The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Crazy conflict

In my email inbox this morning:

A new Jewish-Muslim initiative is seeking to derail the planned Museum of Tolerance, which is currently being built in Jerusalem on the site of a former Muslim cemetery.

The initiative's hopes to get the site declared ritually impure under Jewish law, due to the fact that the construction has involved unearthing the remains of hundreds of Muslims. Such a declaration would keep religious Jews from visiting the museum.

The proposal has already received the blessing of Rabbi David Schmidl, head of the ultra-Orthodox Atra Kadisha organization, which fights against the desecration of Jewish graves. Its Jewish sponsors - who include two left-wing activists plus one activist from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party - are also seeking support from Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, but he has not yet replied to their letter.

This conflict is nuts. (The organization behind this initiative, ICPRI, does great work. I just mean to highlight the bizarreness of a Museum of Tolerance built on desecrated Muslim graves and the use of purity laws to convince religious Jews to stay away from it.)