Museum of Tolerance

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Museum of Tolerance
Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, March 2008.JPG
Established 1993
Location 9786 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, California, United States
Type Holocaust memorials, racism and prejudice museum
Visitors 350,000 annually

The Museum of Tolerance (MOT), a multimedia museum in Los Angeles, California, United States, is designed to examine racism and prejudice around the world with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust. Established in 1993, as the educational arm of human rights organization, the Simon Wiesenthal Center,[1] MOT also deals with atrocities in Cambodia and Latin America,[2] along with issues like bullying and hate crimes.[3] The MOT has an associated museum and professional development multi-media training facility in New York City, and has also expanded to Jerusalem, where a "Center for Human Dignity" is currently under construction.

Jerusalem Mamilla Cemetery[edit]

In 2005, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's (SWC) Rabbi Marvin Hier announced plans to construct a "Museum of Tolerance and Human Dignity" in Jerusalem by destroying the historic Mamilla Cemetery.[4] a Muslim burial ground that goes back well over a thousand years.[quantify].

Criticism of destruction of cemetery[edit]

The MOT-Jerusalem has been criticized for being built on former Muslim cemetery grounds.[5][6] The Mamilla Cemetery contained the graves of many important Islamic saints and scholars, as well as several Mamluk tombs.[4][7] The SWC asserts that the cemetery was long ago deconsecrated by Islamic leaders, and that secular Arab leaders prior to the creation of the State of Israel had planned various development projects there.[8] This argument has in turn been challenged in the Israeli legal system, but the argument was rejected by Israel's Supreme Court.

While the location of the MOT-Jerusalem has elicited the most media attention, architectural, archaeological and social critiques have accompanied the project throughout its course. Haaretz architecture critic Esther Zandberg has critiqued the location of an ostentatious Gehry design at the heart of Jerusalem, arguing that Jerusalem is not Bilbao.[9] Others have expressed concern over the focus of the museum on tolerance amongst Jews, rather than tolerance between Jews and Arabs.[10] The plan has been severely criticized by both Israelis and Palestinians.[11] Construction had been stayed several times by the courts before allowing it to continue.[12][13]

In autumn, 2008, the Israeli Supreme Court cleared "the way for L.A.'s Simon Wiesenthal Center to build a Holy Land counterpart to its Museum of Tolerance on Pico Boulevard."[14]

On November 19, 2008 a group of US Jewish and Muslim leaders sent a letter to the Wiesenthal Center to halt the construction of the Museum of Tolerance on the historic Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About us
  2. ^ "Los Angeles Journal; Near Riots' Ashes, a Museum Based on Tolerance". New York Times. February 10, 1993. 
  3. ^ "Teen court program tackles bullying, hate crimes". Los Angeles Times. July 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Donald Macintyre (9 February 2006). "Israel plans to build 'museum of tolerance' on Muslim graves". The Independent. 
  5. ^ Abe Selig (11 February 2010). "Wiesenthal Center: Museum not built on ancient ruins". Jerusalem Post. 
  6. ^ Saree Makdisi (February 12, 2010). "A Museum of Tolerance We Don't Need". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ Asem Khalidi (Spring 2009). "The Mamilla Cemetery: A Buried History". Jerusalem Quarterly 37. 
  8. ^ Gil Zohar and Gail Lichtman (February 21, 2008). "Jerusalem deconstructed". Jerusalem Post. 
  9. ^ Esther Zandberg. Surroundings / No tolerance for Jerusalem's uniqueness" Haaretz, Last update - 21:29 05/11/2008
  10. ^ Samuel G. Freeman."Frank Gehry's Mideast Peace Plan" NYT, August 1, 2004. Bradley Burston (19 November 2008). "Dividing Jerusalem, one wall at a time". Ha'aretz. 
  11. ^ Akiva Eldar (30 December 2008). "Israel Prize laureate opposes Museum of Tolerance". Ha'aretz. 
  12. ^ Hadassah on Museum of tolerance
  13. ^ Zandberg on lack of transparency
  14. ^ "Israeli court OKs Museum of Tolerance's controversial branch" LA Times, 12:42 PM, October 29, 2008
  15. ^ Political Debate, Yes; Bigotry, No

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°03′13.09″N 118°24′06.05″W / 34.0536361°N 118.4016806°W / 34.0536361; -118.4016806