December 12, 2020 - e-flux - Statement by German cultural institutions on the parliamentary BDS resolution by the Bundestag
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December 12, 2020

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Statement by German cultural institutions on the parliamentary BDS resolution by the Bundestag


As representatives of public cultural and research institutions in Germany, we share a mandate from the state to promote arts and culture, historical research and democratic education and to make these accessible to the general public. Toward this end, we rely on a public sphere that welcomes controversial debates in accordance with the norms of the German constitution. We are further committed to paying particular attention to marginalized and disregarded voices that stand for cultural diversity and critical perspectives. At the center of our initiative lays a common struggle against anti-Semitism, racism, right-wing extremism and any form of violent religious fundamentalism. 

Today, a specific challenge lays in the responsibility to convey the particularities of the German past—which is characterized by the singular genocide of European Jews, on the one hand, and, by a late and relatively hesitant confrontation with Germany’s colonial history, on the other—to our cooperation partners around the world, so that we can work together toward a common present and future. This also entails an active commitment to heeding a diversity of Jewish positions and openness toward non-European perspectives.

It is unproductive, even detrimental to the democratic public sphere to exclude vital voices from critical dialogue, as occurred in the debate surrounding Achille Mbembe earlier this year. Germany‘s historical responsibility should not lead to a general delegitimization of other historical experiences of violence and oppression, neither morally nor politically. Their contestation and examination must be tenable especially in the publicly funded cultural and discursive realms. Against this background, the application of the parliamentary BDS resolution by the Bundestag is cause for great concern. We reject the BDS boycott of Israel since we consider cultural and scientific exchange to be essential. At the same time, we consider the logic of counter-boycott, triggered by the parliamentary anti-BDS resolution, to be dangerous. By invoking this resolution, accusations of anti-Semitism are being misused to push aside important voices and to distort critical positions. 

For this reason, we have established the “Initiative GG 5.3 Weltoffenheit” (world openness) to consolidate our expertise and efforts in order to defend a climate of diverse voices, critical reflection and an appreciation of difference. The name is a reference to Article 5, Paragraph 3 of Germany’s Basic Law, which guarantees freedom of the arts and sciences. Weltoffenheit (world openness), as we understand it, requires a political aesthetic of difference that understands alterity as a democratic asset, and art and education as spaces, which should tolerate ambivalence and permit divergent views. This includes guaranteeing open space for a diversity of voices and critically confronting one’s own privileged position as an implicit norm. 

We stand in defense of a world-open society that will struggle for the equality of all people through the rule of law and public discourse, allowing for dissent and multi layered solidarities. It is this foundation, which permits the arts and sciences to con tinue to exercise their original purpose: to critically reflect on our reigning social orders while remaining open to alternative visions for our shared world. 

–Berliner Festspiele, Thomas Oberender (Intendant)
–Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD, Silvia Fehrmann (Leiterin) 
Bündnis Internationaler Produktionshäuser:
–FFT Düsseldorf (Forum Freies Theater), Kathrin Tiedemann (Künstlerische Leiterin und Geschäftsführerin) 
–HAU Hebbel am Ufer / Berlin, Annemie Vanackere (Intendantin) 
–HELLERAU – Europäisches Zentrum der Künste / Dresden, Carena Schlewitt (Intendantin) 
–Kampnagel / Hamburg, Amelie Deuflhard (Intendantin) 
–Künstlerhaus Mousonturm / Frankfurt am Main, Matthias Pees (Intendant)
–PACT Zollverein / Essen, Stefan Hilterhaus (Intendant) 
–tanzhaus nrw / Düsseldorf, Bettina Masuch (Intendantin) 
–Deutsches Theater Berlin, Ulrich Khuon (Intendant) 
–Einstein Forum Potsdam, Susan Neiman (Direktorin) 
–Goethe-Institut, Johannes Ebert (Generalsekretär) 
–Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Bernd Scherer (Intendant) 
–Jüdisches Museum Hohenems, Hanno Loewy (Direktor) 
–Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Hortensia Völckers (Künstlerische Direktorin)
–Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für Europäisch-Jüdische Studien, Miriam Rürup (Direktorin)
–Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK), Barbara Plankensteiner (Direktorin) 
–Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss, Hartmut Dorgerloh (Generalintendant)
–Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger (Rektorin)
–Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, TU Berlin, Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Leiterin)
Weitere Unterzeichner*innen des Plädoyers:
–Deutscher Bühnenverein, Carsten Brosda (Präsident) 
–DOK Leipzig, Christoph Terhechte (Künstlerischer Leiter und Geschäftsführer)
–Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Wilfried Schulz (Generalintendant u. Festivalintendant Theater der Welt 2021) 
–Forum Transregionale Studien, Andreas Eckert (Vorstandsvorsitzender)
–Münchner Kammerspiele, Barbara Mundel (Intendantin) 
–Nationaltheater Mannheim, Christian Holtzhauer (Schauspielintendant)
–Schauspiel Köln, Stefan Bachmann (Intendant) 
–Staatsschauspiel Dresden, Joachim Klement (Intendant) 
–Theater Krefeld-Mönchengladbach, Michael Grosse (Generalintendant)
–Thalia Theater, Joachim Lux (Intendant Thalia Theater u. Präsident des  Deutschen Zentrums des Internationalen Theaterinstituts (ITI)) 
–Völkerkunde Museen in Leipzig, Dresden und Herrnhut, Léontine Meijer-van Mensch (Leiterin) 
–Württembergischer Kunstverein, Hans D. Christ und Iris Dressler (Direktoren)
Der Arbeitskreis dankt für fachlichen Rat und Diskussionsbeiträge:
–Aleida Assmann (Professorin em. für Anglistik und Allgemeine Literaturwissenschaft)
–Stephan Detjen (Journalist) 
–Emily Dische-Becker (Journalistin) 
–Anselm Franke (Kurator) 
–Andreas Görgen
–Wolf Iro (Kulturmanager und Autor) 
–Wolfgang Kaleck
–Thomas Krüger
–Christoph Möllers (Professor für Öffentliches Recht und Rechtsphilosophie)
–Michael Wildt (Professor für Deutsche Geschichte im 20. Jahrhundert mit  Schwerpunkt im Nationalsozialismus)

 

Press contact: SteinbrennerMüller Kommunikation, weltoffenheit [​at​] steinbrennermueller.de

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