Artwork Removed From Oslo Exhibition After Outraging Jews

OSLO - A Norwegian art gallery removed a painting Friday from its exhibition "Anti-Semite in the Name of God," saying it had infuriated Jews, including a Holocaust survivor.

The painting, by Norwegian artist Chris Reddy, includes the text "Israel" and "USA," with each "S" replaced by a Nazi Swastika.

Andreas Engelstad, owner of the Galleri A Minor in Oslo, said the Israeli Embassy demanded that the painting be removed, but that it was the reaction of other Jews that prompted his decision.

"I took it down not because of the Embassy, but out of respect for victims of the Holocaust," he told The Associated Press by telephone. "One of the victims called me and said they were hurt by the painting."

The decision made top news in Norway on Friday, partly because it came just a month after a furious dispute between Israel and Sweden over an exhibition in Stockholm that enraged the Israeli ambassador there.

That exhibit showed the picture of a Palestinian suicide bomber, and so outraged Israeli Ambassador Zvi Mazel that he tried to damage it by throwing a light fixture at it.

In Norway, Israeli Ambassador Liora Herzl sent a letter to the gallery, saying Reddy's painting was unacceptable because it linked Israel and the United States to Nazism.

Norwegian news agency NTB said Reddy was furious at the decision to remove his artwork.

"It is questionable that Ambassador Liora Herzl has taken the fascists' tool, censorship, into use," he was quoted as saying. He could not immediately be reached for comment by the AP.

Engelstad said Reddy's exhibition seeks to use a variety of artworks to illustrate how political and religious forces influence a person's thinking. None of the other works was deemed offensive and will remain on display until March 7, he said.



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