A Museum of Tolerance we don't need
The Simon Wiesenthal Center should abandon its plan to build a facility on the site of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.
By Saree Makdisi (LA Times)
February 12, 2010
The Simon Wiesenthal Center's plan to construct an outpost of Los Angeles' Museum of Tolerance atop the most important Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem is temporarily in disarray. This presents an opportunity to call on the center to abandon this outrageous project once and for all.
The site in question is Ma'man Allah, or the Mamilla Cemetery, which had been in continuous use for centuries until 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or driven into flight and their private property, including Ma'man Allah, was handed over to Jewish users.
Like Muslim and Christian sites throughout Israel -- which, as a 2009 State Department report pointed out, implements protections only for Jewish holy sites -- the cemetery has long been threatened. Parts of it have been used as a roadway, parking lots, building sites and Israel's Independence Park. Among the trees in the park, Palestinian tombstones can still be seen, eerily and all too appropriately.
A proper site for a Museum of Tolerance
The Wiesenthal Center's project has been approved by the government and the courts, and will be built on property that is not a cemetery but a parking lot.
By Marvin Hier (LA Times)
February 12, 2010
Listening to the few vocal opponents of our Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem project -- among them the notorious Sheik Raed Salah, leader of the extremist Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel -- you would never know that the Israeli Supreme Court deliberated for almost three years before unanimously rejecting all their claims and authorizing the Wiesenthal Center to begin construction. Just six weeks ago, Chief Justice Dorit Beinish also rebuked those who re-petitioned the Supreme Court for an "abuse of court proceedings," ordering them to pay professional costs.
Still, our opponents would have you believe that in the name of tolerance, our bulldozers actually have invaded the adjacent Mamilla Cemetery, desecrating ancient Muslim tombstones and historic markers.
They don't want you to know the real facts. The museum is not being built on what can rightfully be called the Mamilla Cemetery, but on a three-acre site in the heart of West Jerusalem that, for more than half a century, served as the city's municipal car park. Each day, hundreds of people of all faiths parked in the three-level underground structure without any protest from Muslim religious or academic leaders or interest groups. Additionally, telephone and electrical cables and sewer lines were laid deep below ground in the early 1960s, again without any protest.