(JTA) — Following protests, a French government institute devoted to promoting Arab culture removed from its website a picture depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holding up bloody hands.
The picture, showing protesters wearing Netanyahu masks at a rally while holding up their red painted palms, was featured this month on the Arab World Institute’s website. It advertised a Jan. 3 debate in Paris titled: “Stranglehold on Israel. Netanyahu or the end of the Zionist dream.”
Alize Bin Noun, Israel’s ambassador to France, condemned the image and the text.
“Scandalous and intolerable how a public institute disseminates such defamatory visuals, assisting the vilification of Israel to advertise a so-called ‘debate,’ which is biased to begin with,” she wrote on Twitter. The institute, she added, “has crossed the border of objective criticism and is making itself guilty of incitement.”
The picture was removed over the weekend following her criticism and that of B’nai B’rith France leader Philippe Meyer. He wrote on Twitter: “An institution funded by taxpayers’ money cannot propagate anti-Zionist hatred, which feeds anti-Semitism. Take it down.”
The institute, which is dedicated to promoting and exchanging information and cultural values of the Arab world, was founded in 1980 by the French government and 18 Arab countries.
In 2013, the French government appointed Jack Lang, a Socialist politician and former cabinet minister whose Jewish father is a Holocaust survivor, as the institute’s head.