism” to demonstrate against the exhibit.


The exhibit contains 68 photographs by Ahlam Shibli which are portraits of terrorists associated with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of Fatah, the Izz Ad-Din Al Qassam Brigades of Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The photos portray terrorists at home with their families and studying in school as children, as well as their mourning families post-death. The exhibit also contains other positive images of terrorists. In addition, alongside many of the photos are captions glorifying Palestinian suicide bombers’ deaths.

One of the photos is of Osama Buchkar, a PFLP operative who killed three people and wounded 59 in a terrorist attack at an open market in Netanya in 2002. The caption to his picture says he “committed a martyr mission in Netanya.” The exhibition refers to Israel as a “colonial power,” Palestinian terrorists as “fighters” and “victims of the Israeli military,” and suicide bombers as “militants” who set out to “assassinate Israelis.”

No sympathy is displayed for the more than 1,000 Israeli terror victims who were murdered by the Palestinian suicide bombers, or the countless others who were wounded or scarred for life by the loss of loved ones. Instead, the killers are cast in sympathetic roles, while Arab Israel Defense Force members are portrayed as mentally disturbed Zionist collaborators. Released Palestinian terrorists who signed documents committing themselves to refrain from future attacks are referred to as imposters.


“This is unacceptable. You have the right to be shocked when an apology for terrorists is made in the heart of Paris,” said Roger Cukierman, president of CRIF, France’s leading Jewish group. “And to think this is a state-funded museum. There must be more vigilance. One minute France is fighting terrorists in Mali, and then celebrating the same ones here,” he added. And, since it is funded by the state, Cukierman has protested the exhibit to France’s Culture Minister, Aurelie Fillippetti.

Other prominent members of the Jewish world were equally outraged. “Terrorists should not be deified and held up as ‘martyrs’ in a publicly funded exhibition,” says Joe Hyams, CEO of Honest Reporting. “There is nothing artistic in the glorification and justification of terror, particularly when government money is involved. How is it that taxpayer’s money is being thrown away on promoting organizations that have been designated as terrorist groups by the EU itself? This exhibition should be brought to a close immediately.”

Shimon Samuels, director of international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, also noted that the museum’s official catalog describes convicted Palestinian terrorists as “‘failed martyrs who have yet to achieve their unfulfilled suicide missions.’ This signifies that the formal statements signed by all Palestinian prisoners detained for reasons of security, in return for their exchange or release, that they agree to commit no further terrorist acts, are nothing more than a hoax – a signature with one hand whilst the other is crossed behind their back, revealed as a hypocritical ploy which invalidates their alleged renunciation of violence.” He concludes, “The glorification of suicide bombing on display at the Jeu de Paume museum can only serve to promote violence.”


Who is Ahlam Shibli? An Israeli Arab Bedouin, her camera frequently documents everyday life in Bedouin villages in the Negev and the Galilee. Even though she presently lives in Haifa and has Israeli citizenship, she defines herself as Palestinian. In 2005, Shibli mounted an exhibition of photographs called “Trackers,” which displayed Bedouins who chose to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. According to Shibli, “The project investigates the price paid by a colonized minority to a majority of colonizers, so they can be accepted, change their identity, survive, or perhaps all of this and more.” In 2006, she signed a petition of authors, film-makers, musicians and performers who support a cultural boycott of Israel.


Contact: Aurelie Fillippetti
Phone Number: 01 40 15 80 00
Address: 3, rue de Valois
75001 Paris, France

Dear Minister Aurelie Fillippetti,

As a concerned citizen, I am greatly outraged to learn that an exhibit glorifying Palestinian suicide bombers is being featured at the Jeu de Paume Museum of Contemporary Art, despite the fact that the museum receives money from the French government. While I understand and respect every one’s right to express themselves, glorifying violent acts of terrorism against innocent men, women and children cannot be considered free speech under any definition. Just as Holocaust deniers face prosecution in Germany for expressing their views, people who glorify terrorism should not be given the opportunity to display their opinions in public museums funded by the French government. To allow such an exhibit to proceed is like sanctioning hate speech.


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