PARIS (JTA) — French Jews accused Doctors without Borders of glorifying Palestinian terrorism in a photo exhibition in Paris that opened with municipal assistance.
Titled “In Between Wars,” the medical group’s exhibition on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict opened Dec. 23 at the Maison des Metallos, a cultural space that belongs to the municipality and is funded by the local government, despite a request by Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities. CRIF had asked the municipality of Paris to deny its facilities for the exhibit.
The exposition “can only augment anti-Semitic violence and the terrorist threat,” CRIF wrote in a statement.
On Twitter, Cukierman wrote: “We are crying still for 130 dead but for Doctors without Borders, terrorist are martyrs. Shocking.” He was referring to the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris by Islamists.
The exhibition features pictures and informational text. According to the text, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute began with Zionism’s “goal of creating a Jewish state in Palestine.” The term Zionism refers to the British Mandate of Palestine, but in France today is mostly used to designate the West Bank and Gaza.
Part of the exhibition focuses on a 26-year-old West Bank resident who has been incarcerated in an Israeli jail three times and whose brother is still imprisoned. His father also was jailed, as were all his uncles, one of them for life – a penalty that is usually given for murder. The text does not say why they were imprisoned but described Israeli jails as having “degrading, humiliating” conditions and torture.
One photo shows the Arabic-language poster of a Palestinian terrorist who died in an attack on Israelis; he is described as a martyr.
The exhibition also focuses on Doctors Without Borders’ work in Gaza following Israeli strikes. It mentions neither Hamas’ targeting of Israeli civilians or the terrorist group’s use of Gaza medical facilities to fire rockets on southern Israel.
Mego Terzian, the president of Doctors without Borders, told the AFP news agency he “understands the controversial nature” of the exposition, but added that Cukierman “acted irresponsibly” and his accusations “are outside the norms of public discourse and unacceptable.”