top of page

World Press Photo - Canadian War Museum

On August 18, 2021 Honest Reporting Canada revealed that the Canadian War Memorial Museum featured a photo exhibit glorifying Palestinian Arab terrorists, under the banner title:

Canadian War Museum Features Exhibit Glorifying Palestinian Terrorism, and called on Canadians to take action. The story they shared was as follows: “The Canadian War Museum recently hosted a World Press Photo exhibit that gave attention and drew sympathy to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails and which ignored Israel's legitimate security concerns. Instead of hosting an exhibit on Israeli victims of terrorism, the Museum's exhibition portrayed Palestinian terrorism in a sympathetic light and whitewashed the crimes of individuals involved in the murder of innocent Israelis.”

Imagine a museum that honours our Canadian war dead who fought for freedom against tyranny and against the Nazis who aimed to eradicate the entire Jewish population, now features terrorists who have the same aim. While the photos won an award, that doesn’t justify the Canadian expenditure on showcasing the lives of murderers and their families, portrayed as suffering martyrs. Israel is holding these murderers in jail, having acted appropriately under the rules of law that govern that country, while the jailed terrorists worked under the direction of one of President Mamoud Abbas’s banned-from-Canada terrorist arms. If the government bans them, how is it the museum shows them sympathetically and completely ignores the tragedies they inflicted on Israeli lives?

Letter CAEF wrote to the Canadian War Museum. The story isn’t over as reported by Ellin Bessner for the CJN in the podcast clip below.

To the CEO, Curator, and Board Chair,

Please explain to the citizens of Canada how an exhibit glorifying terrorists, the Palestinian Arab murderers of innocent people, the convicted assassins, is appropriate for the Canadian War Museum? Didn't Canada go to war to fight oppression, terrorism, Nazism and its underlying antisemitism, yet you have the audacity, and irreverance to feature the lives of these criminals and portray them as the victims? This is quite outrageous.

Your one sided, biased and frankly dishonest portrayal of history and current affairs is an affront to all, not just the Jewish community.

You ought to do more than apologize. We ask that you mount an exhibit that shows the true character of the Arab murderers, the terrorist fronts that support them, the political ideology that sends them to commit homicide, infanticide, suicide. Do not succumb to the lies of antisemitic Canadian apologists.

Send your response to the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation.

Letter from the Acting Director General of the Canadian War Museum to CAEF

Dear Ms. Spindel,

Thank you for reaching out to the Canadian War Museum to share your concerns regarding the presentation of World Press Photo Exhibition 2021 and the inclusion of Antonio Faccilongo’s entry “Habibi”, which was awarded 1st Prize in the category of Long-Term Projects, Stories in the annual contest. “Habibi” was one of 45 (prize-winning) stories presented in a wider display of 159 photographs documenting current events, armed conflict, social issues and natural phenomena of global importance.

World Press Photo is an international competition organized by the World Press Photo Foundation in the Netherlands. This travelling exhibition of photographs and accompanying text was developed by the Foundation. The photographs and stories presented in the exhibition were selected by an independent jury of experts from among thousands of submissions, to the World Press Photo Foundation, by photojournalists around the world. The images reflect the jury’s decision on what to highlight in international affairs and contemporary society.

The World Press Photo Exhibition 2021 display opened at the Canadian War Museum on July 23 and closed to the public on August 15. While the War Museum is not involved with selecting images or developing text, the annual 3-week presentation of the exhibition offers the Canadian War Museum an opportunity to address contemporary conflicts and events.

The mandate of the Canadian War Museum is to explore Canadian military history in its personal, national and international dimensions. The experiences of the Jewish community play an important role in the work that we do to bring this history forward. We work closely and partner with a number of key community organizations to ensure that Canadians continue to be educated about this important history, regularly hosting films, guest speakers and the annual National Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony in April. In January of this year, we partnered with the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies to present a virtual conversation with Holocaust survivor and author Andy Reti. Most recently, in March 2021, we presented Anne Frank – A History for Today, a travelling exhibition from the Anne Frank House that examines her life against the backdrop of historical events before and during the war. In 2018, we presented St. Louis – Ship of Fate. Produced by the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and its partners, St. Louis – Ship of Fate recounts the journey of 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in the summer of 1939, and the refusal of several countries — including Canada — to admit them. Our current special exhibition Forever Changed – Stories From the Second World War also contains the experiences of Aba Bayefsky (a Jewish war artist who saw and painted the horrors of the Holocaust) and the Gertner family, who survived the Holocaust and moved to Toronto after the Second World War.

The comments and concerns you have raised are important to us. We will be sharing those concerns with the World Press Photo Foundation. Thank you again for sharing your feedback with us.


Caroline Dromaguet, Acting Director General, Canadian War Museum/ Musée canadien de la guerre · Experience

Ellin Bessner interviewed Mike Fegelman, Executive Director of Honest Reporting Canada on the World Press Photo exhibit which Jewish organizations have condemned.


bottom of page