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Minister of State for Culture Roth (at the Leipzig Book Fair): "Protest is one thing, the shouted speech of an invited guest is another"

Photo: Hendrik Schmidt / dpa

At the invitation of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Clauda Roth took part in the Jewish music competition Jewrovision in Frankfurt am Main two weeks ago. During her greeting, there were loud protests from individuals in the audience. Among other things, reference was made to the debates about Documenta Fifteen in Kassel, where anti-Semitic works of art had been criticized in 2022.

Shortly thereafter, numerous Jewish celebrities backed the Green politician in an open letter. "Claudia Roth's political biography unmistakably testifies to her lifelong commitment against anti-Semitism and racism," it said under the headline "Not in our name." Among the signatories were Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Rachel Libeskind and Meron Mendel.

Now a group of Jewish citizens has joined forces for an open letter in which they take a stand against the prominent Roth support. For their cause, the 160 signatories adopt the title "Not in our name" - but direct it against the signatories of the previous petition.

The new statement states, among other things, about documenta fifteen and Roth's role as perceived by the signatories: "Although the world's most important art exhibition has been criticized for years for anti-Semitism and despite multiple references from Jewish citizens and institutions in the run-up to documenta fifteen and its proximity to the anti-Semitic BDS movement, Claudia Roth was indifferent, passive and unimpressed. She was partly responsible for the fact that the worst seditious depictions of Jews were shown, as they were last seen in Germany during the Nazi era and in ›Der Stürmer‹. We would like to emphasize that the works that were shown were not 'only' directed against Israel, but against all Jews in the world and thus also against us.«

It goes on to say: "In view of these facts, the boos and whistles against Claudia Roth at Jewrovision were a kind of catharsis for the Jewish youth but also for all of us who co-signed this letter. The frustration expressed against the Minister of State for Culture was authentic and reflects the frustration of German Jews. The protest was spontaneous and not orchestrated."

The letter also criticizes the role of Meron Mendel, a signatory of the pro-Roth petition who met with Roger Waters for SPIEGEL. This is one of the reasons why Mendel is "the last person who is able to represent the interests of the Jewish population of Germany."