Israel's Sweden Envoy Attacks Suicide Bomber Art
Sat January 17, 2004 10:06 AM ET
By Peter Starck and Jeffrey Heller
STOCKHOLM/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel defended its ambassador to Sweden on Saturday after he attacked and damaged a Stockholm art exhibit that made an avant-garde link between a Palestinian suicide bomber and Snow White.
Sweden's Foreign Ministry said ambassador Zvi Mazel had behaved improperly and that it would summon him for talks on Monday.
"He will have the opportunity to explain why he did what he did," Catherine von Heidenstam, chief of protocol at the Swedish foreign affairs ministry, told Reuters.
"Snow White and the Madness of Truth" was created by expatriate Israeli artist Dror Feiler, an activist in Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, a Stockholm-based group opposed to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The artwork consisted of a rectangular basin filled with red fluid. A boat floated on top carrying a portrait of Hanadi Jaradat, who killed herself and 22 Israelis in an attack on a restaurant in the northern Israeli city of Haifa in October.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the piece glorified the bomber. Israel Radio quoted Feiler -- who has also composed works of music with titles such as "Shrapnel" and "You Are Dead" -- as accusing the ambassador of vandalism.
Mazel said he saw red when he came upon the artwork on Friday while visiting an exhibition in Stockholm's Historical Museum tied to an international conference on genocide coming up in Sweden later this month.
"RIVERS OF BLOOD"
"My wife and I stood there and began to tremble," Mazel told Ynet, the Internet site of Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
"There was the terrorist, wearing perfect makeup and sailing placidly along the rivers of blood of my brothers and the families that were murdered."
He said he ripped out electrical wires attached to spotlights illuminating the exhibit and that one of fixtures fell into the basin.
In a statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the Swedish government had promised not to link the conference with the Middle East conflict.
"The exhibit that glorified the actions of a suicide bomber who murdered 22 people is a violation of that understanding, and if it is not removed, Israel will reconsider its participation in the conference," the ministry said.
Kristian Berg, the museum's director, said he realized the installation might have been emotional for Mazel, but that destroying art was unacceptable: "If you don't like what you see, you can leave the premises," he told SR.