An official seven page letter from mid September, sent by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office to Chancellor Angelika Merkel, was published on December 6. The letter demanded Germany to cut its funding of the Jewish Museum in Berlin over the exhibition, Welcome to Jerusalem, since it “presents a Muslim-Palestinian perspective of the city”. The museum’s main exhibition is running since December 2017. The Jewish Museum said in a statement that “We believe open dialogue on controversial issues is crucial to allow (the museum’s) visitors to form their own position on the matter and judge it for themselves.”
Also listed are 12 NGOs and culture organizations, initiatives and institutions that Israel demands Germany fiscally divest from, including the Berlin International Film Festival (the Berlinale), exchange and funding programmes from the German Foreign Ministry, Women Wage Peace, Action Medeor, the Catholic Relief Services, and the Israeli opinion and news website +972 Magazine, which receives funding from the Heinrich Böll Foundation (politically associated with the German Green Party). The letter urges Germany to “review its funding guidelines” for organizations that are involved in “anti-Israeli propaganda” or endorse the anti-Israeli BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).
Sources: Die Tageszeitung (TAZ) December 6, 2018; Hyperallergic.com; Haaretz.com; ynetnews.com ; Sueddeutsche Zeitung, December 19, 2018
For a campaign of arts organisations and human rights charities to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, artist Ai Weiwei has created a flag to celebrate universal human rights in UK. On 24 — 30 June 2019 schools and organisations are called “to celebrate that human rights are for everyone, every day.”
The website offers tutorials and information material for schools.
On December 4 the European Parliament accepted the Commission’s proposal for a revision of the Visa Code. The changes in the Visa Code will better recognize the needs of of touring artists and cultural professionals. The European social partners of the live performance sector, represented by EAEA and Pearle* Live Performance Europe have welcomed the possibility for this group of travellers to be able to travel within the Schengen area for up to one year as long as they do not stay more than 90 days in a 180-day period in one single Member State would facilitate the touring needs, increase opportunities for extended tours and thus bring more income to the local and regional economies. It will also reduce the time wasted to leave the Schengen, related costs and loss of income. The other outcomes are also an improvement:
- possibility to lodge an application already nine months in advance
- clear definition of the costs included in the visa fees requested by service providers and possibility for applicants to be further allowed to lodge applications directly at consulate
- possibility to submit visa application in the consulate of the destination country where the employer or host organisation is based
- a visa fee of 60 EUR for applicants whose data are already entered in the Visa Information System and a reduction of the visa fee to 60 EUR for cultural touring groups
Pearle* and EAEA regret that the complicated and strict system to obtain a Multiple Entry Visa, has not been made easier and clearer for visa applicants.
Source: Pearle* press release
The first-of-its-kind, 100-page report has been launched on November 29 at the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen. The report highlights the inequality, exclusion and harassment of women artists and audiences around the world, as documented through five years of research. It is based on dozens of qualitative interviews and contains analysis of over 90 cases of violations against women artists and audiences.
Read the report Creativity Wronged: How women’s right to artistic freedom is denied and
Some 1,000 Israelis turned out for the Oct. 27 demonstration in Tel Aviv against proposed legislation known as the “Loyalty in Culture” law.
Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev plans a cultural loyalty bill that would allow to cut state funding to cultural institutions which violate the so-called Nakba Law. The Nakba Law authorises Israel’s finance minister to revoke funding from institutions that reject Israel’s character as a “Jewish state” or mark the country’s Independence Day as a day of mourning. In fact, every one of the 98 requests to enforce the Nakba Law submitted in the past year were rejected by the Finance Ministry’s legal adviser, including 17 requests that came from the Culture Ministry. The Cultural Loyalty Bill would transfer the authority to revoke government funding to cultural institutions tot the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Regev would have the power to cut a quarter, a third and even half the budget of every Israeli theater. In Israel, with its relatively small culture market, survival hinges on government funds.
Speaking at the protest, actress, dancer and choreographer Renana Raz said “The desire to tame the art in law is so foolish, but more than that is also evil and even more than that – it is doomed to failure. Because to want loyalty in culture is to change the DNA of art, of creativity, of life.”
Sources: Al Monitor: Israel’s ‘Loyalty in Culture’ law spreads to other ministries (November 8), Israeli artists campaign against ‘Loyalty in Culture’ law (October 30); Haarez: Regev’s Loyalty Law (November 12); Jerusalem Post: HUNDREDS PROTEST ‘CULTURAL LOYALTY BILL’ IN TEL AVIV (November 12)
UPDATE: Scheduled for final vote on Monday November 26, the bill has been removed for an indefinite time from the Knesset agenda. (Sources: Deutsche Welle, Jerusalem Post)
“Because Europe means unifying people, not integrating states…The European Council is hereby decommissioned. The European Parliament now has the power to make law.
Long live the European Republic!” On 10 November at 4 pm from over 150 balconies at public places and theatres all over Europe the manifesto for the proclamation of the European Republic was declared.
ITI Germany was co-organizer of the event at art center Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin-Kreuzberg. See all initiatives and comments at the project’s website.
European Balcony Project