Arab-Americans Welcome Disney’s Dialogue with Arab League
Arab-Americans Welcome Disney‘s Dialogue with Arab League Delegation Representation of Jerusalem in Israeli Exhibit Subject of Controversy Washington D.C., September 13 — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes Disney‘s commitment, announced today, to meet with a delegation of representatives of the Arab League, officials from the U.A.E. and Morocco, and Arab-American groups, to discuss the Israel exhibit which will open in the Millennium Exhibition at Walt Disney World at the end of the month. Concern has centered around reports that Jerusalem as Israel‘s capital will be a major theme of the exhibit. ADC is certain that an open and constructive exchange between Disney and the Arab League delegation will resolve the issues that have emerged with regard to the Millennium Village exhibit and welcomes Disney‘s willingness to enter into dialogue.
Disney has insisted, without revealing any details about its content, that the Israel exhibit is not political in spite of the fact that it was partially developed and funded by the Israeli foreign ministry. However, any Israeli representation of Jerusalem is bound to have political implications, and no representation of Arab East Jerusalem as part of Israel, let alone its capital, can be acceptable. Israel has no legitimate claim of sovereignty in Arab East Jerusalem, which it captured during the 1967 war. East Jerusalem has been recognized as an area under foreign military occupation by the United Nations, most specifically in UN Security Council Resolution 242. The United States has never recognized Jerusalem as Israel‘s capital, and the US embassy in Israel is located in Tel Aviv. Indeed, almost all embassies in Israel are in Tel Aviv because of the highly questionable nature of Israel‘s claim of sovereignty in Jerusalem.
Arab-Americans have expressed serious concern that the exhibit may be cloaked in the mantels of entertainment and education while flouting international law, violating the human rights of the Muslim and Christian Palestinian residents of Arab East Jerusalem, and deeply touching the sensitivities of the entire Arab and Muslim worlds.
ADC President Hala Maksoud said that “Much of this controversy could have been avoided had Disney been open to hearing our concerns rather than treating them as an intrusion into their business activities.
Middle Eastern realities are far too complex to allow for a clear and simple division between political, educational and cultural issues, as Disney was trying to do.”