No anti-Semitic Exhibition "Wall-on-Wall" in BERLIN sign now

Open Letter:

No anti-Semitic Exhibition
at the Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg East Side Gallery

Earlier this year, the Council of the Berlin Borough of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg gave its approval to the exhibition Wall on Wall at the East Side Gallery by the river Spree. The Gallery is the longest remaining part of the former Berlin Wall, the most visible expression of the former German Democratic Republics dictatorial one-party system.

However, the final decision on the open-air exhibition has time and again been postponed; the Borough Assembly of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is now expected to reach a conclusive decision on April 23, 2008. The Boroughs Cultural Committee will first discuss the project on April 16. So far the German Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Left Partys federal working group Shalom Berlin der Linksjugend [`solid] as well as a number of Members of the German Parliament have disassociated themselves from the project in public.

Of course, criticism - of isolation, of walls (particularly inside peoples heads), of racism as well as of the refusal to offer protection to those in need - is an elementary part of any democracy. Especially since the 1990s, many groups, organizations, politicians and committed people from all walks of all life in the Federal Republic of German have actively worked with refugees and against anti-racism, this in view of the fact that since the 1990s attacks on refugees and migrants and their killings by neo-Nazis have increased to an unprecedented extent. More than 100 people defined as un-German by neo-Nazis were killed since.

What though is the point of the Wall on Wall project that is under discussion? For a few weeks pictures taken by the photographer Kai Wiedenhцfer are to be shown on the East Side Gallerys walls. Wiedenhцfer himself initiated the project. In 2007 he published a book of illustrations showing photographs of Israels anti-terror wall between Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Territories.

Between September 29, 2000 and December 1, 2004 a total of 919 Israelis were killed in Israel by Palestinian terrorists. 6,123 Israelis were injured. During this period 20,416 terrorist attacks took place.

The purpose of the wall, which is actually in large parts a fence, is to prevent and protect people from terrorist attacks which have been occurring on a daily basis. Like the recent attack on the fuel depot Nahal Oz where two Jewish people were killed. One of them leaves behind his ex-wife as well as a daughter in Germany.

Wiedenhцfers photo book shows 50 double-paged panorama style pictures of the anti-terror protection wall in Israel. The photographs were taken between 2003 and 2006 and display different perspectives on the wall. Harmless horses, small children and Arabic women with headscarves are shown standing opposite Israeli soldiers, facing this fence or wall. For Wiedenhцfer the Jews are the perpetrators, Palestinians are displayed as victims. There is not a single photograph of a Jew blown to pieces by an Islamic-Arabic suicide bomber. Not a single fanatic Jihad fighter set against the Jews by the terrorist organisation Hamas or by preachers in West Bank mosques is to be seen. For years they have been using their own civilian population as shields or as smugglers of bombs. The fence is directed against these terrorists. Israel is the only democratic state in the Middle East. Over one million of its citizens are Arabs. The Israeli Minister of Sciences and Sport is Arab. These Arabs prefer to live in Israel rather than under an undemocratic, Islamic-Arabic regime.

Whoever compares the Berlin Wall a symbol of dictatorship, a rejection of a Western liberal attitude to the Israeli fence that is directed against attacks by Palestinian and other anti-Semitic terrorists, acts irresponsibly and with an anti-Semitic attitude. It is a feature of modern anti-Semitism to compare or equate Israel to dictatorships. This is exemplified by Wiedenhцfers photo book which was published last year. On pages 92/93 it shows a photo of the protective wall smeared by anti-Semites as follows: Warsaw 1943, flanked by swastikas and the Star of David, next to it American Money Israeli Apartheid. Equating the Warsaw Ghettoes with the situation Palestinians in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories are finding themselves in today is a typical and particularly disgraceful case of anti-Semitism. Jews are likened to their murderers, i.e. German Nazis. The European Unions working definition of anti-Semitism as well as international research on anti-Semitism have analyzed this as being judeophobia.

It is intended to expand the exhibition to include depictions of border installations in the U.S./Mexico, in south-western Europe or in Northern Ireland, yet this does not affect the basic spirit in which this scandalous exhibition was conceived.

We are finding it hard to believe that members of the Green Party, the largest party in the Borough Assembly of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, intend to support such an exhibition, since some of its members used to represent the former Bьndnis 90, an opposition movement in the former German Democratic Republic. One would not expect them to favour a grotesque playing down of the Berlin Wall.

Whoever turns against the anti-terror fence - built as a mere protection for Israel - closes his or her eyes to the fact that without the fence every day people in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem would feel scared to death on any bus on their way to work.

Should the Borough Assembly of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg decide in favour of the anti-Semitic exhibition Wall on Wall, we will see this as a sign that nothing has been learnt from history. We will understand that the Borough supports anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism as well as a playing down of the GDRs Berlin Wall, so hostile to human beings.

We demand from the Borough Assembly of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg in Berlin:

No space for the anti-Israeli exhibition Wall on Wall by the Berlin Wall

No playing down of the dictatorship of the state party in the former GDR nor of the prison that the GDR meant to its people

No equating of democracies such as Israel, Europe, Northern Ireland and the U.S. with a dictatorship (GDR)

We furthermore demand from the Borough Assembly of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg:


No space for the plotting of anti-Semitic world conspiracy theories such as they are part of the exhibition organized by Kai Wiedenhцfer (Israel Nazis - U.S. - money - Israels Apartheid)

The creation of a partnership with the Israeli town of Sderot which is under daily threat by rockets from the Gaza Strip, analogous to the twinning of the Borough of Tempelhof-Schцneberg with the Israeli town of Nahariya

Solidarity with the State of Israel and a telegram congratulating on its 60th anniversary.


Signatory:

1. Dr. Clemens Heni, Berlin (Akademiker fьr den Frieden im Nahen Osten/Scholars for Peace in the Middle East/German Chapter - SPME)
2. Susanne Wein, Berlin (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East/German Chapter)
3. Dr. Elvira Grцzinger, Berlin (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East/German Chapter)
4. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ralf Schumann, Berlin (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East/ German Chapter, Instit. for Microbiology and Hygiene; Charitй-Universitдtsmedizin)
5. Prof. Dr. Diethard Pallaschke (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East/German Chapter; Institut fьr Statistik und Mathematische Wirtschaftstheorie, Universitдt Karlsruhe)
6. Jцrg Rensmann, Berlin (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East/German Chapter)
7. Dr. Karl Ernst Roehl, Karlsruhe (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East/German Chapter; Dr. rer. nat., Department of Applied Geology, Karlsruhe University)
8. Philippe Witzmann, Berlin (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East/German Chapter)
9. Landesarbeitskreis SHALOM Berlin der Linksjugend solid
10. Bjoern Tielebein, Berlin Sprecher Landesarbeitskreis SHALOM Berlin Linksjugend solid
11. Samuel Laster, www.juedische.at , Berlin/Wien
12. Tobias Jaecker, Journalist, Berlin
13. DI Dagmar Pfeifer, Wien
14. Karl Pfeifer, Journalist, Wien
15. Mag. Laura Gruber, Kommunikationswissenschafterin, Salzburg
16. Dr. Martin Jander, Unwrapping-History, Berlin
17. Yelda Цzcan, Journalistin, Berlin
18. Martin Ulmer, Kulturwissenschaftler, Tьbingen
19. Stephen Tree, Autor, Berlin
20. Flуra Tree-Rothschild, Berlin
21. Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, Publizist, Frankfurt am Main
22. Kerstin Heimbold & Markus Vallen GERMAN MEDIA WATCH
23. Aliki Bьrger, Berlin
24. Martin Wein, Berlin
25. Otto R. Romberg, Frankfurt am Main Redaktion TRIBЬNE
26. Thomas Rassloff ADF Anti-Defamation Forum e.V.
27. Sacha Stawski, Frankfurt am Main, Honestly Concerned e.V.
28. Prof. Dr. Monika Schwarz-Friesel , Friedrich-Schiller-Universitдt Jena, Institut fьr Germanistische Sprachwissenschaft
29. Bьndnis gegen Antisemitismus, Berlin (BgA)
30. Ursula Duba, USA
31. Prof. Dr. Heinz Gess, Fachhochschule Bielefeld


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Johnny WiseBy:
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Petition target:
Local Government of Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Germany

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