The Queens Museum has reversed its decision to cancel an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nation's 1947 vote for the establishment of the State of Israel. The museum's cancellation of the event was widely condemned following a report by The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed the move, after putting pressure on the museum to maintain the original agreement for the event, stating that "any attempt to discriminate against Israel is completely unacceptable and we will continue to fight against such injustices. We look forward to proudly celebrating this historic UN decision.”
Earlier on Wednesday, in response to the article by the Post, The Queens Museum stated that “the Museum is reconsidering its decision and has reached out to the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations to further discuss the event later today.”
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind called to stop funding the Queens Museum following the report of the event's cancellation. “The State of New York has made it clear that the BDS movement is unacceptable,” said Hikind. “I am calling on members of the NYC Council who have funded the Queens Museum—Council Members Vallone, Grodenchik, Crowley and Koslowitz among them—and Queens Boro President Katz to pull their support of this museum until this blatant anti-Semite Ms. Raicovich is removed.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer also condemned the cancellation of the enactment and called on the museum to reverse its decision, saying that it “sends the wrong message to Jewish communities across New York City.”
“At a time when we literally have neo-Nazis marching in American streets, when bigotry is on the rise, the Queens Museum has sent a disappointing message to New York City and the world," the New York City Comptroller added.
Councilman Rory Lancman and State Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz called for the Human Rights Commission to investigate the cancellation of the event. In a joint statement they said, “It is a clear example of antisemitism, and we will not stand for it. We demand the Queens Museum board reinstate this important ceremony." They called the cancellation a, “disgrace and a violation of law.”
The event, initiated by Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon, was intended to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the historic vote in its original place: the main gallery of the museum, which hosted the UN General Assembly at the time of the vote.
Preparations for the event had begun, but as news outlets, including The Jerusalem Post, made the plans public, the same museum official begun expressing concerns about feedback received from “Palestinian friends of the museum.” After weeks with no communication with the Israeli Mission, the President and Executive Director Laura Raicovich notified Danny Danon this week that she was cancelling the event. In her note, Raicovich cited a board decision not to hold a “political event.”