Cologne refuses action against artist 'blood libel'

By Jessica Elgot, March 2, 2010
The antisemitic poster displayed in Cathedral Square in Cologne.

The antisemitic poster displayed in Cathedral Square in Cologne.

An anti-Israel display in Cologne, which features a cartoon of an Israeli eating a Palestinian child, does not incite racial hatred, the public prosecutor has ruled.

The image is part of a longstanding display put up in Cologne’s Cathedral Square by Walter Herrmann, named the “Wailing Wall”.

The display has now been removed from the square but Mr Herrmann has posted a sign that he plans to remount the “Wailing Wall” in June.

Many of the town’s councillors have appealed for the exhibition to be taken down.

An online petition, directed to Mayor Jürgen Roters, and asks him not to tolerate the exhibition anywhere in Cologne, has been signed by 639 people.

Gregor Timmer, the mayor’s spokesman, has described Mr Herrmann “mentally ill.” But Mayor Roters has yet to order any investigation into the display.

Rainer Wolf, spokesman for the Cologne public prosecutor, told the Jerusalem Post that they planned to dismiss a civil action filed by non-Jewish theatre director Gerd Buurmann, who claimed that the pictures violated Germany’s hate-crime laws.

Mr Wolf said: “It is not a tendency of hostility toward Jews, but an actual criticism of the situation in Gaza.
“The cartoon is a sarcastic expression of the Israeli army in Gaza.”

The cartoon features an unidentified man, shown from the neck down, wearing the Israeli flag, eating a Palestinian child on his plate, using a fork in American colours and a knife labelled “Gaza”. A glass of blood is next to the plate.

Last updated: 2:18pm, March 2 2010