published : 2023-12-01

Outrage as UN-Palestinian Exhibition Sparks Controversy Over Use of Israeli Child's Image

Israeli Foreign Minister Calls for UN Secretary-General's Resignation

A photo of the United Nations office in Geneva, where the controversial exhibition took place. [Taken with Nikon D850]

The United Nations office in Geneva has faced widespread outrage and condemnation after a pro-Palestinian exhibit featured the image of a murdered Israeli child as a Palestinian civilian casualty.

Israeli officials, including the foreign minister and ambassador, have called on UN Secretary-General Tatiana Valovaya to resign in light of the controversy.

The exhibit, organized as part of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, included pictures of Palestinian children who were allegedly killed by Israel in Gaza.

However, critics, including the Israeli mission, pointed out that one of the images featured a 5-year-old Israeli boy named Ido Avigal, who had tragically died in 2021 when a Hamas rocket hit his house in Sderot.

The Israeli mission strongly criticized the inclusion of Ido's image, calling it 'despicable' and urging for the immediate removal of the exhibition.

An image of a peaceful protest in support of Palestinian rights, contrasting the outrage sparked by the UN-Palestinian exhibition. [Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV]

In addition to Ido's image, the exhibit also included a picture of a Palestinian teenager who allegedly served in an extremist group based in Gaza and the West Bank. The veracity of this claim has not been confirmed by the UN.

The UN has disavowed these errant photos and acknowledged that they were posted 'near' the exhibition, not as part of the official display.

Alessandra Vellucci, director of the United Nations Information Service, emphasized that the images were promptly taken down once they were brought to the attention of the UN staff.

Vellucci explained that the exhibit was organized in accordance with a General Assembly resolution, but additional unauthorized images were found posted near the official exhibition.

While the UN claims that the unauthorized images were quickly removed, critics argue that they perpetuate misinformation and contribute to a biased narrative against Israel.

A close-up photo of a child's drawing depicting unity and peace between Israelis and Palestinians, symbolizing the hope for a resolution. [Taken with Sony Alpha A7 III]

Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the exhibit has caught the attention of the Israeli foreign minister, Gilad Erdan, who has taken a firm stance against the surge in antisemitism.

Erdan emphasized that it is time for action rather than words, and called for measures to ensure the safety and security of Jews worldwide.

The outrage over the UN-Palestinian exhibition has sparked a broader conversation about the portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the need for fair and unbiased reporting.

Critics argue that such incidents further fuel animosity and contribute to the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes and misinformation.

The UN has yet to comment on the controversy surrounding a separate exhibition at its New York headquarters, which has drawn criticism for alleged blood libel against Israel.