Anti-Israel activists in Berlin lashed out at a podium discussion at the Pop Cultural festival opening on Thursday, disrupting the panel conversation because the Jewish state provided a small donation to the event.
Highly aggressive BDS activists shouted at the podium participants: “Israel is an apartheid state. Are you not ashamed? You are racists who support the Apartheid regime. You are the true antisemite. You are criminals. Because of leftists like you I support BDS.”
German media reported on the outbursts directed at Shelly Kupferberg, the journalist and podium moderator, the Israeli author Lizzy Doron and Berlin’s Left party cultural senator Klaus Lederer. The podium panel was titled “Boycott” and had to be ended because of the hostility created by the anti-Israel activists in the audience.
Six artists have boycotted the Berlin Pop Culture Festival, because Israel contributed €1,200 to cover the travel expenses for its artistic participation.
BDS has infected Berlin, and posters across the city showed an imploded city with the statement: “Pop Culture. Sponsored by Apartheid.” Lederer has won praise for his opposition to the BDS campaign and is widely considered a rare voice among the German Left who rejects assaults on Israel’s existence. Lederer termed BDS “structural antisemitism.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Jerusalem Post that “In 2018 BDS is a litmus test for antisemitism. No German institution should ever support a campaign to cripple and endanger the largest Jewish community in the world.”
Michaela Engelmeier, a top level German Social Democratic politician, told the Post on Tuesday, “My opinion is that no one, no institution, no societal group, really no one should work together with BDS or hold accounts for these antisemitic groups.”
While the Berlin cultural festival has explicitly countered BDS, a large music and cultural event – the Ruhrtriennale festival in the city of Bochum in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia – has mainstreamed BDS,