US/World News

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 recently following complaints by Israel’s embassy in Paris. 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 auction was organized by Reporters without Borders, an international nongovernmental organization. Aliza Bin-Nun, Israel’s ambassador to France, 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 containing posters that glorified Palestinians who killed Israelis. CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, protested against the exhibition, saying it was biased and risked encouraging violence against Jews.

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