ONE OF the photos in the exhibit ‘Fifty Years: Fifty Portraits of Palestinians Born in 1967.’.
(photo credit: ORIT SIMAN TOV/COURTESY B’TSELEM)
Israel criticized the European Union’s Embassy in Tel Aviv for planning to host a reception for Thursday’s opening in Jaffa of a photographic exhibit entitled “Fifty Years: Fifty Portraits of Palestinians Born in 1967.”
“For reasons that are not clear, the EU believes the path to Israel’s heart is by spitting in its face,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said.
“We are again witnessing the patronizing attitude of [the EU’s] hypocritical moral preaching, which creates distance rather than closeness,” he said.
“This is sad and unnecessary,” he added.
The exhibit was created by the Left-wing group B’Tselem. Curated by the Maayan Sheleff, it features the work of Israeli and Palestinian photographers.
Their images include a diverse selection of 50-year-old Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, who are bound by the fact that they have lived their whole life “under occupation,” B’Tselem spokesman Amit Gilutz said.
He invited the exhibition’s opponents, including right-wing politicians and foreign ministry spokespeople to visit the exhibit.
This way “they can look at the faces of the people born in 1967, whose human rights Israel has denied for the past 50 years,” Gilutz said.
The EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret will attend the reception, which is just one of a number of EU events in the coming days to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Although the EU has funded B’Tselem activities, it has not financially supported the exhibit.
The EU had no response to Israel’s criticism.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said in response, “I am so not surprised by the connection between the EU and B’Tselem.
“These are two organizations that have bought the Palestinians’ spin – two organizations that incite against Israel,” Regev said in a video message she posted on her Facebook page.
“A million pictures won’t change the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state and that Judea and Samaria are portions of the land of Israel that have been freed,” she said.
While Israel and the EU enjoy close economic, cultural and scientific ties, they are often at odds diplomatically on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The government and right-wing politicians have been particularly frustrated by the EU’s funding of left-wing organizations focused on pushing for Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.
Giaufret similarly angered right-wing politicians when he declared in September that he did not plan to attend Israel’s formal national ceremony celebrating 50 years of settlement activity, that was held in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.