Moral Outrage
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Simon Wiesenthal Center to be built on Muslim cemetery

A coalition of four Jewish groups, backed by a wide array of peace and justice organizations, held a demonstration outside the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in New York, denouncing the organization’s opposition to the Islamic community center in lower Manhattan.

Demonstrators walked in front of the museum in midtown Manhattan, chanting “Islamophobia isn’t pretty, it has no place in New York City” and “Islamophobia is a shame, New Yorkers say not in our name.”

“If you’re going to put tolerance in your name, you got to put it in your game, and the Museum of Tolerance has not done that,” Jon Moscow, an activist with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, told members of the press.

Demonstrators also harshly criticized the center’s decision to build a Jerusalem branch of the Museum of Tolerance on top of a centuries-old Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, known as the Mamilla cemetery.  They said that the center’s project, which has resulted in the “disinterment of hundreds of graves,” according to the Center for Constittional Rights is another example of the center disregarding the rights of Muslims.

“I’m just going to take a minute to tell you a new definition of a Yiddish word called ‘chutzpah.’ … It refers to brazen nerve,” said Richard Levy, a lawyer working with the Center for Constitutional Rights on a petition filed with several international bodies to halt the construction of the museum in Jerusalem.

“This cemetery, which stands in West Jerusalem for a thousand years, is now subject to the bulldozer of this organization. So that’s the meaning of the word chutzpah: to say you stand for tolerance, and perform that kind of an act, is the most despicable kind of hypocrisy.”

One Response to “Simon Wiesenthal Center to be built on Muslim cemetery”

  1. Columbia University professor and author Rashid Khalidi, whose ancestors are buried at Mamilla (Ma’man Allah), was a studio guest on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.

    It was brought out that the Mamilah cemetery, located within the grounds of West Jerusalem’s Independence Park, dates back to at least the 12th century.

    Khalidi: “Ma’man Allah is much more than an “old Islamic cemetery”. It is rapidly becoming a purloined cemetery. And what does Israel’s Supreme Court have to say on the matter of the Case of the Purloined Cemetery?

    “On February 10, Israel’s highest Court gave final clearance to the city of Jerusalem and the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, to build a complex with the grotesquely ironic name, the Center for Human Dignity-Museum of Tolerance.

    “This is a cemetery where people have been buried since the twelfth century. People who fought with Saladin in the Crusades are buried there . . . The Israeli authorities are basically pushing ahead with the desecration of a cemetery that they have been, unfortunately, slowly nibbling away at for over three decades.”

    To watch Amy Goodman’s ten minute video discussion of Ma’man Allah, click below:

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