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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Berlin exhibit compares 'security fence' to Berlin Wall

A publicly funded photography exhibit in Berlin compares Israel's 'security fence,' which while providing imperfect protection has helped bring about a drastic reduction in 'Palestinian' suicide terrorism within the green line, to the Berlin Wall (pictured above) that formerly separated the East and West German sectors of the city.
In late April, a majority of District representatives from the Green and the Left parties approved German photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer's "Wall on Wall" display, showing photos of the West Bank security fence at the East Side Gallery, a historical landmark containing sections of the Berlin Wall that commemorates a divided Berlin during the Cold War period.

"Especially given Berlin's international reputation as the German capital, no political propaganda should be made with the commemorations at the Berlin Wall, especially not agitation that is anti-Israel and contrary to the basic principles of German policy," Klaus Faber, a member of the Coordinating Council of German non-Governmental Organizations Against Anti-Semitism, told The Jerusalem Post.

But speaking by phone from the US, Wiedenhöfer refuted the statement, telling the Post, "I am not doing propaganda."

Photos from Wiedenhöfer's book, Wall (2007), will be used for the exhibit set to open this summer at the large open-air Gallery along the Spree river, which runs through the heart of Berlin. Asked about the comparison of the Berlin Wall with the West Bank security fence, he said that the "Berlin Wall is a positive thing" because it "was overcome by peaceful means."

Still, the Social Democratic Party faction within the District council voted against the exhibit and wrote on its home page that the display "relativizes the SED dictatorship and at the same time condemns, among other things, the policies of the State of Israel."

The SED was the ruling party in the former East Germany.

Critics charged that the images in Wiedenhöfer's book fanned the flames of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments. For example: A photo of graffiti on the separation barrier shows the message, "Warsaw 1943," accompanied by a swastika and Jewish star and the statement "America Money Israeli Apartheid."

Dr. Clemens Heni, a German political scientist whose area of expertise is anti-Semitism, said the photo was a "typical expression of the new anti-Semitism" because of the description of the Palestinian situation as the modern embodiment of persecuted Jews in the Nazi-controlled Warsaw ghetto in 1943, as well as the parallel between the swastika and the star of David.

According to the "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism" issued by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, "comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" are an expression of anti-Semitism.
Read the whole thing. Too bad Zvi Mazel has retired.


At 9:45 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The comparison is an obscene one. The Berlin Wall was built by the Communist regime to keep its population from emptying the country by en-masse flight. Israel built its security wall to keep terrorists from infiltrating Israel to murder Jews. In short, the object of one was the evil the object of the other was to save lives. Let's remember that the next time someone raises the Israelis are the same as the East Germans canard.

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Kae Gregory said...

I believe that a comparison can be fairly made. The Germans earned their wall but by no means was it all they deserved. The Edomites earned their wall as well and while it may be a response to the problem, it is not the answer. A state and land will never satisfy them while Israel or, for that matter, a single Jew still exists.


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