The Israeli municipality of Haifa will remove from an exhibition a sculpture representing the clown symbol of McDonald’s chain crucified in the manner of Christ, a work that has outraged Christians, she said Thursday.
Mayor Einat Kalisch Rotem said on Facebook that the work entitled “McJesus” would be removed “as soon as possible” from the art museum where it has been presented since August as part of an exhibition questioning religion and consumerism.
Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for the municipality did not specify whether it had already been won Thursday.
“McJesus”, created by Finnish artist Jani Leinonen in the characteristic red and yellow colors of the fast-food chain, has provoked the excitement of Christians since images of the exhibition began circulating recently on social networks .
Three policemen were injured by stones thrown on January 11 during a demonstration of worshipers in front of the museum, according to the police.
Christian leaders have asked a Haifa court to order the withdrawal of “McJesus”. Minister of Culture Miri Regev also called for her withdrawal.
The mayor sought to dissociate the withdrawal from the controversy. She published a copy of the loan agreement to mean that the work had to be returned to Finland by the end of the month anyway.
“We regret the suffering felt by the Christian community in Haifa, as well as the physical injuries and violence that followed,” she said.
“On the other hand, we believe that freedom of expression is one of the cornerstones of democracy,” she added.
Wadie Abu Nassar, a spokesman for the Holy Land Churches, said the exhibition was not appropriate for Israel, and spoke of “affront” to Arabs and Christians.
According to him, 130,000 to 140,000 Christians, members of the Arab minority, live in Israel.
The campaign surprised the artist himself, who said he demanded in September that the museum withdraw his work in order to “protest human rights violations committed in Israel”. He reiterated his request on the occasion of this controversy.
“Israel is openly using art exhibitions like this one and culture in general as a form of propaganda to whitewash or justify its regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people,” he said. writes Monday in a statement to AFP.
The spokeswoman for the museum replied that “McJesus” had been lent by a Finnish gallery and that the latter had never asked for the withdrawal of the work.