The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has claimed a victory after 12 of 50 photographs were removed from an Israel exhibit in the Mexico City Metro for depicting scenes located over the pre-1967 lines.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Sunday that the photographs had been removed. Israel’s Ambassador to Mexico is slated to meet with Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum on Tuesday to “resolve the issue.” Sheinbaum is Mexico City’s first Jewish and first female mayor.
The 12 photographs depict images of east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, both of which were annexed by Israel. They also included images from Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule.
One of the photographs shows a camel atop the Mount of Olives overlooking the Dome of the Rock, with the modern Jerusalem in the background.
Mexico, along with much of the international community, holds that those territories which Israel captured in the defensive Six Day War in June 1967 are “occupied” and not part of Israel.
The exhibit is part of a number of cultural events sponsored by Israel’s embassy in Mexico that also included films and dance performances.
BDS had objected to all events sponsored by the embassy, including all those relating to sovereign Israel.
“There is an attempt by pro-Palestinian elements to disrupt Israel culture month,” the Foreign Ministry said. “The embassy is working to proceed with the scheduled activities as planned.”
BDS had complained to the Mexico municipality about the exhibit, arguing that Israel’s embassy had falsely claimed that the photographs showed images in Israel.
“The fact that the Israeli embassy lied by presenting those territories as Israeli is no coincidence,” Mahmoud Nawaja’a, general coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) said in statement posted on the BDS website.
“It is part of Israel’s strategy to legitimize its attempts to illegally annex Palestinian and Syrian land,” Nawaja’a said. “We deeply appreciate Mexico City’s swift action and respect of international law.”
Overall, he argued, “The Israeli government routinely uses art and culture to cover-up its crimes against the Palestinian people and violations of international law. We send a heartfelt appeal to Mexico City and human rights organizations in the city to refuse all arts shows or exhibits that are sponsored by the Israeli government or its embassies until Israel respects Palestinians’ full rights.”
Earlier this month, the German parliament ruled that BDS was akin to antisemitism. But countries such as Mexico recognize it as legitimate protest movement.
According to the World Jewish Congress, Mexico has the 14th largest Jewish community in the world, numbering 40,000 to 50,000 people.