Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Gripe With the Museum of Tolerance

A Guest Post By E. Fink

I really like the Museum of Tolerance. The overall message of the museum is a message that I wholeheartedly agree with.

Tolerance is a very important value in my worldview and the museum does a super job teaching that message.

(For a more complete review of the museum read my previous post on my blog: My Visit to the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.)

There was one thing I noticed, or rather, did not notice that I find necessary to question and perhaps even criticize.

For all the talk and exhibits representing the horrors of racism, prejudice and segregation there was something missing. I could not help but imagine myself as a (hypothetical) average liberal, civil rights activist visiting the museum.

I am sure I would be impressed with the exhibits and their message. There is a possible segregation issue in one region of the world that is intimately related to the MOT. In fact this area is mentioned in various museum exhibits. Yet nowhere is the important civil rights issue mentioned or explored.

The region is the Middle East and specifically I am referring to Israel.

Objectively speaking, there is a level of segregation on Israel. There is a more privileged class and a less privileged class. The Jewish Israelis are the privileged class. They control the policies and laws of the country. The less privileged class are the Arab Muslims in general and in particular the Palestinians living in Gaza.

There is a wall that separates Israelis from Palestinians. There are laws that prevent some services and benefits from Gaza. In essence there is a level of segregation.

Of course, supporters of Israel explain that these measures are not segregation - they are protection. They will explain that these policies are justified. That may be true. But on its face, the situation certainly has an appearance of intolerance or racism.

I wish the Museum of Tolerance would have dealt with this issue. It should be presented and rebutted to the best of their ability. If it cannot be rebutted the museum should not be ashamed to admit that. Its omittance seems problematic to me.

The issue is in fact at the forefront of many humanitarian groups. The UN takes it very seriously as well. I would have loved to see a well reasoned, clearly articulated, intelligent response.

Instead I got nothing.

I like the museum a lot. On this issue they can do better. A lot better.


Search for more information about segregation at 4torah.com.

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