Israeli Diplomatic Pressure Leads to Cancellation of Breaking the Silence Show in Germany
A Breaking the Silence event that was scheduled to be held in Cologne during the celebration of 50 years of diplomatic ties between Israel and Germany has been cancelled, Israeli NRG news reported on Thursday.
Intervention by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Embassy in Berlin led to the show’s cancellation. When the Embassy discovered that the exhibition was planned and listed on the list of official events, under the mission’s own logo, it sent out a request to the Cologne city council to scrap the event.
Rogel Rachman, in charge of public relations at the Israeli Embassy, told NRG that, “Cologne regularly holds many events related to Israel,” and that, “the city had advertised, under the logo of the celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two sates, a list of events, most of which were related to relations between Israel and Germany.”
However, Cologne, which is the “sister city” of both Tel Aviv and Bethlehem, also organized other events as part of the celebration that related, more broadly, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among them were, “a Symposium on Peace Movements in Israel and Palestine,” and “An African Perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and others.
Rachman said that all of these events appeared together under the official logo, which was only permitted to be used by the German Foreign Ministry, the Goethe Institute, and the Israeli Embassy.
“When we heard that the ‘Breaking the Silence’ event was being included in the 50-year events, we made clear our position that this would not be acceptable to us,” Rachman said, adding that the use of the logo was deceptive to the public that “really wants to hear about Israel.”
After the Israeli complaints, the City removed the logo from the event’s advertisements, but it was still listed in the program of events. “This was [also] unacceptable to us, because it could be mistakenly concluded that it was connected to the 50-year celebrations.”
The Israeli Embassy then stepped up its action and sent a letter stating that, “as long as there is no clear distinction between the events connected to Israeli-German relations and those who belong at another events, the Israeli Embassy cannot participate at all in these events.”
Meanwhile, the City of Cologne received a number of inquiries from various groups and city residents, asking for the event to be canceled. In the end, the mayor received a decision to cancel the event.