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Israeli embassy slams top Spanish museum over pro-Palestinian programme

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Israeli embassy slams top Spanish museum over pro-Palestinian programme
A man walks past Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Photo: Gabriel BOUYS/AFP.

Israel's embassy and Spain's Jewish community have expressed outrage over a Palestinian programme at Madrid's Reina Sofia museum, accusing it of furthering a narrative calling for Israel's extermination over the Gaza war.

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"The Reina Sofia museum is hosting a series of activities calling for the annihilation of Israel," the embassy wrote on X, formerly Twitter, a day after the programme started at one of Spain's most visited museums on May 8.

The programme includes lectures, conversations and meetings with Palestinian artists as well as two art installations, all aimed at demanding "an end of the war in Gaza", the museum's website says.

It is controversially called "From The River To the Sea", which has become a rallying cry among Palestinians.

The term refers to the borders of the British Palestine mandate between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea before Israel's establishment in 1948.

It is seen by some Jewish groups as calling for the destruction of Israel.

The Reina Sofia described it as a "poetic slogan used since the 1960s to call for freedom and equal rights for Palestinians", saying it had "no reference whatsoever to the disappearance of the state of Israel".

But Spain's FCJE, an umbrella body representing the Jewish community, denounced the title of the programme.

"This slogan, considered anti-semitic by the US House of Representatives, implies the elimination of Israel and its inhabitants... it also appears on maps at various rallies where Israel is erased," it said in a statement.

The FCJE said the museum programme appeared to be showing that "Israel was carrying out genocide, massacres and ethnic cleansing" in Gaza, warning such allegations could constitute "incitement to hatred and encourage anti-Semitism".

Since the unprecedented October 7 Hamas attacks set off the war, anti-semitic acts had been on the rise in Spain. There have been attacks on Jewish "homes, properties, community centres as well as insults, threats and intimidation," said the FCJE.

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Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Militants also seized hostages, of whom Israel estimates 128 remain in Gaza, including 36 who the military says are dead.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel's blistering retaliatory offensive has killed nearly 35,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

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