Members of ‘The Jewish Defense League’ attacked earlier this week a photo exhibition of the German photojournalist Kai Wiedenhöfer ‘depicting the massacres in the Gaza strip during the Israeli Operation Cast Lead’ offensive. The exhibit is being held at the the Modern Art Museum of Paris.The employees of the museum explained that a group of people equipped with masks and motorbike helmets tried to reach the gallery to sabotage the exhibition, when museum security blocked their access.
However, the extremists also attempted to vandalize many works displayed alongside the Museum, including paintings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Marc Chagall, witnesses reported.
After the attempted attack, the group disrupted the visitors’ entrance, chanting slogans against museum, and affixed stickers that read: ‘Anti-Zionism=Anti-Semitism policy’, ‘Down anti-Semitism from which it comes’ and ‘Palestinianism asset is the anti-Jewish activism.’
Since the photo exposition was opened at the beginning of November, many French Jews groups, such as CRIF (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) have been asking for its closure, putting pressure on Museum officials, and the city Council, an issue that pushed exhibition organizers to consider closing it before the official closing date in December 5.
Several French human rights associations have been mobilized asking the authorities not to cave under pressure, and demanded extra security measures to avoid another attack.
Wiedenhöfer, who has been retracting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1989, has brought 85 realistic and raw photographs to the exhibition, focusing on two major themes;destruction inflicting on Gaza and Palestinians wounded during the Israeli offensive on Gaza in the winter of 2008–2009 that was dubbed by Israel as ‘Operation Cast Lead’.