Roth wants to combat anti-Semitism in the cultural sector

by time news

2024-03-01 13:28:54

The Minister of State for Culture has ideas on how anti-Semitism could be counteracted. Should she have intervened at the Berlinale gala? She has “very difficulty” with this idea.


Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth sees a need for further action following the statements critical of Israel during the Berlinale Gala. “We have to counter anti-Semitism in the cultural sector much more effectively,” said the Green politician to the magazine “Der Spiegel”. One possible way is codes of conduct of the institutions. “It’s about the question of where artistic freedom ends when it violates human dignity.” From Roth’s point of view, such rules of conduct alone are not enough. They would have to be established through further training and sensitization and implemented in day-to-day practice. “This is a process that unfortunately doesn’t happen overnight.”

Roth himself is criticized. She sat in the hall during the gala, as did Berlin’s Governing Mayor Kai Wegner and Senator for Culture Joe Chialo (both CDU). It was only much later that everyone criticized the one-sided criticism of Israel made by some filmmakers at the gala. The federal government is the sponsor of the Berlinale, and Berlin contributes to the financing. Now Roth said: “I have a very difficult time with the idea that representatives of the federal and state governments and thus the state would intervene at an international film festival, a cultural event hosted by the Berlinale.”

Better preparation

Roth emphasized that artistic freedom includes curatorial responsibility, which must be fulfilled accordingly. “We repeatedly pointed this out in advance: What could happen in front of or on stage? What do you do if certain things are said? The Berlinale management and the presenter were also able to prepare for who would receive the prizes.”

The Green politician once again announced a comprehensive review. The supervisory board of the federal cultural events in Berlin (KBB), which includes the Berlinale, should deal with this. She called a special meeting, said Roth. According to dpa information, the committee will meet on March 11th.

The festival management is also expected at the meeting. Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian are currently at the helm, with Tricia Tuttle taking over in April. Roth wants to discuss necessary changes with Tuttle next week.

Heated atmosphere is dangerous

“It is bitter that the unsuccessful and sometimes unbearable awards ceremony is now overshadowing the entire Berlinale,” said Roth. She also regretted the form of the dispute; it was only about black and white, friend and enemy. “The spaces in between are lost, people no longer listen to each other.” This heated atmosphere is particularly dangerous for the Jews.

In Roth’s words, the fight against anti-Semitism must not lead to “the state having the role of saying what art and culture is allowed to be and what is not.” The special thing about art is that it is often ambiguous and can be interpreted in very different ways. “As Minister of State for Culture, I can’t say which films I want to see or which picture I would like to hang.”

The Middle East conflict was discussed several times during the gala on Saturday. Numerous jury members and award winners called for a ceasefire in the Gaza war verbally or with badges. Statements spoke of apartheid in connection with the situation in the territories occupied by Israel and of genocide with regard to the army’s actions in Gaza. Afterwards there was criticism including accusations of hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism. (dpa)

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