Does Bodies: The Exhibition offend the memory of the dead? According to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein the answer is yes. The attorney-general has filed a petition to Israel's High Court alleging that the bodies belong to Chinese prisoners who were tortured before being executed, after which their remains were sold and preserved without their families' consent.
Weinstein asked the Tel Aviv municipality to examine the issue of consent and decide whether to allow the exhibit to be displayed.
Bodies: The Exhibition, on display in Tel Aviv until the end of August, is presented by the American Premier Exhibitions company, which received the cadavers as donations from the Chinese government for research purposes, on the basis that the deceased did not have family members to claim their bodies. The exhibit has raised criticism due to allegations that the bodies belonged to executed Chinese prisoners, allegations that have not been refuted. Several ethicists also opposed the exhibit for allowing viewers to gawk at human remains, calling it a grotesque form of pornography.
Weinstein focused in his petition on the question of personal dignity. "Presenting human bodies as part of an exhibition without the deceased's consent hurts not only the memory of the dead, but also the autonomy that person had over his body while he was still alive," he wrote.