German minister laments apathy of ‘silent majority’ following Hamas atrocities

Another German official declared it was ‘high time to act’ against the antisemitic wave sweeping Germany.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

Germany’s Culture Minister has spoken of her anxiety in the face of the silence of many of her fellow citizens following the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel.

In a speech on Tuesday to the Central Council of German Jews, Claudia Roth — a Green Party politician who was appointed as Culture Minister in 2021 — addressed “the silence of the majority of our country, including many in the German cultural scene” in the wake of the Hamas atrocities.

“Whatever reasons we put forward for this silence on Hamas’ terror, I cannot find an explanation for it,” Roth declared to warm applause.

“We must not remain silent, we must take a stand, clearly and unambiguously, we must show solidarity with Israel and protect and strengthen Jewish life in our country,” Roth added.

Roth went on to advocate “uniform guidelines” for arts funding across Germany’s federal system in order to prevent public money from being spent on art that promotes antisemitic tropes. Memories are still fresh in Germany of the Documenta art festival in 2022, one of the most prestigious events in the arts world, that was mired in a succession of scandals involving antisemitism, much of it framed as hostility to Israel.

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Roth’s proposal would build on a new measure recently introduced in Berlin by Joe Chialo, the German capital’s Culture Senator. Last week, Chialo announced a new condition for funding that requires artists to commit to the fight against antisemitism in order to receive financial support.

In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung on Monday, Chialo said that it was “high time to act” against the antisemitic wave that has swept Germany and other countries since Oct. 7.

“Nineteen kilometers from the place where we are sitting, on the Wannsee, the conference took place in January 1942 at which measures were decided upon to wipe out the Jewish people worldwide,” Chialo noted.

“In addition to Jews, members of other minorities were brutally and industrially murdered. It is a legacy that demands responsibility from our country,” he emphasized.