The Research and Information Center for Antisemitism in Hesse found that the piece contained “clearly antisemitic imagery.”
The Jewish community in Germany is up in arms following an art exhibition with antisemitic themes depicting Israeli soldiers and Mossad members as Nazi Storm Troopers.
Two weeks ago, Sabina Shurman, the General Director of Documenta, the world’s most significant exhibition of contemporary art that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany, resigned following a public uproar that broke out over a piece done by the Indonesian collective Taring Padi.
It included the presentation of Jews as satanic creatures, Israeli soldiers and members of the SS, and agents of the Mossad as pigs.
Shurman submitted her resignation and in her place, Alexander Fahrenholz was appointed as temporary director.
However, the exhibition is again showing another antisemitic work presented by Archives des Luttes des Femmes en Algérie in which Israeli soldiers are shown as monkey-faced robots with a Star of David attacking children.
The Research and Information Center for Antisemitism in Hesse found that the piece contained “clearly antisemitic imagery.” Israeli soldiers are portrayed as child killers and mass murderers. The physiognomy of the soldiers stems from the typically antisemitic way of depicting Jews.
Responding to the fury in the Jewish community, German Minister of Culture Claudia Roth stated that although she recognized antisemitic elements in the work, she does not intend to act to take it down.
Rabbi Avichai Apel, the chief rabbi of Frankfurt, who also serves as the chairman of the German Rabbinic Organization and the Vice President of the European Rabbinical Conference, responded to Roth and warned that “those who are not interested in exercising supervision against antisemitic art are ignoring the consequences it may create.”
“This is unbridled antisemitism under the pretext of culture and freedom of expression. Freedom of expression and art is a very important value, but even this value has limits when it is used to harm religions, peoples, members of the different sexes and minorities,” he said.
The President of the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland (Central Council of Jews in Germany), Dr. Josef Schuster, stated that “this country has been discussing antisemitism, BDS and hatred of Israel for weeks. The management of Documenta continues to act as if this does not concern them.”
“Obviously, it doesn’t matter who is in charge there,” he added. “One has to ask oneself how far we have come in Germany if these images can be considered good as alleged ‘criticism of Israel.’”
“The silence of those responsible in cultural policy on this is booming. This Documenta will go down in history as an antisemitic art show,” he said.