After canceling, German city reinstates Breaking the Silence exhibit

IDF soldiers seen near armored personnel carriers (APCs) by the southern Israeli border with Gaza, on the eighth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 15, 2014. (photo credit: Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Cologne municipality plans to present show critical of Israeli soldiers ‘in an appropriate context’ next year

By Raphael Ahren|The Times of Israel

The Cologne municipality this week decided to host an exhibition critical of IDF soldiers, days after it had canceled it under heavy protest from the local Jewish community and the Israeli embassy in Berlin.

The exhibition by the Israeli NGO “Breaking the Silence” will be shown, “in an appropriate context” in the spring of 2016, according to a statement released by the municipality. A group of local non-governmental groups dealing with the Middle East has been tasked with developing “a concept that will do justice with the complex situation in the region,” the statement [German] added.

The exhibit, which features testimonies of Israeli soldiers accusing the army of mistreating Palestinians, was originally planned to feature in a commemoration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel later this month.

But after discussions with Israeli diplomats and representatives of the Cologne Jewish community, who argued that the presentation of voices extremely critical of the IDF was one-sided and could lead to anti-Semitic sentiments, Mayor Jürgen Roters last week decided to cancel the exhibition. Roters was told that an exhibit of Israeli reservists accusing the army of serious crimes would be misplaced in the framework of a celebration of the jubilee of diplomatic ties.

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