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The Documenta now has to deal with its budget

It's hard to believe: another anti-Semitic motif has appeared at the Documenta world art exhibition.

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The Documenta now has to deal with its budget

It's hard to believe: another anti-Semitic motif has appeared at the Documenta world art exhibition. A triptych by the Indonesian artist group Taring Padi shows a greedy Jew with a kippa, a long nose, bulging lips and a money bag. He is pictured with a malicious grin. The Young Forum of the German-Israeli Society noticed the motif last weekend. When the activists documented the anti-Semitic caricature, the kippa was covered with a makeshift tape - apparently by those responsible for the Documenta.

The artistic director, in consultation with Taring Padi, now explains that the work "does not contain any anti-Semitic imagery". "We are currently compiling comprehensive information in order to make this clear to critics as well," the documenta announced. However, the motif described clearly uses centuries-old anti-Jewish resentment.

Therefore consequences are finally needed. So far, all the hatred of Jews that has already been made public has remained largely without consequences: a collective of curators that is close to the Israel boycott movement BDS; Jews with the physiognomy of a pig or with fangs and SS runes on their guard; equating Israel's military operations with Nazi Germany's air force bombardment; and hook-nosed Israeli soldiers as sneaky murderers and rapists.

Documenta General Director Sabine Schormann has resigned from her post. But the politicians, who are supporting the exhibition with public funds running into the millions, have so far left it at warning words.

As a reminder, the Bundestag decided in 2019 “not to fund any projects that call for a boycott of Israel or that actively support the BDS movement”. If you still want to take this decision seriously, the funds for the Documenta should be frozen until the anti-Semitism scandal has been ruthlessly dealt with and further cooperation with Israel and Jew haters is ruled out. With reference to the Bundestag resolution, this applies to funding from the Federal Cultural Foundation. But grants from the state of Hesse and the city of Kassel also need to be examined.

The new general director Alexander Farenholtz has so far reacted ignorantly to criticism from Jews. Since he did not want to see anti-Semitism in the hooked nose of an Israeli soldier, the Frankfurt Jewish community accused him of playing down anti-Semitism a few weeks ago. When asked, Farenholtz explained that he did not feel addressed by the criticism. With this relinquishment of responsibility, he shows no awareness of the fears of Jews and other critics. A confidence-building measure looks different.

And the Ruangrupa curatorial collective? Rejected the allegation of anti-Semitism last weekend and named racism as the reason for an alleged prejudice in the “SZ” interview. Meanwhile, Documenta artist Hamja Ahsan declares Chancellor Olaf Scholz a "fascist pig".

"His artistic contribution to documenta fifteen uses folk iconography and humor to show the cracks that arise from social exclusion," the documenta homepage continues to say about Ahsan, without any critical word. Even before the start of the art festival, Ahsan had called for the "death of Israel" and referred positively to the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Apparently, people in Kassel don't mind when artists spread such hate propaganda. That's why the documenta finally has to tackle the budget.

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