A Lego exhibit claiming to show Jewish revenge against the Nazis in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust has been removed in Spain after a senior Israeli diplomat complained of anti-Semitism
The exhibit, entitled "Operation Vengeance" showcased Lego figures of soldiers wearing the Israeli flag on their uniforms pointing weapons at civilians. But the Israeli symbols were removed from the display Tuesday, following an outcry from Deputy Chief of Mission Assaf Moran. The display in central Madrid is part of the "I Love Lego" exhibition in the city's Gaviria Palace and was spotted by Moran during a trip with his children.
Moran complained to the exhibition's organizers who, in turn, presented him with the exhibit's explanatory notes, which said that it depicted "an historical event" from the days after the war ended.
"Operation Vengeance is a spectacular diorama (3D model) of an historical event that took place in 1945 in Priuli, northern Italy. The reconstructed scene symbolizes vengeance attacks carried out by the anti-Nazi brigades," the note read.
But Moran pointed out that the display showcases Israeli soldiers three years before the Jewish state was established. Therefore, claimed the diplomat, the exhibition was distorting history and misleading the public.
"There is a double lie here: First, the exhibit shows Israeli soldiers pointing guns at civilians without providing any context. Therefore, the exhibition's visitors perceive Israel as a violent and aggressive state," Moran said.
"The second explanation actually provides a kind of justification for the exhibition, only it is completely false and certainly does not justify having Israeli flags at a time when the Jewish state had not yet been established. If there were soldiers that carried out vengeance attacks against the Nazis, they were wearing British uniforms," Moran added.
Following the diplomat's complaints, the director of the museum removed all Israeli references from the exhibit.
This is not the first time that a European exhibit has offended Israeli sensibilities.
In 2004, then-Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Zvi Mazel destroyed an exhibit in Stockholm that appeared to glorify suicide bombings in Israel, which were then at a height.
The installation, entitled "Snow White and the Madness of Truth," was comprised of a pool of water colored to look like blood, on which floated a small boat labeled "Snow White" bearing a picture of Hanadi Jaradat, who carried out a suicide attack at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in 2003, killing 21 people.
Mazel, who was invited to the opening, destroyed the installation in fury, sparking a diplomatic furor. The diplomat, however, was unrepentant.