Jerusalem Mickey-Mouse A Flap over Israel's Disney Exhibit Is Not Just Fantasy

The Christian Science Monitor, September 24, 1999 | Go to article overview

Jerusalem Mickey-Mouse A Flap over Israel's Disney Exhibit Is Not Just Fantasy


A battle for American public opinion is being waged as the Palestinians and Israel start the next stage of their peace talks, which include the issue of Jerusalem.

Why does the PR battle matter? Because any deadlock in the talks will likely need to be broken, as usual, by American diplomatic arm- twisting.

But attempts to sway the United States can show up in the most unlikely places - like Disney World.

Last week, a dispute erupted over an exhibit on Jerusalem at Epcot Center. A $1.8 million gift from the Israeli government helped pay for the exhibit, which simulates a journey through Jerusalem's 3000- year history. Obviously, the exhibit's emphasis is on the Holy City's Jewish roots, which run very deep, alongside Christian and Islamic cornerstones.

Israel desperately wants the US to recognize Jerusalem (instead of Tel Aviv) as Israel's capital before the Palestinians declare statehood and designate East Jerusalem as their capital. Israel seized largely Arab East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967.

The exhibit has sparked Arab-Americans to accuse Disney (which incidentally owns ABC News) of taking sides on the peace agenda's most emotional item. …

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