Berlin theater cancels anti-Israel event

Politicians said panel discussion would spread anti-Semitism.

Theater (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
The Volksbühne, a popular theater in East Berlin, pulled the plug on an anti-Israel event slated for Sunday because of expected anti-Semitism.
“The Left Party canceled the event,” a representative of the Roter Salon events room at the Volksbühne (“The People’s Theater”) told The Jerusalem Post. He did not know why.
Petra Pau, a prominent Bundestag deputy for the Left Party, had urged the theater to reconsider hosting the panel discussion because it would likely devolve into anti-Semitism.
The Roter Salon was to host two fringe anti-Zionist activists, Max Blumenthal and David Sheen, for a discussion on the “Middle East Conflict and the Drift of Israeli Society toward the Right.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Los Angeles-based associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post: “It should not be lost on any German that this extreme anti-Israel and anti-Semitic event that would have highlighted someone who conflates Holocaust imagery with phantom Israeli crimes would have taken place during Kristallnacht commemorations around the world.”
He continued: “Simon Wiesenthal always said he was never surprised by how many Nazis there were, only by how few anti-Nazis there were. Germans should be grateful that some key leaders of the Left [Party] have acted to forestall this desecration and perversion of memory” The Center included Blumenthal on its 2013 Top 10 list of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slurs., saying: “He quotes approvingly characterizations of Israelis soldiers as ‘Judeo-Nazis.’” In advance of the panel discussion, Pau, Green Party deputy Volker Beck and Reinhold Robbe, the president of the German-Israel Friendship Society, urged the Volksbühne to not host Blumenthal and Sheen.
Blumenthal and Sheen’s appearance would serve “to promote anti-Semitic prejudice by comparing the terror of the Nazis with Israeli policies,” the politicians and Robbe wrote in an open letter.
Their presence would not contribute to a factual presentation of the Middle East conflict, but rather result in a one-sided event, they wrote.
Giving a platform to hardcore anti-Israel activists who spread anti-Semitic sentiments would diminish the commemoration of the November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht pogrom “that is recognized as the beginning of the persecution, the deportation, and the killing of over six million European Jews,” they wrote.