Israel Embassy slams German anti-Semitic cartoon

"The claim that one must distinguish between hatred of the Jewish people and hatred of the State of Israel leaves a bad taste.”

By JPOST CORRESPONDENT IN BERL
April 18, 2010 00:00
2 minute read.
Mayor Jorgen Roters

Jorgen Roters. (photo credit: Courtesy)

BERLIN – 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.”

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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 bad taste.”

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.

It appears 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.

Rainer 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.

“To 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 Germany.”

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.


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