Danon responds
Queens Museum boycotts Israel

NY Museum where historic UN partition vote took places cancels planned reenactment of vote at behest of pro-BDS director.

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Gary Willig,

Danny Danon
Danny Danon
Yoni Kempinski

After committing to host the official celebration of the 1947 United Nations resolution leading to the creation of the State of Israel, New York’s Queens Museum rescinded their agreement to house the event. In response, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who initiated the event, has called for the dismissal of the Museum’s director, who has edited a book in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

November 29, 2017 will mark seventy years since UN General Assembly Resolution 181 recommending the establishment of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel. In celebration of this milestone, Israel’s Mission to the UN had decided to hold an event in the original UN hall where the vote took place. The building structure, owned by the City of New York, today houses the Queens Museum, which describes itself as a “public museum.”

In June, a Museum official informed Israel’s Mission to the UN that they had reserved the appropriate hall and were looking “forward to a wonderful and meaningful event in its natural setting.” Preparations for the event commenced with the senior UN officials, ambassadors and key dignitaries invited, and over a dozen pro-Israel organizations deciding to partner with the Israeli Mission.

Then, as word of the event became public, the same Museum official expressed concern about feedback they received from “Palestinian friends of the museum.”

After weeks of ceasing to communicate with the Israel Mission, the President and Executive Director Laura Raicovich notified Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon that she was reversing the decision and would no longer agree to host the event. Ms. Raicovich cited a board decision not to hold a “political event.”

“We will not accept this blatant discrimination against the State of Israel and we will not let this decision stand,” said Ambassador Danon. “Celebrating the momentous decision of the UN recognizing the right to a Jewish state in our homeland is not a political event, but rather an expression of the historical and legal rights of our people,” the Ambassador continued.

Ms. Raicovich is the editor of a book entitled “Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency and Cultural Production.” In its description of the book, the publisher states that “Boycott and divestment are essential tools for activists around the globe.” Included in Raicovich’s anthology is an article titled “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: Reasons to Support BDS,” which justifies and endorses the movement’s actions against Israel.

“It is unacceptable for BDS activists to single out Israel and ban our event. I call on the Board of Directors of the Queens Museum to dismiss Ms. Raicovich from her position immediately and honor their commitment to hold this important event,” Ambassador Danon concluded.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) today issued the following statement on the Queens Museum’s decision to cancel a commemoration and reenactment of the 1947 United Nations vote for the establishment of Israel.

“The decision by the Queens Museum is puzzling and it’s bizarre that such an outstanding facility in our borough would pull the plug on a project to celebrate not just the establishment of Israel, but a key piece of Queens history.

"Personally, I do not see how this project is ‘political.’ How is commemorating a major world event that took place in Queens and the U.N’s establishment of one of America’s closest allies political?

"The museum and Israeli Mission already agreed to this reenactment of the U.N. vote, and planning for it was well underway before the museum backtracked.

"The museum should reverse its decision and allow the event to take place as scheduled."