French auction house pulls portrait equating PLO’s Barghouti, Mandela


(JTA) — A French auction house canceled the sale of a painting that equates former South African President Nelson Mandela with a Palestinian  militant serving multiple life sentences for murder.

The portrait of Marwan Barghouti, a senior PLO official whom an Israeli court found guilty of terrorism and murder in 2002 for planning bomb attacks on civilians, was pulled last week following complaints by Israel’s embassy in Paris, according to the French-language news site

The painting also contains a text saying that the late Mandela, who spent many years in jail in South Africa for his nonviolent fight against apartheid, “was labeled a terrorist in 1950.”

The news site did not name the auction house that pulled the item but reported the auction was organized by Reporters without Borders, an international nongovernmental organization.

Aliza Bin-Nun, who began serving as Israel’s ambassador to France last year, wrote in a letter to the auction house that “Barghouti is a cruel murderer whereas Mandela opposed violence.”

Last month, the medical group Doctors without Borders opened an exhibition at a locale owned by the City of Paris angering French Jews because it contained posters that glorified Palestinians who killed Israelis. CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, protested against the opening of the exhibition, which CRIF said was biased and risked encouraging violence against Jews.

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