Arafat's A Real Bust In New York

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gestuers during his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Thursday Jan.18, 2001. Arafat who met late Wednesday in Cairo with Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami briefed Mubarak on the latest developments in the Middle East peace process. AP

New York state legislators have written to Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani asking for the removal of a wax figure of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from a museum.

"Arafat, alive and breathing or with wax in his lungs, does not belong in any venue in New York," state Assemblyman Dov Hikind said in a state Tuesday.

An Orthodox Jew, Hikind is one of 56 lawmaker who signed a petition calling for the removal of Arafat's statue from Madame Tussaud's was museum.

Pataki says he's not sure what powers the state might have to remove the statue. But he says, "I would certainly urge that a flattering portrayal of Yasser Arafat has no place in New York, in my view has no place anywhere."

Janine Scarpello, the museum's general manager, said Madame Tussaud's museum simply chronicles history and current events.

"The decision to portray an individual is irrespective of any political or religious stance," she said in a statement.

There was no comment from the mayor's press office.


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