French auction house pulls portrait equating Barghouti with Mandela

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A French auction house cancelled the sale of a painting that equates a Palestinian  militant serving multiple life sentences for murder with Nelson Mandela.

The portrait of Marwan Barghouti, a senior PLO official whom an Israeli court in 2002 found guilty of terrorism and murder by planning bomb attacks on civilians, was was pulled last week following complaints by Israel’s embassy in Paris, according to the French-language news site

The painting also contains a text which says that the late Mandela, who spent many years in jail is South Africa for his non-violent fight against apartheid, “was labeled a terrorist in 1950.“

The news site did not name the auction house which pulled the item but reported that the auction was organized by Reporters without Borders, an international non-governmental organization.

Aliza Bin-Nun, who began serving as Israel’s ambassador to France last year, wrote in a letter to the auction house that “Barghouti is a cruel murderer whereas Mandela opposed violence.”

Last month, the medical group Doctors without Borders opened an exhibition at a locale owned by the City of Paris which angered French Jews because it contained posters that glorified Palestinians who killed Israelis. CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, protested against the opening of the exhibition, which CRIF said was biased and risked encouraging violence against Jews.

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