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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.

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.”

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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.”

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.

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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.

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.

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

“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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Damning CNN timeline shows how Trump ‘thinks white people matter more than nonwhite people’

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CNN's Brianna Keilar on Monday delivered a damning verdict on President Donald Trump's racist attacks on Democratic lawmakers -- and she backed it up with a timeline of the president's bigoted words and actions.

During a segment about Trump’s weekend tweets, in which he told Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to “go back” to their countries despite the fact that all four are American citizens, Keilar argued that the president's racism is part of a pattern of bigotry that's followed him throughout his life.

"This fits a pattern to the president who has long made it clear that he thinks white people matter more than nonwhite people, even if they're American," she said. "30 years ago he called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, five minority youths who were falsely accused of rape. Trump [is] still refusing to believe their innocence 16 years after they were exonerated."

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MSNBC host says Trump just openly embraced racists: ‘This actually feels different to me’

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On Monday, President Donald Trump went on an unhinged rant against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

In an often rambling question session with reporters, Trump repeatedly told the two Congresswomen to leave America (both are U.S. citizens) if they're so critical of the U.S. and Israel.

MSNBC host Ali Velshi observed that Trump had truly crossed the line and directly appealed to the sentiments of white nationalists.

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MSNBC's @AliVelshi: This time "actually feels different to me. This feels like the president really owning the idea that he's saying things that are attractive to white nationalists and racists." pic.twitter.com/vtK1T3GHuU

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World hunger on the rise with more than 820 million at risk, UN report says

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More than 821 million people suffered from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide last year, the United Nations reported Monday -- the third year in a row that the number has risen.

After decades of decline, food insecurity began to increase in 2015 and reversing the trend is one of the 2030 targets of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

But getting to a world where no one is suffering from hunger by then remains an "immense challenge," the report said.

"The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World" was produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other UN agencies including the World Health Organization.

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