Dear citizens of the city of Tel Aviv,
The german city Cologne is one of Tel Aviv’s sister cities. It is the major role of a family to be there for each other and also to admonish a family member in case she should get carried away. In the case of Cologne it is time to wonder, if Tel Aviv still recognizes the sister, because Cologne is currently the scene of one of the worst anti-Semitic propaganda in Germany since 1945.
In the middle of the square in front of the Cologne Cathedral, one of the most visited places in Germany, an installation is located that calls itself “Cologne Wailing Wall”. This installation is based on the notorious Israel-hater Walter Herrmann. He compares Israel to Nazi Germany on a daily basis. Every day he and his cronies insult Jews as Nazis. Everybody who lives or visits Cologne hears this. The installation also makes use of horrific anti-Semitic cartoons.
One cartoon shows a Jew who uses a knife and fork to cut up a small Palestinian child in order to feast on his flesh and blood. It is important to point out that the cannibal shown on this cartoon is not identified as an Israeli, but as a Jew. On his chest one does not find the flag of Israel with the blue Tallit stripes, but solely the Star of David (מגן דוד), the symbol of the Jewish people. This cartoon offends not only Israel, which would be disgusting enough, but all Jews.
Israel’s ambassador Emmanuel Nahshon says:
“This cartoon is degrading and disgusting. Even with the best intentions this cannot be considered as a criticism of Israel, which is perfectly legitimate. It has nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that. The cartoon has nothing to do with the real suffering of children in Gaza, which is a direct consequence of the fact that Gaza is ruled by an Islamist terrorist organization. Instead the “Cologne Wailing Wall” portrays Jews as monsters.
One day, hopefully soon, there will be peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But until then thousands of children and young people have seen the enormity of this “Cologne Wall”. They were poisoned by the seeds of hate, that shows a Jew as a monster and that is suitable to grow intolerance and hatred.”
Almost all parties have spoken out against this anti-Semitism. The Lord Mayor of Cologne, Jürgen Roters even released a resolution, signed by all mayors and all parties (except of the left-winged DIE LINKE), condemning this “wall of hate” as the resolution calls it in the heart of Cologne.
The Liberals say: “The FDP considers this anti-Semitism as intolerable.”
The Green Party says: “We are shocked and appalled by this. It is clearly anti-Semitic no matter what one thinks of Israeli politics. “
The Christian Democrats say: “We can assure you that we do not accept this antisemitism.”
Mayor Roters also claims that he has to tolerate the anti-Semitic installation because it is supposed to be covered by the freedom of speech act. The public prosecutor of Cologne has dismissed all complaints, including the grievances filed by me, the Society for Christian-Jewish cooperation and some other citizen, asserting a violation of Germany’s hate-crime law. According to the public prosecutor of Cologne this kind of anti-Semitism does not meet the criteria of inciting hate. According to the public prosecutor the cartoon critizes Israel, not Jews in general. The public prosecutor argues that the person depicted on the cartoon cannot be considered clearly Jewish, because he does not have a hooked nose. I am not making this up! Let me quote the prosecutor:
“At all times the use of certain anatomical stereotypes that should characterize the Jews in general were typical of anti-Jewish image displays. Facial features were exaggerated in particular, in order to let Jews seem ugly, unsightly and appear racially inferior (e.g. Jewish “crooked nose”, etc.). But such imagery is not served in this case!”
It is interesting to see a German court ruling in that way, because at the same time other German courts have ruled that the display of the flag of Israel is not always considered an act of freedom of speech according to German law.
In the German city of Duisburg for example the police force broke into a private appartement to remove a flag of Israel in the window because a group of antisemites were „offended“ by it. In the German city of Bochum on the other hand a woman was fined € 300,-, because she showed the flag of Israel. If she had burned the flag she would have been covered by freedom of speech, (German version of freedom of speech I might add). The German city of Kassel made it also illegal to publically show the flag of Israel on demonstrations, while the flag of the Iran for example is allowed to be shown on demonstrations.
Germany makes it very clear: In Germany antisemitism is covered by freedom of speech, Jewish pride is not!
On the 20th, September 2008 thousands of Cologne citizen demonstrated against an anti-Islamic meeting in Cologne. Even though the meeting was covered by freedom of speech, Cologne citizen prevented it from happening. The same people of Cologne who demonstrated against this anti-Islamic action that was supposed to happen for “only” one day, keep silent in the presence of this anti-Semitism that happens each an every day in the heart of Cologne.
In weak moments I wonder if my home is truly the best sister of Tel Aviv. In an early version of this letter I had even proposed to Tel Aviv the opportunity to end the relationship with Cologne, since the citizens of Cologne are incapable to put an end to this anti-Semitism. This proposal of mine had caused harsh critique. On January, 14th 2011 I was invited to the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs. I was greeted with the words:
The office of International Affairs urged me to quit advocating the end of the relationship between Cologne and Tel Aviv.
Okay: I herby quit advocating the end of the relationship between Cologne and Tel Aviv!
I have done my duty. Now it is up to the Mayor and the city of Cologne to do their duties. Let me just name some:
Up until today the anti-Semitic installation of Walter Herrmann is not observed by the police. For a tourist who is visiting Cologne it is therefor not clear that Walter Herrmann is demonstrating. He is rather under the impression that Cologne tolerates an anti-Semitic advertising booth. I urge the city of Cologne to make sure that every minute Walter Herrmann demonstrates his hate to Israel in front of the cathedral, an approriate police unit is present in order to show to everyone, that Cologne consideres this kind of hate demonstration as highly dangerous. I further demand the cancellation of the demonstration every time it provokes a quarrel.
In December 2010 the Lord Mayor of Cologne has published a resolution that condemns the anti-Semitic demonstration of Walter Herrmann. I urge the city of Cologne to make sure that every time the notorious Israel-hater Walter Herrmann propagates his anti-Semitism in front of the cathedral the resolution is handed out to the people seeing this demonstration!
In January 2010 I filed a grievance, asserting a violation of Germany’s hate-crime law, because Walter Herrmann published a cartoon that showed a Jew eating a child and drink its blood. Even though the grievance was dismissed, Walter Herrmann removed to cartoon because it had provoked a nationwide protest. If I had not stood up the cartoon would most likely still hang there. I urge the city of Cologne to have a close look on this installation every minute it stands in front of the cathedral and call for immediate legal action every time something even smells anti-Semitic!
On the 20th, September 2008 thousands of Cologne citizens demonstrated against an anti-Islamic meeting in Cologne, even though the meeting was covered by freedom of speech, Cologne citizens prevented it from happening. I urge the city of Cologne to demonstrate against this anti-Semitic demonstration as passionate as it does demonstrate against anti-Islamic resentments.
I just want the City of Cologne to say to the world: Don’t fuck with our sister or You’re in big trouble!
Dear reader of this article, please copy this report and send it to Your friends, to the leaders of the city of Tel Aviv and to every citizen of Tel Aviv You know.