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Controversy Brewing After United Nations Censors 'Israel Matters' Exhibit

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- Israel's permanent mission to the United Nations, along with the group StandWithUs, displayed an exhibit of pride at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday.

The theme was "Israel Matters," CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported. However, before it went public, the UN banned three out of 13 panels on Zionism, Jerusalem, and Arab Israelis, calling them "inappropriate."

UN Ambassador to Israel Danny Danon called the decision "scandalous" and demanded Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon allow all the panels to be displayed.

"We will fight for the truth and we will make sure the full exhibition will be presented at the UN," Danon said.

A spokesperson for the UN secretary general said there was a misunderstanding about a picture on the Zionism panel, but he wouldn't explain what that misunderstanding was. However, after a discussion with the permanent mission of Israel, the UN reversed its decision and allowed that panel to be displayed. The other two remain banned.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer was appalled by the decision.

"To say that 'Israel matters' should not be an exhibit is saying you don't believe Israel should exist. And that's just wrong and it shows how biased the UN is. It's awful," he said.

A UN spokesperson defended the decision saying, "The displays need to be in conformity with the purposes and principles of the organization. While you may promote your country, that should not be done at the expense of others who cannot immediately respond."

"We can not accept the fact that the UN is still disqualifying the exhibition about Jerusalem about democracy about Israel. You can not censor Israel," Danon said.

"The UN's reversal of its decision is an important victory that sends a clear message about the importance of standing strong for what you believe in," said Shahar Azani, Executive Director of StandWithUs New York.

The group said it won't stand down until the entire exhibit is allowed to be displayed.


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