Geneva cancels Palestinian prisoner art exhibition amid claims of Israeli pressure

Geneva cancels Palestinian prisoner art exhibition amid claims of Israeli pressure
An exhibition of Marc Rudin's artwork highlighting the suffering of Palestinian political prisoners jailed by Israel was promptly cancelled by the City of Geneva, amid claims of pressure by the Israeli embassy and pro-Israel groups.
2 min read
01 June, 2023
Palestinian protests against the imprisonment of Walid Daqqa, one of 4600 Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails {Getty]

Geneva has banned an exhibition that highlights the suffering of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, just days before its scheduled start.

The exhibition was set to be held from May 25-27. It was a collaboration between the Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun and the Rouge secour organisation, a group that works to highlight the plight of political prisoners.

However, two days before the event was scheduled to be held, the head of the venue, the Almacen, contacted Samidoun and told them that the City of Geneva municipal authority had intervened to cancel the event.

The Samidon/Secours rouge exhibition of Palestinian prisoners cancelled by the City of Geneva

The City of Geneva claims the decision to cancel the event was due to them not being fully aware of the nature of the event and that it touched a “sensitive area”.

Samidoun claimed that the City of Geneva had bowed to external pressure from the European Jewish Association and an Israeli NGO. 

“[W]e are told that the cancellation of our exhibition is the result of foreign Zionist organizations, under whose yoke the City of Geneva is placed,” Samidoun wrote on their official website.

Despite the City of Geneva’s denial that they were "not influenced by third parties” in their decision to scrap the exhibition, the popular Israeli news site Ynet News reported that that “pressure from the Israeli Embassy in Switzerland” and “several pro-Israel” groups had played a part in the cancellation.

The City of Geneva has yet to make a statement on these new claims.

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The exhibition was created around the theme of supporting "Palestinian Resistance” and centred on the artwork of the late Swiss Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Marc Rudin.

Rudin’s artwork focuses on the Israeli occupation of Palestine and resistance to it, with several of his works highlighting the plight of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.  He was the PFLP's cover artist from 1979-1991. 

The New Arab reached out to both the City of Geneva municipal authority and the Israeli Embassy in Switzerland for comment.