DUBAI: Social media users are protesting in droves after it was announced that a hospital in London has removed Palestinian children’s art from a display, following complaints by a UK-based pro-Israel lawyer group.
The displayed artwork at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital was drawn by Palestinian children from Gaza and featured a number of designs, including that of an olive branch and images of Temple Mount with a Palestinian flag.
The artwork, titled “Crossing Borders - A Festival of Plates,” was designed by schoolchildren from two United Nations Relief Work Agency (UNRWA) schools in Gaza — Beit Lahia Girls’ School and the Jabalia Prep Boys’ A School — and was displayed at the children’s outpatients department.
The artwork was removed following a complaint by the UK Lawyers for Israel group (UKLFI).
“Jewish patients have approached UKLFI for help, saying that they feel vulnerable, harassed and victimised by this display. UKLFI has written to Lesley Watts, the Chief Executive of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust asking for the display to be removed,” UKLFI wrote on its website on Feb. 9.
Although the artwork was removed in mid-February, netizens have taken to social media over the past two days to protest the move.
“Cultural genocide: Pro-Israel lawyers complained about art by Palestinian children at a London hospital because it made Jewish patients feel uncomfortable (or guilty?). The art was removed,” commented one user on Twitter, sharing the news.
“Totally pathetic of the UKLFI and the Chelsea and Westminster hospital for giving in. Is this really true? It’s artwork which is supposed to be unifying,” wrote another user on Twitter.
“Not sure which is worse, the cruel heartlessness of UK Lawyers For Israel or the craven spinelessness of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital,” tweeted Fanar Haddad, an assistant professor at The University of Copenhagen.
On Feb. 14, Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI, commented: “We are pleased that the display has been removed and that the hospital has responded positively to its patients’ complaints.”