(photo credit: Courtesy)
– The Israeli Embassy in Germany on Friday rebuked the public
prosecutor’s office in Cologne for allowing a public exhibit named
“Wailing Wall” that features a cartoon it says encourages “hatred and
violence” against Jews and the State of Israel.
“If one shows a
figure with an Israeli flag devouring a Palestinian child, this reminds
us of the most scurrilous accusations of ritual murder in European
anti-Semitism,” the embassy said in a statement. “Immediately after
Israel’s national Holocaust Remembrance Day, a German prosecutor gave
Israel-haters a shot in the arm.”
The embassy added: “We don’t
interfere in the decisions of German judicial authorities. But at the
same time, we are convinced that the cartoon was of a clearly
anti-Semitic nature and that it incites hatred and violence. The claim
that one must distinguish between hatred of the Jewish people and
hatred of the State of Israel is absolutely inappropriate and leaves a
The public prosecutor last week dismissed a legal
complaint by Gerd Buurmann, a non-Jewish theater director, that the
cartoon violated Germany’s hate-crime law.
After reports in The Jerusalem Post and the regional daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger in February, the Post
has learned that Israeli diplomats traveled to Cologne to meet with
Social Democratic Mayor Jürgen Roters to voice their frustration and
disgust at the anti-Israeli exhibit located in the heart of the
pedestrian zone of Germany’s fourth largest city.
that the discussions with Roters and city officials proved to be futile
and the Israeli Embassy, departing from diplomatic protocol, blasted
the Cologne prosecutor’s office.
The embassy circulated its
criticism on its electronic daily newsletter in Germany, which reaches
journalists, policy-makers and government officials.
Wolf, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor in Cologne, could not
immediately be reached for a comment on the embassy’s criticism. Wolf
previously told the Post that the cartoon – depicting a Jew
eating body parts and drinking the blood of a Palestinian child – is
“not a tendency of hostility toward Jews, but an actual criticism of
the situation in Gaza.”
According to informed observers in
Cologne, Walter Herrmann, the organizer of the exhibit, has used the
city’s bustling Cathedral Square to spread anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli
resentment with his Wailing Wall exhibit.
“Hatred of Jews has
led to catastrophe, and encouraging this hatred under the cover of
‘freedom of opinion’ and supposed ‘political criticism’ leads to the
same sort of hatred and violence,” the Israeli Embassy said.
our regret, the accusation of ritual murder has been given legal
confirmation. Despite this decision by the prosecutor, we will continue
the public and moral struggle against any form of Jew hatred in
Buurmann, the theater director who has spearheaded a campaign to shut
down Hermann’s festival of Israel-hate, said in a statement: “Only the
left-wing parties and with them the mayor of Cologne keep silent and
tolerate Herrmann’s diatribes against Israel. It is Walter Herrmann who
brought back the cartoons and the ideology of the Nazis, and a German
court is supporting him.”
A spokewoman for the mayor's office, Inge Schürmann, said in response that the city of Cologne and the mayor “are against anti-Semitism.”
But the simmering dispute about Cologne’s indifference toward the
Wailing Wall exhibit has created tension over the city’s partnership
with Tel Aviv-Jaffa.