Artwork to be removed from iconic Beirut square following 'Israeli infiltration' rumours

Artwork to be removed from iconic Beirut square following 'Israeli infiltration' rumours
The Governor of Beirut has ordered that a cubic art sculpture be removed from Martyrs’ Square, after rumours spread that it was part of an Israeli attempt to infiltrate protests.
2 min read
15 December, 2019
Soldiers surrounded the sculpture prior to its removal [Twitter]
The Governor of Beirut, Ziad Shabib, has ordered that a cubic art sculpture said to resemble the Star of David be removed from Martyrs’ Square in Beirut following a social media storm over the matter.

Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed TV reported that the sculpture was erected in July 2018 with permission from Lebanese authorities during an art event in Martyrs’ Square, which has recently been a focal point for anti-corruption protests in Beirut.

From the ground, it does not resemble the Star of David, which is one of the national symbols of Israel.

However, a photo of the sculpture was taken from one of the upper floors of the Le Gray Hotel, which overlooks Martyrs’ Square. From above the sculpture, which is made up of several squares, does look like the Star of David.

The artist who designed the sculpture is not Lebanese.

On social media, rumours spread that the sculpture had been erected during the anti-corruption protests, which began in October, and was proof that Israel had “infiltrated” the protest movement, which has called for the resignation of Lebanon’s ruling elite.

Lebanon and Israel have been technically at war since 1948.

In 2006, a major conflict broke out between Israel and Hezbollah. Hundreds of civilians were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon at the time and occasional clashes still occur between Israel and Hezbollah, which has also opposed the anti-corruption protests.

A spokeswoman for the company which erected the sculptures told Al-Jadeed that the company had decided to remove the art sculpture after the rumours of its alleged Israeli symbolism spread, in order to prevent conflict.

On Saturday night, over 130 protesters were injured in Beirut in clashes with security forces. Security forces used rubber bullets against the protesters for the first time since the beginning of the uprising.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay connected