German city withdraws from award to pro-BDS US-Lebanese artist

“According to research, we have to assume that the nominated prize-winner is a follower of the BDS movement and has participated in several measures in the cultural boycott of Israel.”

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October 2, 2019 05:06
1 minute read.
BDS

BDS. (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)

The west German city of Aachen pulled the plug on its participation in an award ceremony to honor the US-Lebanese artist Walid Raad because of his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting Israel.

Aachen Mayor Marcel Philipp announced on Monday that “according to research, we have to assume that the nominated prize-winner is a follower of the BDS movement and has participated in several measures in the cultural boycott of Israel.”

The prize is slated to be awarded October 13.

The mayor added: “Can the city of Aachen – in the Ludwig Forum for International Art in particular – award an artist who, in view of questions and requests, does not distance himself from the BDS and thus opposes artistic and cultural exchange?”

The German Bundestag classified BDS as antisemitic in May. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Aachen is located, designated BDS as an antisemitic campaign.

The Ludwig Forum works with the city of Aachen to award a 10,000-euro prize for artists. The forum awarded the artistic prize to Raad in August 2018.

After notification that Raad supports BDS, the city contacted Raad, seeking a rejection of BDS.

The city said Raad’s answer was not only evasive, according to Philipp, the answer may be perceived as “mocking and smug.” The city said Raad did not take the question and topic seriously.

“For us, it remains that the artist does not dispel his support from the BDS movement,” Philipp said.

Raad is listed as a professor at the Cooper Union college in New York City. According to his biography on the college’s website, “Walid Raad is an artist who began teaching at the School of Art in 2002. He became associate professor in 2005 and was promoted to full professor in 2016. Raad’s works include The Atlas Group, a 15-year project between 1989 and 2004 about the contemporary history of Lebanon.”

In 2017, Raad removed his work from The Mediterranean Biennale due to BDS. The show was held in Misgav, Sakhnin, Arraba and Deir Hanna.


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