Israel’s Netanyahu attacks Jewish Museum Berlin

This December 2016 video is called Daniel Libeskind‘s Jewish Museum – Berlin.

By Sybille Fuchs in Germany:

Israeli premier demands German government stop funding Jewish Museum Berlin

27 December 2018

The Israeli government is continuing its ferocious campaign of censorship and repression aimed at anyone who dares criticise its policies.

At a German-Israeli government consultation meeting in early October, ultra-right Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany with a letter calling on her government to stop financial support for the Jewish Museum Berlin. The museum was accused of “anti-Israel activities” because it had sought, among various other activities, to engage in dialogue with Muslims and other religious communities.

The Jewish Museum, opened in 2001 and housed in a spectacular building designed by Jewish Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, documents the centuries of Jewish culture in Germany that the Nazis tried to wipe out. It also organises eyewitness talks with Holocaust survivors, awards prizes for tolerance and civil courage, and seeks to instil a comprehension of the consequences of anti-Semitism and the crimes of the Nazis in its many visitors and countless school classes. It is one of the most popular museums in the German capital and throughout Germany. By the end of 2016 the museum had attracted nearly 11 million visitors.

Netanyahu’s letter states: “The Jewish Museum in Berlin, which is not affiliated to the Jewish community, often hosts events and discussions with prominent BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which calls for a boycott of Israel until it meets its ‘obligations under international law’] representatives.” In addition, the museum has been staging an exhibition entitled “Welcome to Jerusalem,” which, according to the Israeli government letter, focuses on “the Palestinian narrative.”

Welcome to Jerusalem at the Jewish Museum Berlin (Photo- Yves Sucksdorff)

In addition to the Jewish Museum, the letter attacks about a dozen other organisations and institutions that criticise the policies of the Netanyahu government, reject the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, promote dialogue between Jews and Palestinians, or merely provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians. It calls on the German government to stop providing financial support for these allegedly “anti-Israeli organisations”.

They include non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and initiatives such as the German Protestant churches’ “Bread for the World” and the Catholic Church’s “Misereor” aid agency. “Bread for the World” is accused of promoting initiatives such as the “Coalition of Women for Peace”, … and supporting B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation that seeks to “end the Israeli occupation”. Misereor is accused of supporting “Breaking the Silence”, a coalition of former soldiers who criticise the violation of human rights in the Palestinian territories.

The Berlin Film Festival and the Left Party’s Rosa Luxemburg Foundation are also accused of “anti-Jewish activities”. The document goes on to condemn the magazine +972 published by the Green Party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation for allegedly opposing Israeli interests, citing writers for the magazine who have “regularly” accused Israel of apartheid. Also listed in the letter are funding programs of the German Foreign Office and Ministry of Development.

The letter calls for the federal government to “review its funding guidelines.” The “German support of NGOs that interfere in the internal affairs of Israel or promote anti-Israel activities”, is unique. “We call upon the German government to tie its financial support to a complete halt to such activities.”

The 7-page letter to the German Chancellery and Development Ministry was made public earlier this month, and various media outlets reported on it. The source of the letter, however, was not initially clear, because it contained neither a sender nor a signature. It has only now emerged that it was personally handed over by Netanyahu.

As has been the case in earlier campaigns against opponents of Israeli occupation policy, the letter seeks to connect the organisations mentioned with the BDS movement and denounces them as “anti-Semitic.” For example, the Berlin Film Festival is accused of “regularly hosting BDS activists as guests.”

Opposition to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is not anti-Semitism. Rather, it is the Netanyahu government in its struggle against the Palestinian population and the Israeli working class that relies on extreme right-wing forces—entirely in the tradition of anti-Semitism.

The WSWS recently published a comment noting that Israel has become a site of pilgrimage for far-right politicians from around the world. This is so obvious that some Israeli media have referred to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial as a “washing machine” where right-wing extremists can cleanse themselves of charges of anti-Semitism. Ultra right-wing politicians who have recently received a red carpet welcome at the memorial include Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and his Austrian colleague Sebastian Kurz.

… They [European far right] would like to emulate “the passage last July of the [Israeli] so-called ‘National State Law’, enshrining Jewish supremacy as the legal foundation of the state….with their own xenophobic and racialist laws.”

This affinity between the extreme right and Netanyahu’s government has been underlined by the reaction to the Israeli letter. It has been enthusiastically greeted by the xenophobic, far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which sits in the German parliament.

In a guest commentary for the national-conservative Israeli media network Arutz Sheva, Petr Bystron, the AfD’s chairman in the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, warned against anti-Israeli lobby groups that had allegedly infiltrated senior German government circles. They were spreading one-sided reports of human rights abuses, according to Bystron, to slander Israel as “racist” and as an “apartheid state”.

Bystron claimed the AfD was the only party in Germany that opposed the supposed importation of anti-Semitism and Islamist terrorism via uncontrolled mass immigration from the Middle East. In addition, the AfD planned, he claimed, to expose the flow of money from Berlin and Brussels to the well-connected “anti-Israel” lobby.

In fact, the very same Bystron recently took part in a trip to South Africa to participate in exercises carried out by the “Suidlanders”, a right-wing, white “survivalist” group preparing for a “race war” against the country’s majority black population. One can easily anticipate that Bystron and AfD party leader Alexander Gauland may also soon be on the Yad Vashem invitation list.

Netanyahu’s attempt to squeeze off funding for the Jewish Museum plays into the hands of the far right in Germany. Memorials and museums recalling the Holocaust and Nazi crimes have always been a thorn in the side of right-wing extremists. Now the Israeli government is attacking an institution that seeks to educate millions about these crimes.

Netanyahu’s Embrace of Ethno-nationalists Endangers Jews in Europe. Israel’s right-wing is seduced by European nationalists’ warmth toward the Jewish state, and their hostility toward Islam. But an illiberal Europe intolerant of minorities and pluralism is a disaster for Jews. By Giorgio Gomel.

Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls upon fellow American Jewish organizations to join it in condemning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s embrace of the extremist right-wing political party Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”). The leaders of Otzma Yehudit have publicly endorsed the racist ideology of Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach movement was outlawed by Israel, the United States, the European Union and Canada as a terror organization. American Jewish leaders must not stay silent as Netanyahu not only endorses such a party as legitimate, but also works to bolster its political fortunes: here.

According to Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised top positions in the next government to Jewish Home leaders if they merged with the small extremist party Otzma Yehudit, or “Jewish Power,” which is led by three prominent Kahanists: here.

What Happens Now For Netanyahu After Indictment Announcement?. By Allison Kaplan Sommer, February 28, 2019.

NETANYAHU APPEARS TO SUFFER SETBACK Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell short of securing a parliamentary majority with his religious and nationalist allies in national elections, setting the stage for a period of coalition negotiations that could threaten his political future and clear the way for him to be tried on corruption charges. [AP]

NETANYAHU INDICTED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES Israel’s attorney general indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, including bribery, breach of trust and fraud. This heightens uncertainty over who will ultimately lead a country mired in political chaos after two inconclusive elections this year. [Reuters]

4 thoughts on “Israel’s Netanyahu attacks Jewish Museum Berlin

  1. A day after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu orchestrated the return of the supporters of the racist rabbi Meir Kahane to the Israeli Knesset, the American Jewish Committee, a major establishment Jewish organization, condemned the maneuver.

    “The views of Otzma Yehudit are reprehensible,” the AJC said in a statement, tweeted at the end of the business day on Thursday. “They do not reflect the core values that are the very foundation of the State of Israel. The party might conceivably gain enough votes to enter the next Knesset, and potentially even become part of the governing coalition.”

    On Wednesday, the AJC was one of a number of mainstream American Jewish groups that did not respond to the Forward’s request for comment on the merger of the Kahanist party Otzma Yehudit with the national religious party Jewish Home, likely guaranteeing the Kahanists a presence in the Knesset.

    Among those that did condemn the party merger on Wednesday were the Anti-Defamation League and the Union for Reform Judaism.

    In its statement, the AJC said that it “does not normally comment on political parties and candidates during an election,” but felt “compelled to speak out.”

    Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at or on Twitter, @joshnathankazis

    This story ” Netanyahu Merger With Racists Prompts AJC Response ” was written by Josh Nathan-Kazis.


  2. The Arabs are also human beings. And also the Druze, and the gays, and the lesbians and… gasp… leftists.

    Occupation Magazine March. 12, 2019, and articles of earlier days

    Rotem Sela, The Israeli Actress Who Provoked Netanyahu By Calling Arabs ‘Human Beings’
    Jenny Singer – The Forward – A world leader getting into an Instagram tussle over human rights with an actress? Far fetched? No, it did happen. Israeli PM Netanyahu pitted himself against Rotem Sela, an Israeli model, veteran, lawyer, activist mother of three, one of Israel’s most popular actresses. Sela had taken to Instagram to respond to an interview on Israel’s Channel 12 with Culture Minister Miri Regev. “Miri Regev is sitting and explaining to Rina Matsliah that the public needs to beware, because if Benny Gantz is elected he will have to create a government with the Arabs. Rina Matsliah is silent. And I ask myself: why doesn’t Rina ask her in shock: ‘And what’s the problem with the Arabs???’ Dear God, there are also Arab citizens in this country.” She went on, “When will anyone in this government tell the public that this is a country of all its citizens, and all people are born equal. The Arabs are also human beings. And also the Druze, and the gays, and the lesbians and… gasp… leftists.” [ak]

    Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is ‘not a state of all its citizens’
    Agence France-Presse / The Guardian – “Israel is not a state of all its citizens,” wrote PM Netanyahu on Instagram, in response to criticism from an Israeli actress, Rotem Sela. “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it. (…) There is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel. They have equal rights like all of us and the Likud government has invested more in the Arab sector than any other government, [but] Israel, a Jewish, democratic state, is the nation state not of all its citizens but only of the Jewish people”. Netanyahu has been accused of demonising Israeli Arabs, who make up about 17% of the population, in an attempt to boost rightwing turnout in elections due on 9 April. [ak]

    Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot wades into Netanyahu row over Israeli Arabs
    BBC News – “This isn`t a matter of right or left. Jew or Arab. Secular or religious,” she told her 28.3m followers on Instagram. “It`s a matter of dialogue, of dialogue for peace and equality and of our tolerance of one towards the other.” President Reuven Rivlin also appeared to get involved in the debate on Monday. Without mentioning any names, Mr Rivlin condemned what he said were recent “entirely unacceptable remarks about the Arab citizens of Israel”. [bz]


  3. Pingback: Trump threatens violence against his US opponents | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Sanders: ‘Israel now run by a right wing — dare I say — racist government’

    Eric Cortelessa – Times of Israel – Without discussing specific details, the 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders called for a change in America’s policy toward Israel, describing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach toward the Palestinians as “oppressive,” and said that his administration, should he be elected, would be more sympathetic to Palestinian concerns. “What I believe is not radical,” Sanders said. “I just believe that the United States should deal with the Middle East on a level playing field basis. In other words, the goal must be to try to bring people together and not just support one country, which is now run by a right-wing — dare I say — racist government.”


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