Op-Ed: Berlin Museum's Jewrassic Park
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
Last December, a statue of Adolf Hitler praying on his knees, was on display in the former Warsaw Ghetto, where so many Jews were killed or sent to their deaths. The work, "HIM", by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, received a green light from the local Jewish leaders. Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said he was consulted on the Cattelan statue's placement ahead of time and did not oppose it because he saw value in the artist's attempt to try to raise moral questions by provoking viewers.
Now it is the turn of Berlin's Jewish Museum, where there is a new "artistic" exhibition. Its central feature a living Jew inside a glass box. To use the expression coined by the popular German-language pro-Israel website Die Achse des Guten (The Axis of Good), this is "Jews for Dummies".
The showcase with a real Jew inside is, though not intended to be, actually the symbolic representation of the everyday life of Jews in Europe today: muted, invisible, intimidated, like mummies on display in a zoo. The question on the box is "Are there still Jews in Germany?"
The Museum was created to make the Germans feel good. Whether it is good wishes for the Jewish New Year, or the opening of a charity bazaar by a Jewish women's organization - whether attended by the chancellor of the Federal Republic or the prime minister of Rheinland-Pfalz or a city councillor in Cloppenburg-Vechta - in every case, the "Jewish contribution to German culture and history" is extolled, the Jews are always thanked for their willingness to go for reconciliation. This is why the Museum was created.
Michael Blumenthal, the American Jew who oversees the direction of the Jewish Museum, wrote "the museum takes no positions on political issues, whether in Germany, Israel or anywhere else".
That is false. The Berlin Jewish Museum, created by Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind (how many enlightened Jews there are!) as a requiem and a tribute to German Jewry, is an anti-Zionist institution.
The new museum's installation presents 30 questions in the exhibit rooms, such as "Are the Jews the Chosen People?"
Or "Is a German allowed to criticize Israel?".
Are the same 47% of Germans who are of the opinion that “Israel is exterminating the Palestinians,” according to a poll undertaken by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, affiliated with the German Social Democratic Party?
In another poll conducted by the University of Bielefeld, 51% of German respondents agreed with the statement that: “What the state of Israel does today to the Palestinians, is in principle not different from what the Nazis did in the Third Reich to the Jews”.
German public opinion contains - once again - elements that envision a world cleansed of the Jewish state.
In the late 1960s, Austrian Jewish writer and Auschwitz survivor Jean Amery neatly captured the post-Holocaust definition of anti-Zionism, when he wrote that “Anti-Zionism contains anti-Semitism like a cloud contains a storm.” In the case of Berlin's Jewish Museum, it is anti-Semitism in a glass box.
The Berlin Museum installation shows that Europe's Jewish diaspora is not only dying, but what's left of it is being employed against the Jewish State.
Last September, the internationally renowned Jewish Museum of Berlin hosted a podium discussion with US academic Judith Butler, who renewed her calls to boycott Israel. It was the first anti-Israel event held in the Jewish Museum since its opening.
What happened to moral clarity? Why do Europe's Jews partecipate in this s- called "museum" in the city in which the Final Solution to the Jewish question was decided upon?
Tina Luedecke, the Jewish museum representative, justified the "Jew in the box" exhibit, saying: "A lot of our visitors don't know any Jews and have questions they want to ask. With this exhibition we offer an opportunity for those people to get to know more about Jews and Jewish life."
Video monitors in the Berlin Jewish Museum offer four stories, "Diaspora", "Settlements", "Traders", "Persecution". So according to this Jewish institution, history goes from the destruction of the Temple to Auschwitz. The State of Israel is not included in Jewish history. This is what four million visitors, the number of people who passed through the museum since its opening in 2001, have been educated to think.
The Museum routinely presents anti-Israel cultural events. Like when it offered the screening of the Palestinian movie "Paradise Now", which shows the route that two young Palestinian Arabs take to become suicide murderers, up until the minute they board a bus in Tel Aviv filled with Jewish children. A disgraceful movie which says that suicide bomber murder is legitimate when you feel you have exhausted all other means to achieve what you want.
Last but not least, the Jewish Museum screened "Checkpoint", another pro-Arab movie. That's why Yossi Mendellevich, Yossi Zur and Ron Kerman, who all lost children in a suicide bomb attack on a Haifa bus on March 5, 2003, protested the movie.
Why did the most important German Jewish institution grant a venue and audience to this anti-Semitic movie?
Not that long ago, the Germans tried to literally mummify Europe's Jews. Today they treat their confused survivors as dinosaurs who are suitable for a museum exhibit and indict the State of Israel as a passing incident in history.
German Jews, who were robbed of everything, support this anti-Zionist "cultural initiative". Call it Berlin's Jewrassic Park.