German Jewish group hails museum head’s resignation over tweet to pro-BDS story
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German Jewish group hails museum head’s resignation over tweet to pro-BDS story

Germany’s Central Council of Jews says Peter Schaefer stepping down will ‘prevent further damage to the institution’

In this file photo taken on August 21, 2014, then-Director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin Peter Schaefer poses outside the Jewish Museum in Berlin. (Wolfgang Kumm/dpa/AFP) )
In this file photo taken on August 21, 2014, then-Director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin Peter Schaefer poses outside the Jewish Museum in Berlin. (Wolfgang Kumm/dpa/AFP) )

Germany’s Central Council of Jews has welcomed the resignation of the director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum amid accusations he promoted views critical of Israel.

Council President Josef Schuster said Friday that Peter Schaefer’s resignation was appropriate, especially at a time when the museum is in the process of opening a new permanent exhibition and a children’s museum.

He said it was “an important step in order to prevent further damage to the institution.”

Schaefer resigned Friday 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.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, speaking at the Westend synagogue, in Frankfurt, Germany, September 26, 2016. (Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images via JTA)

The tweet tagged the article as “#mustread.”

Separately, Israel objected earlier this year to an exhibition on Jerusalem, which it argued presented a one-sided Palestinian view.

A Friday statement said that 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 Friday statement said.

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.”

The Berlin Jewish Museum is under fire for retweeting a link to a pro-BDS article. (Prisma by Dukas/Universal Images Group/ Getty Imagesvia JTA)

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.

On Tuesday, Schuster 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.

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