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Sharon Praises Ambassador’s Art Attack

Calling it an “act against growing anti-Semitism,” Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon on Sunday thanked his country's ambassador to Sweden for wrecking a work of art depicting a Palestinian suicide bomber as Snow White.

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The controversial work of art has been restored.

According to news reports, Israeli Ambassador Zvi Mazel had turned off several spot lights around the installation, which is entitled "Snow White and the Madness of Truth" and includes the picture of the terrorist on a boat that floats in a pool filled with red water. Trying to submerge the boat, he also threw one spot light in the basin, shouting that the work was glorifying murder and endorsing further terrorist attacks.

Zvi Mazel Israels Botschafter in Schweden

Zvi Mazel in an archive photo.

“My whole body was shaking when I saw the assassin depicted as Snow White,” Mazel (photo) later told reporters, adding that he had planned the vandalism as an act of protest and would repeat it if necessary.

Artist denies anti-Semitic motivation

The work’s creator, Dror Feiler, an Israel-born artist who emigrated to Sweden in the 1970s, rejected accusations that he wanted to endorse terrorist attacks. Mazel had completely misunderstood the aim of the project, he said.

“Every rational person should have been able to see that we wanted to express the pain over the blood-letting on both sides,” said Feiler, who belongs to an organization called “Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.” He added that a plate next to the installation stated that the woman, Hanadi Jaradat, had killed 21 innocent people when she set off a bomb at a restaurant in Haifa last October.

The installation, which has already been restored, forms part of an exhibition in the Historical Museum in Sweden’s capital Stockholm. The show has been set up in connection with a planned international conference on the prevention of genocide. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected to attend the talks, which will take place at the end of January.

Israel demands removal of installation

While the Swedish Foreign Ministry plans to call in Mazel early next week to voice a formal protest against the vandalism, Israel will not participate in the conference unless the installation is removed from the exhibition, according to the ministry. Kristian Berg, the museum’s director, categorically refused to do this and instead invited Mazel to participate in a public debate about his action.

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Ariel Sharon

Israel’s leader meanwhile expressed his support for the diplomat’s behavior. “I thanked him for standing up against a growing anti-Semitism,” Sharon (photo) said after speaking to Mazel via telephone, adding that his country will intensify its fight against such sentiments. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has also summoned Sweden's ambassador for talks about the incident. Most Israeli newspapers also endorsed the vandalism, saying that Mazel had acted in the name of all of his countrymen. Relatives of victims of terrorist attacks in Israel called on the government to revoke Feiler’s citizenship, according to dpa news service.

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