In an Open Letter Israeli Museum Directors Call for ICOM to Denounce Hamas

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
In an Open Letter Israeli Museum Directors Call for ICOM to Denounce Hamas

In an open letter a group of Israeli museum directors have called on the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to condemn the October 7 Hamas attack.

Two weeks have passed since the horrific a􏰀ack on Israel started, leaving a horrifying toll of over 1,400 dead, 3,500 wounded, and about 200 kidnapped. Hamas militants crossed the border and brutally attacked communities just inside Israel, resulting in the deaths of women, the elderly, children, and young families. Every day, thousands of missiles fall on Israeli ci􏰁es, targe􏰁ng Chris􏰁ans, Muslims, and Jews equally. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States are among more than 40 na􏰁ons that have categorically denounced Hamas and classified its strategies as terrorist. We value their unflinching denuncia􏰁on of such acts of terror and their persistent support. Their unwavering statements are supported by deeds that demonstrate a change in the way the world views the circumstance, acknowledging the drama􏰁c turn of events that has occurred since last week.

Although we are aware of the cri􏰁ques aimed at Israel, it is crucial to stress that the horrific a􏰀acks carried out by Hamas, backed by Iran, have no excuse, and we vehemently oppose any effort at reasoning them out. Hamas's ac􏰁vi􏰁es amount to nothing less than the heinous murder, rape, torture, and deten􏰁on of defenceless civilians. We demand that ICOM condemn these acts of terror with the utmost fervour.

To be clear: This is not another episode in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have shown themselves to be brutal and inhumane organizations, akin to the Taliban and the Islamic State.

We also want to remind the ICOM community that Israel is a liberal democracy that protects freedom of expression, diversity, and the arts—values that the ICOM community shares, as shown by the most recent revisions to the defini􏰁on of a Museum. These exact ideals are being a􏰀acked by Hamas in their assault on our ci􏰁es and communi􏰁es.

Since the a􏰀ack, museum employees na􏰁onwide have acted in accordance with ICOM’s regula􏰁ons to safeguard the priceless ar􏰁facts, ethnological specimens, and archaeology under their care. The commi􏰀ed personnel at work face risks because of these efforts. In these trying 􏰁mes, Israeli museums also serve society by boos􏰁ng people's spirits and offering space for contempla􏰁on. Their work is far from complete, and we hope the ICOM community will con􏰁nue to support us in defending these important principles.

We sincerely implore the ICOM community to condemn the massacre of defenceless ci􏰁zens by Hamas and to declare a bold stance in support of humanity and liberalism.

Stephanie Cime

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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