In March, the Berlin Jewish Museum hosted an Iranian diplomat who received a private tour, met with the museum’s director, and made a pronouncement about the importance of distinguishing anti-Semitism from anti-Zionism. This is not the first time in the past few years that the museum has ignited controversy by inviting committed enemies of the Jewish state. More recently, the museum’s official Twitter account appeared to oppose recent German legislation declaring the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) the Jewish state a form of anti-Semitism. As a result of fierce criticism from the German Jewish community, the museum’s director—the distinguished scholar of ancient Judaism Peter Schäfer, who is not himself a Jew—has resigned. Manfred Gerstenfeld comments:
The position [of the museum’s director] has many complex political and managerial aspects and Schäfer, primarily a scholar, never should have accepted it. It requires an experienced manager with profound political understanding and instincts who is able to operate in what is for German Jews a highly problematic reality.
There are many topics that merit attention or even exhibitions by a Jewish museum in Berlin, but are [nowadays] taboo. For example: the mutation over the years of murderous anti-Semitism against Jews in Nazi Germany into the massive demonization of Israel in contemporary Germany. This expresses itself in the frequent comparisons of Israel’s actions against the Palestinians with those of the Nazis toward the Jews. Another exhibition could compare the modern-day Arab demonization of Israel and the Jews with that conducted by the Nazis. . . .
There are very different possible subjects of exhibitions as well, such as the role of the church in creating the infrastructure for persecution in Germany and how much of that survives in the current German Christian environment. . . . When the day comes that the Jewish Museum organizes such exhibitions, we will know the messianic age is dawning.