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Spain museum alters name of Palestinian programme after criticism

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Spain museum alters name of Palestinian programme after criticism
A woman walks past the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid. Photo: Gabril Bouys/AFP

Madrid's Reina Sofía museum said Thursday it had changed the name of a pro-Palestinian programme that the Israeli embassy and the Jewish community said furthered a narrative calling for Israel's extermination.

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The museum, one of Spain's most visited which is home to Pablo Picasso's historic Guernica painting about the horrors of war, had controversially called the programme "From The River To the Sea" - 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. Some Jewish groups see it as calling for the destruction of Israel.

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In a statement, the museum said it had renamed the programme "Critical Thinking Gatherings, International Solidarity With Palestine" since the original name was considered "offensive to certain communities".

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 and genocide", according to the museum's website.

Spain's FCJE, an umbrella body representing the Jewish community, had denounced the original 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.

Spain has been one of Europe's most critical voices about Israel's Gaza offensive and is working to rally other European capitals behind the idea of recognising a Palestinian state.

The Gaza war began on October 7th when Hamas militants stormed across the border into southern Israel.

The unprecedented attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Militants also seized about 250 hostages, 128 of whom Israel estimates remain in Gaza, including 36 the military says are dead.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched a blistering retaliatory offensive that has killed more than 35,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

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