The Jewish Federation of Ottawa is deeply disturbed by an inappropriate exhibit at the Karsh-Masson Gallery at Ottawa City Hall that glorifies Palestinian terrorists. This monument to terror, partially funded by provincial taxpayer dollars, is hurtful to the Jewish community and offensive to any peace-loving person, including non-Jewish Canadian victims of terror.
Within hours of learning about the exhibit, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and its advocacy agent, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), formally registered its concerns and called on the Mayor to remove the exhibit. The Federation has been in constant dialogue with the Mayor’s chief of staff and key city officials who have taken the issue extremely seriously. “The City advised us that it is unable to remove the offending exhibit,” citing deficiencies in its own selection process,” said Jewish Federation of Ottawa President and CEO Andrea Freedman.
“An encouraging outcome from our dialogue has been that the City will immediately undertake a thorough review of their policies and guidelines. The Federation believes that corrective measures are needed to ensure that such outrageous messages advanced under the guise of art are not allowed in the future so that no other community will have to endure this pain. Additionally, the City has distanced itself from the exhibit by posting a disclaimer at the exhibit and on all of its collateral material and we will continue to do so at all future exhibits. We are hopeful that the Mayor will issue a strongly worded public statement condemning the glorification of terrorists,” said Freedman.
Jonathan Freedman, an Ottawa member of CIJA’s board added, “I am here today to speak for my friend Omry Tel-Oren, a talented 14 year old musician murdered on his way home from a day at the beach with his family by Dalal Mughrabi and her fellow terrorists, who are venerated in the exhibit. This exhibit is an affront to all citizens of Ottawa. The exhibit lauds terrorists responsible for the murder of countless innocent Israeli civilians and is therefore a clear impediment to a peaceful and constructive dialogue.”
The Jewish Federation of Ottawa fully supports the Charter right to free expression, but believes this exhibit has crossed the line of what is acceptable in our society. We will continue to monitor the situation, keep the community informed and work proactively with the City of Ottawa to ensure such a travesty can never occur again.