Tolerance Museum Digs Up Trouble in Jerusalem

Arab angered as construction of Gehry-designed site disturbs remains
By Michael Roston,  Newser User
Posted Nov 21, 2008 2:59 PM CST
A rendering of the aerial view of the Center for Human Dignity%u2014Museum of Tolerance planned for Jerusalem.   (Simon Wiesenthal Center)
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(Newser) – A parking lot in downtown Jerusalem is the latest battleground in the Arab-Israel conflict, Bloomberg reports, as plans for a museum of tolerance have inflamed tensions after initial construction work uncovered human remains in long-abandoned Muslim cemetery. The Israeli supreme court’s decision to approve the re-interment of Muslims remains has angered Palestinians, with President Mahmoud Abbas calling the plan “very dangerous.”

The director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center—which has engaged architect Frank Gehry to design the site—dismissed concerns, saying that human remains are buried throughout Jerusalem. And while some say the museum could renew Jerusalem’s downtown, others say Gehry’s architectural style will be out of place, and that in such a poisonous political climate, the mission of a “tolerance museum” might be hard to accomplish.