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‘I object to this disgraceful sculpture’: Israeli museum to drop ‘McJesus’ sculpture after protests

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An Israeli museum plans to withdraw a sculpture depicting the McDonald’s mascot as the crucified Jesus following protests which briefly united the country’s Christian minority, its populist culture minister and the pro-Palestinian artist.

The life-sized sculpture showing the Ronald McDonald clown on a cross has been at the center of an exhibition about consumerism and religion. Other pieces depict Jesus and the Virgin Mary as Ken and Barbie children’s dolls.

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Protests became violent on Friday. Police said they arrested one man on suspicion of assault and were searching for two others people who threw firebombs at the Haifa Museum of Art.

Three police officers were hurt as dozens of protesters tried to forcibly enter the museum, police said. Panes of glass along its entrance were smashed. Protests continued on Saturday.

“I object to this disgraceful sculpture,” said Nicola Abdo, a Haifa resident and protester. “As a Christian person … I take deep offense to this depiction of our symbols.”

The mayor of the Jewish-Arab city of Haifa said on Thursday the sculpture would be taken out of the exhibition following consultations with church leaders.

“The sculpture will be removed and returned as soon as possible,” Einat Kalish Rotem tweeted. “We regret the aggravation the Christian community experienced … and the physical injury and violence that surrounded it.”

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She did not say when it would be removed, but it had been due to be returned to the Finnish museum that loaned it last year at the end of the month.

Christian Arabs, who make up around 2 percent of the Jewish majority country’s population, found a champion for their anger in Miri Regev, the culture minister whose censure of art deemed pro-Palestinian has made her a darling of the Israeli right.

Citing the injury to religious sensitivities, Regev had threatened to cut state funds to the museum. Israel’s Justice Ministry slapped her down, arguing she had no such authority.

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The McJesus sculptor, Jani Leinonen, from Finland, had also demanded that the exhibit be removed as he was boycotting Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Others saw in Thursday’s decision a chance for reconciliation.

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“The winner today is the people of Haifa,” said Wadie Abu Nassar, an adviser to local church leaders. “The removal of this sculpture is a reflection our desire to coexist in the city.”

Editing by Alison Williams


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Colbert names Trump’s siege on DC the ‘Tinyman Square’ incident

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It wasn't quite Tiananmen Square, where a still-unknown number of Chinese protesters were murdered by the government in 1989, but it was the closest thing President Donald Trump managed to score this week.

After watching the footage of the military tear gas, beat and shoot at protesters so Trump could march from the presidential bunker to St. John's Church for the cameras.

"It was like Tiananmen Square," Colbert deemed. "Except, in Trump's case, Tinyman Square."

Trump claimed on "The Fox & Friends" that no one was tear-gassed, so it's unclear what was stinging people's eyes and making them cough, choke and tear up. The Park Police released a statement saying it wasn't tear gas. While the moment was captured on video from dozens of different camera angles, one protester actually grabbed a canister of Oleoresins Capiscum, or "OC," the gas that was used.

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Vladimir Putin must love watching the US fall apart: columnist

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New Yorker columnist Susan Glasser made the astute observation that if Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to destabilize the United States with the election of President Donald Trump, he's clearly achieved his objective.

It was reported in March that Russian intelligence services are working to incite violence using white supremacist groups to try and sow racial chaos in the United States ahead of the November election.

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Conservative columnist links all Republicans to the attack on Lafayette Square

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Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump decided to walk across Lafayette Square for a photo-op. To get there, however, it took an outright battle with mounted park police, police covered in body armor and rattled Secret Service members who had just rushed the president to the bunker several nights before. Armed with semi-automatic weapons and military gear, they staged a siege on Lafayette Square against unarmed hippies, woke whites and people of color, again, forced to fight for justice.

Writing for the Washington Post Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot attacked Attorney General Bill Barr, who accepted responsibility for demanding that demonstrators be tear-gassed, beaten and shot with rubber bullets. Like Bull Conor ordering fire hoses on students marching in Birmingham, Alabama, Barr's attack on Lafayette Square for a photo-op proved he is willing to do what it takes to stroke the fractured ego of a president forced to cower in a bunker.

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