Museum of Intolerance: Domestic Unburial and American In fluences in the Desecration of Mamilla Cemetery

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2023-04-18

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The Mamilla Cemetery is a historic Muslim cemetery that serves as a resting place for significant Islamic figures, including 70,000 of Saladin’s soldiers from the Crusades. Mamilla Cemetery is a Muslim place of pilgrimage, and burials in the cemetery continued until 1948 when Israel overtook western Jerusalem. The site has been protected as a historical site by the Muslim Supreme Council since 1927, with this order of protection being reiterated by the Israeli Religious Affairs Ministry in 1948 with the promise that “Israel will always know to protect and respect this site.” The construction of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Center for Human Dignity–Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem over parts of the Mamilla Cemetery exemplifies both Israel’s own settler colonialism—complete with minority displacement, “justification,” and land expansion—and private America’s role in maintaining it.

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