Celebrating Israeli German relations

A celebration that ignores Israel's present is no more honest than one that ignores Germany's past

In 1965 Germany and Israel normalized diplomatic relations. The celebration of this event is important. It shows that Germany is able to face its past honestly and reminds its citizens why this is important. It is also a testament to the strength of the Israeli people to both forgive and persevere. We ask however that these celebrations not only acknowledge past struggles of the Israeli people but also look at the current struggle as well.

We ask that directors of German cultural institutions acknowledge and respond to the questionable circumstances surrounding the staging of these events. We encourage those that identify with these concerns to remind visitors at related events of the important humanitarian challenges currently facing the people of Israel and Palestine. We have created a set of materials for those that wish to print and distribute.

Three months after the bombing of Gaza

The exhibition of artistic works from the Tel Aviv Museum at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin has been largely planned and funded by Israel's Foreign Ministry. The agreement with Berliner Festspiele to hold this event was announced by Israel's Foreign Ministry in 2014 less than 3 months after the bombing of Gaza. This tragedy claimed the lives of over 2,000 people. By Israel's own account 45% were civilians and by all other accounts between 69% and 76%.

  1. Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
  2. Gaza Ministry of Health, via Ma'an News Agency
  3. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
  4. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
  5. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Events planned by an outspoken racist

Avigdor Lieberman is Israel's Foreign Minister since 2009. He has called for nothing short of ethnic cleansing and his words give reason for us to question leaving even part of the planning for events celebrating diplomatic ties to an institution run by a racist diplomat.

Those who are against us, there's nothing to be done - we need to pick up an ax and cut off his head
World War II ended with the Nuremberg Trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]
It would be better to drown these [Palestinian] prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, since that's the lowest point in the world.
If it were up to me, I would notify the [Palestinian] Authority that tomorrow at ten in the morning we will explode all their places of work in Ramallah, for example.

Demographic Dissonance

The exhibition of works from the Tel Aviv Museum at Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin includes modern works of Israeli's that illustrate their struggles. We feel it does not address the story of the Palestinian Arab Israeli struggle. Palestinians living with Israeli citizenship make up 20% of the population. Considering how Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu, stigmatized the Israeli Arab population during the Israeli elections in March 2015 the absence of accurate representation of this minority is questionable even as the motive may be frighteningly clear.

  1. Israel Central Bureau of Statistics 2014
  2. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics 2014

German Culture Industry doesn't question

The cultural attaché, diplomats and directors of cultural institutions involved with planning or hosting events celebrating diplomatic relations appear oblivious to the questions that surround them. We call on them to answer these questions.

  1. How can they not question the timing of events suggested by Israel's Foreign Ministry when they are requested directly after the bombing of Gaza?
  2. How can they not question the narrative suggested to them when it does not include significant minorities of the Israeli populace?
  3. How can they not question the motives of these events when they come from an institution run by an outspoken racist?

Avoiding these questions would set a dangerous precedent. One that wastes the lessons of our history that were supposed to have taught us to never again collectively ignore the struggle of others for decency and replaces this with a message that unwittingly teaches that "there are exceptions". We hope that you will join us in challenging this message.



media occupiedberlin@riseup.net