(January 25, 2019 / JNS) The German government vowed this week that it would not let the Jewish Museum Berlin serve as a platform for the BDS movement, Israel Hayom has learned.
Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters, who heads the museum’s board, announced the decision in response to a query on the matter after criticism emerged over the anti-Israel content in the museum.
In the response, Grütters said, “We have no intention of having the museum become a venue for BDS supporters,” but she refused to concede that the state-funded museum had been promoting anti-Israel propaganda or collaborating with BDS supporters.
The Jewish Museum Berlin—one of the main tourist attractions in the German capital—is unaffiliated with the local Jewish community, but rather a public institution funded by the German government and the Berlin Municipality.
The Israeli government has recently sent the authorities in Berlin a document detailing the publicly funded organizations that promote anti-Israel activity, mentioning the museum as one of them.
The document was leaked to the German press and led to accusations that Israel was trying to interfere with domestic German affairs.
Just recently, the museum was harshly criticized for using a controversial poster to advertise an exhibition on Jerusalem. The poster, which ironically highlighted the city’s Muslim symbols rather than its Jewish ones, sparked outrage among Germany’s Jewish community.
Other advertisements for the exhibition also shockingly downplay the Jewish character of Jerusalem. A model of Al-Aqsa mosque is touted in a promotional brochure as one of the exhibition’s main attractions, instead of any Jewish site. Likewise, the Zionist movement and Israel were portrayed as aggressors that wrested control over Jerusalem from the Palestinians
Legislation targets Israel in the Irish parliament
Meanwhile, the Israeli government lambasted Ireland on Thursday after lawmakers in Dublin voted to criminalize the import of products from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a harsh statement saying the Irish ambassador to Israel would be summoned to the foreign office in order to lodge an official protest.
“Israel is outraged over the legislation targeting Israel in the Irish parliament that rings of hypocrisy and anti-Semitism,” the statement read. “Instead of condemning Syria for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians, Turkey for the occupation of northern Cyprus, and terrorist organizations for murdering thousands of Israelis, Ireland attacks Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. What a disgrace.”
Under the provisions of the bill, people who trade with Jewish settlements could be fined up to €250,000 ($283,000) and be sent to prison for up to five years.
The Irish bill, which passed the upper house several months ago, still has several hurdles to clear before it can be enacted. The Irish right-wing ruling party, Fine Gael, has tried to shelve the bill, but it lacks a majority in parliament to do so.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney warned Thursday that the bill contravenes European Union rules since member states cannot set their own trade policy. If the bill becomes law, Coveney warned, Ireland might be heavily penalized by Brussels.
The bill might also prompt companies that currently trade with Israel to close shop in Ireland, ultimately hurting the Irish economy.