BERLIN — The director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum said Friday that he is stepping down following strong criticism of the museum’s leadership by Germany’s Jewish community.
A statement said director Peter Schaefer was resigning to prevent further damage to the museum. There was no immediate word on a long-term successor ahead of a board meeting set for next week.
Schaefer “today proposed his resignation to the chairman of the board of the foundation and Culture Minister Monika Grutters to avoid further harm to the Jewish Museum Berlin,” the statement said.
The resignation comes following an official tweet sent June 6 by the museum encouraging followers to read an article in the left-wing daily newspaper Taz about a petition in which 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars criticized a May 17 Bundestag resolution labeling the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel as anti-Semitic.
The tweet tagged the article as “#mustread.”
Facing a storm of criticism the museum, which has come under fire for welcoming anti-Zionists such as scholar Judith Butler and representatives of the Iranian regime, tweeted on June 9 that it merely wanted to call attention to the discussion and “has in no way positioned itself against the resolution of the Bundestag.”
On Tuesday, Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, slammed the museum for what he called “the last straw.”
“The Jewish Museum Berlin seems to be completely out of control. Under these conditions, one has to wonder whether the term ‘Jewish’ is still appropriate,” he wrote.
The Bundestag in its resolution described BDS’ “patterns of argumentation and methods” as anti-Semitic, including disputing Israel’s right to exist.
The nonbinding, nonpartisan resolution bars the BDS movement — and any group deemed anti-Semitic — from receiving federal funds and using public space.