November 20, 2008
Outcry continues against Museum of Tolerance on Muslim cemetery
Controversy has swirled for two years around the Simon Wisenthal Center’s plans to build a Museum of Tolerance, like that in Los Angeles, on top of a medieval Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. Protesters have been out in force since the Israeli high ruled last month that the $250 million facility could be built.
Yesterday, a columnist fro the liberal Israeli daily, Haaretz, editorialized that the museum’s planned location is:
And today a coalition of Jewish peaceniks and the L.A. chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (that ought to fire up the Jewish right) wrote a letter urging Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Center’s dean and founder, to withdraw plans for the Frank Gehry-designed museum:
“Building a ‘Museum of Tolerance’ atop the cemetery, unlike the admirable goal of furthering tolerance and understanding, will only add to the existing pain and suffering of Palestinians and Israelis, irreversibly damage relations between Muslims and Jews worldwide and sow new feelings of animosity and division for generations to come,” CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush wrote.
Some Muslims believe that the cemetery was once the largest Muslim burial ground in Palestine and serves as the final resting place of some of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions. Scholars hold that the cemetery is probably only a few hundred years old. Regardless, I’ve heard a lot more opposition to the museum than support. Add to the field of critics Buzzy Gordon, a former Israeli spokesman, who wrote a column today for The Forward titled “An Intolerable Spot for a Museum”: