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Egypt Cancels Exhibition of Art Treasures That Had Been Scheduled for U.S. Museums

Spokesmen for two American museums said yesterday that they were disappointed but could understand why the Egyptian Ministry of Culture has postponed indefinitely the loan of 43 ancient art treasures from the Cairo Museum which were to have gone on exhibition in the United States next month. The exhibition, spanning 3000 years of Egyptian art, was to have opened at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on April 23, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York next August and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the spring of 1971. The Egyptian Minister of Culture Sarwat Okasha, cabled the Boston Museum that it would be preferable “to postpone the exhibit until a happier atmosphere prevails.” Thomas P.F. Hoving, director of the Metropolitan Museum, received a letter from an Egyptian cultural official stating that it would be “judicious” to postpone the exhibit “in view of the extremely tense and difficult political circumstances in which we all find ourselves.”

The Brooklyn Museum which is considered to have the finest Egyptian collection in America, announced that it has cancelled a projected archaeological study tour to Egypt this spring. The Museum apparently responded to Jewish community pressure. Rabbi Harold H. Gordon, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis urged cancellation in a letter several months ago to the President of the Brooklyn Museum, John R. Blum, Jr. He referred to Egyptian hostility toward the United States and observed, “Would it not appear, too, that the Brooklyn Museum, in the midst of the world’s largest Jewish community, would be saying by such a move that it has little regard for a large segment of this city against whom and against whose brethren Mr. Nasser is constantly waging war?” Similar letters were sent to Mr. Blum by other Jewish community leaders.

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