The Israeli Embassy in Berlin on Thursday slammed the German music and cultural Ruhrtriennale festival for providing a platform to negate the existence of the Jewish state.
“We will, however, not discuss Israel’s right to exist,” a spokeswoman told the Rheinische Post paper on Thursday, adding that BDS targets the entire state of Israel and its right to existence.
BDS is an abbreviation for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.
The Ruhrtriennale invited the Israeli Embassy to participate in the BDS event as part of a podium discussion on “Freedom of Art” and BDS on August 18 in the city of Bochum in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The embassy’s spokeswoman said the Israeli government was disappointed that “BDS and its representatives are receiving a platform and thereby a false legitimacy, especially when the theater is publicly funded from the state.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, “Once again we see the spectacle of government and cultural funding of BDS. Germans have historic and moral obligations never to support those whose goal is destruction of the world’s largest Jewish community, the State of Israel.”
The cities of Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin prohibit the use of public space or financing for BDS because the municipalities have declared the campaign to be antisemitic.
Last month, Stefanie Carp, the director of the Ruhrtriennale music and cultural festival, told a cultural committee in the parliament of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia that the BDS campaign against Israel is not antisemitic but merely fights for the “right of Palestine to exist.”
Jewish communities in North Rhine-Westphalia blasted Carp for excluding German Jews from the event. In a public letter, the Jewish groups wrote, “Antisemitism is not a question of freedom of speech and artistic freedom.”
The German Jewish organizations called on politicians and society to “fight the already normalized antisemitism – whether it is from the BDS movement or from the Left or the Right of the political spectrum.”
The German Jewish groups also sharply criticized Carp for holding the BDS podium event on Shabbat to apparently bar their participation.
Carp invited the pro-BDS advocates composer Elliott Sharp and choreographer Alain Platel to speak at the podium discussion.
German politicians have called on Carp to resign for giving modern antisemitism a shot in the arm by mainstreaming BDS.
Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal’s Center in Jerusalem and the group’s chief Nazi-hunter, told the Post last month, “The German government has itself recognized BDS as a form of antisemitism.” Zuroff added, “It is unfortunate that a person in charge of an important cultural event is supporting antisemitism or any type of prejudice or discrimination.”