McJesus Art?

PUBLISHED: 6:24 PM 15 Jan 2019

Crucified ‘McJesus’ Sparks Outrage, Protests In Israel

Not only is the image offensive to Christians, but the representation is also derogatory of capitalism. The museum intends to keep the ‘art’ on display.

An 'art' sculpture has caused outrage among Arab Christians in Israel.

A sculpture displayed in the Haifa Museum of Art has caused massive backlash by Christians in Israel.

Riots and anger have resulted from the “McJesus” work, which portrays an image of Ronald McDonald, hanging on a cross. An offensive image of Muhammad would hardly be tolerated, many people argue, since slander of the ‘prophet’ is forbidden in many European countries and the Middle East, which has prompted the question, why is there such a double standard?

Hundreds of Middle Eastern Christians are calling for the offensive display to be removed, while others are disgusted with the entire idea behind the so-called art.

The sculpture is intended to be a criticism of the worship of capitalism. Of course, many people argue it’s ridiculous to expect an ‘artist’ to understand the benefits of capitalism.

Capitalism is productive of individual liberty.

The statue, which has been on display for months—and which has been viewed in other countries without protests—recently prompted stone-throwing, and even a firebomb as Christians show their displeasure.

Police reported that three officers were wounded in the protests on Friday, and authorities have resorted to tear gas and stun grenades to dispense crowds.

Nissim Tal, the museum’s director, told reporters that the uproar was spontaneous, and the demonstrations were apparently sparked by visitors who shared images of the ‘art’ online.

The museum responded to the backlash by placing a curtain over the entrance of the exhibit and posting a sign stating the artwork was not intended to offend people.

However, that hasn’t pleased protesters. One, who remained outside the museum on Monday, held a sign that stated, “Respect religions.”

Amir Ballan, an artist in Haifa and a Christian, said the exhibit is “very offensive” and that protests “won’t be quiet until we reach a solution.”

Jani Leinonen, the Finnish artist responsible for the offensive work, has asked that it be taken down too, but for a different reason.

He says he supports Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS, the Palestinian-led movement aimed at pressuring Israel to change its policies toward the ‘Palestinians.’ The group has made significant gains in recent years, persuading a number of foreign artists to cancel performances in Israel.

Tal said the museum won’t remove the display, and will defend “freedom of speech, freedom of art, and freedom of culture.”

Another Arab Christian protestor told reporters that no one was properly responding to the Arab Christian community’s complaints because they are a minority.  “If they put up [a sculpture of] Hitler with a Torah scroll they would immediately respond,” he said.

Many people argue that Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where such a minority even has the right to exist.

Many people agree that if a person doesn’t like something, they have the ability to ignore it. However, these Christians have decided to fight against something they consider disrespectful to their religion.

Given that Muslim nations who operate under sharia law (and a number of European countries too) consider that derision of Muhammad is a serious violation, many argue that Christians should be afforded the same consideration and respect.