BERLIN (AP) — The German president has called on organizers of this year’s Documenta Fifteen art exhibition to do more to tackle allegations of anti-Semitism surrounding the event.
The exhibition, which takes place every five years in the German city of Kassel and is considered a major event in the international art calendar, is organized this year by the Indonesian group Ruangrupa. The group has been accused of inviting organizations from developing countries that support a boycott of Israel because of the country’s treatment of Palestinians.
Speaking at the official opening of the fair on Saturday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said “there are limits” to what artists can do when addressing political issues.
“As justified as certain criticisms of Israeli policies, such as settlement building, are, recognizing Israeli statehood means recognizing the dignity and security of modern Jewry,” he said.
“As German president, I say for my country: the recognition of Israel is the basis and the condition of the debate here,” he added.
Steinmeier said he had hoped for a real debate between representatives of developing countries and Jewish communities in Germany and Israel before the show.
He called on documenta organizers not to outsource their responsibility to Indonesian curators, but rather to take on the role of mediators and “create appropriate structures” for the debate.
Many exhibits in the exhibition address issues of colonialism from the perspective of the Global South.
About 1 million people are expected to visit documenta fifteen, which lasts 100 days.
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