Good news for art in Germany

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Will Williams
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Good news for art in Germany

Post by Will Williams » Sat Jan 27, 2024 2:44 pm

Berlin scraps 'anti-discrimination'
clause after backlash from cultural world

By David Mouriquand
Published on 24/01/2024
The Berlin Senate has scrapped the controversial “anti-discrimination clause” for arts funding amid protests after cultural boycott.

After several weeks of protest from figures in the arts and entertainment industry, the Berlin Senate has scrapped the controversial “anti-discrimination clause” for arts funding.

The clause was introduced in December 2023 and required recipients of government arts funding to renounce “any form of antisemitism according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s [IHRA] definition of antisemitism”, and declare that they were in favour of a “diverse society”.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism cites examples including “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” and “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor”.

The following weeks saw thousands of artists sign an open letter from the Strike Germany movement, which called for a boycott of state-funded cultural events, claiming that the “use of McCarthyist policies” suppressed “freedom of expression” in relation to displays of solidarity with Palestine and criticism of the Israeli state.

Strike Germany claimed that the IHRA definition was “increasingly becoming official state policy, effectively censoring criticism of the state of Israel and anti-Zionist perspectives from the German cultural sphere, furthering a dangerous false equivalency that ultimately harms the fight against anti-Semitism”.

Now, the clause has been dropped.

“I must take the legal and critical voices that saw this clause as a restriction on the freedom of art seriously,” said Joe Chialo, Berlin’s culture senator, in a statement. “Let there be no doubt: I will continue to fight for a Berlin cultural scene that is free of discrimination”.

The statement added that the senate plans to hold talks with cultural workers and institutions to find a “unanimous ruling”.

Strike Germany said that this is “only the beginning."

They added: “This change is the result of actions taken by a large number people on the ground in Berlin, and around the world.” ... ural-world
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