Meron Benvenisti condemned the Simon Wiesenthal Center's project to build a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem in no uncertain terms a year and a half ago:
It is difficult to imagine a project so hallucinatory, so irrelevant, so foreign, so megalomaniac, as the Museum of Tolerance. The mere attempt to stick the term tolerance to a building so intolerant to its surroundings is ridiculous. Others have already referred to the extravagant arrogance expressed in the geometric forms that can't be any more dissonant to the environment in which it is planned to put this alien object. There's no need to waste words on the absurdity of a Museum of Tolerance planted on part of an ancient Muslim cemetery, some of which has long since been turned into a parking lot, and will now be topped by spaces in which people are meant to learn about tolerance, mutual respect and religious coexistence. (Meron Benvenisti, "A Museum of Tolerance in a City of Fanatics," Haaretz, December 5, 2002)Despite Benvenisti's call to get rid of the white elephant -- a project "conceived, financed and designed by Americans" (Freedman, August 1, 2004) -- "without any tolerance" (Benvenisti, December 5, 2002), promoters of the museum have already "raised about $85 million of the projected $200 million from 10 donors in the United States and Canada" (Freedman, August 1, 2004).
Even aside from its political absurdity, though, one look at Frank Gehry's design should be enough to unite aesthetes of the world to overthrow the project: "the American architect and critic Michael Sorkin claimed in Architectural Record that the [Frank] Gehry design's use of large, irregular stone blocks 'uncomfortably evokes the "deconstruction" of Yasir Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah into a pile of rubble by Israeli security forces'" (Freedman, August 1, 2004).
August 1, 2004).