Photo Courtesy of Ambassador Danny Danon
The Corona building that houses the Queens Museum was the home of the United Nations in 1947, when the state of Israel was founded.
By Michael V. Cusenza
After weathering a maelstrom of pointed criticism from elected officials and international dignitaries, the Queens Museum recently reversed its decision and once again agreed to host a re-enactment of the 1947 United Nations vote establishing the state of Israel.
Last Wednesday, the museum decided to cancel the event that was originally set for Nov. 29 due to negative feedback it had received from “Palestinian friends of the museum.”
However, according to a Politico New York report, a spokeswoman confirmed later that day that the museum had reassessed its position.
“After a productive conversation with Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, the Queens Museum will work with the Israeli Mission on the proposed commemoration of the 1947 vote,” Vyoma Venkataraman said via email. “We are deeply committed to all the communities we serve through our meaningful arts programming and we are looking forward to making this a successful event.”
After a stinging rebuke of the borough cultural institution, City Comptroller Scott Stringer applauded the change of heart.
“This is no doubt the right thing to do,” Stringer said. “What we’ve watched across the country over the past few days — neo-Nazis marching in the streets of America promoting symbols of hate — has been a shock. By reversing course and holding this important event, the museum is fixing what had been a mistake and correcting what was a terrible message to send to communities across the five boroughs. I’m pleased this event will proceed.”
The museum’s decision to cancel sparked an avalanche of sharply worded statements last Wednesday afternoon.
“I firmly disagree with the Queens Museum’s decision to deny the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nation’s space request to hold a commemoration of the creation of the State of Israel,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Holding the event in the very halls of the historic 1947 vote would have had a special, meaningful significance, and the denial to the request is especially disappointing. The Queens Museum should revisit the interpretation of their own policies to ensure less discretion and more clarity for future space rental requests. As an alternative venue, I’ve offered Queens Borough Hall to the Mission of Israel for its upcoming commemoration this November.”
The building in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park that hosts the Queens Museum was the original home of the United Nations. On Nov. 29, 1947, in that edifice, the UN General Assembly adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine, allowing for the birth of the State of Israel.