Rutu Modan’s graphic novel ‘Exit Wounds,’ 370.
(photo credit: Drawn & Quarterly)
BERLIN – Vandalism of an exhibit at the University of Duisburg-Essen by a Muslim
student triggered sharp criticism on Monday about the lack of public and
university opprobrium toward the apparently criminal act.
student destroyed last month a graphic novel exhibit by the Israeli artist Rutu
Modan. The university’s management has not disciplined the student and instead
canceled the exhibit, “What Comics Can Do! – Recent Trends in Graphic
When asked by The Jerusalem Post
on Monday if the student’s
conduct was animated by anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel, Beate Kostka, a
spokeswoman for the university, said such questions cannot be answered at this
Kostka objected to the presentation in the taz newspaper], which
asserted a possible anti-Semitic motivation by the vandal. “When a German paper
claims an anti-Semitic attitude,” it is based on unexamined assumptions, she
The spokeswoman said the university assigned a professor of Islamic
studies to evaluate whether the Arabic language was correctly presented in the
exhibit. She flatly denied the exhibit was removed so as not to offend Muslim
students, who complained about a part of the exhibit containing the graphic
The US comic and novel artist Craig Thompson authored
Habibi; it shows sex scenes and the word “Allah” written in Arabic calligraphy,
and caused outrage among Muslim students.
Prof. Frank Pointner justified
the decision to take down the exhibit, saying, “It is not about the content,
rather the narration techniques and function of comics,” the regional daily WAZ
Kostka said the university is examining the incident and
reserves the right to take legal action against the student.
to say whether the university contacted the police because of a criminal act and
refused to name the student.
The Muslim student cut with a scissor
photographs from a collage based on Modan’s internationally acclaimed work Exit
Wounds (“Blutspuren” in German).
The collage showed a peace demonstration
in Israel with a poster containing the word “Shalom.”
Steinberg, head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told the Post on Monday,
“This violent act of ‘new anti-Semitism’ is the direct result of the poisonous
images of Israel that are prevalent in Europe, including Germany.
images are promoted by vicious cartoons in newspapers that repeat false
accusations of Israeli ‘war crimes,’ and events that honor leaders of this
political war, such as Frankfurt’s award to Judith Butler.”
awarded over the years top prizes to anti- Israel academics. The city of
Frankfurt presented its Adorno award to the US professor Butler last
She advocates a boycott of Israeli cultural and academic
Steinberg, a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan
university in Ramat Gan, added, “When leaders of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung use
double standards to promote unethical boycotts against Israeli products (under
the facade of consumer information), they contribute to the atmosphere that
justifies violent attacks on Israeli society and culture. German society,
including the so-called Left, has a moral obligation not only to stop
participating in the demonization of Israel, but to take the lead in demanding
the end to such behavior.”
The Böll Foundation is affiliated with the
German Green Party and its incoming Tel Aviv office head, Kerstin Müller, led a
key legislative initiative in the Bundestag to sanction Israeli products. German
Jewish leaders have charged her with anti-Semitism and hostility toward the
Jewish community and Israel.