Professor Peter Schäfer, director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum, on Friday resigned over his tweet that linked to an article about Israeli academics who condemned the recent German parliament’s anti-BDS legislation. According to the museum’s website, Schäfer resigned “to avoid further damage” to the institution under his direction.


Under Schäfer’s direction, in 2017, the museum was criticized for an exhibition titled “Welcome to Jerusalem,” which focused on daily life, religion and politics in the city, and was accused of an anti-Zionist bias. By sheer coincidence, the exhibition opened just as President Donald Trump was embracing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and promising to move the US embassy there.

But it wasn’t as if the museum was juxtaposing the Jewish and Arab versions about the eternal city. When the organizers of “Welcome to Jerusalem” called on Arabs to contribute documents and exhibits to the show, they were rejected, because, as Cilly Kugelmann, program director of the Jewish Museum from 2002 to March 2017, put it: “They refuse to participate in an exhibition that has been organized by and with Jews.”

So Professor Schäfer and the gang at BJM took over the Arab side of the competing narratives and included a work by vehement anti-Israel artist Mona Hatoum called “Present Tense,” in which she depicted what she called “the new outlines of Palestine” on a mosaic consisting of square pieces of soap.

In Berlin, mind you.

They also featured a video about an Arab grandfather who travels to Jerusalem with a big key, pointing at a house that he said belonged to his family until they were “expelled” in 1948. “I thought this was only a military exercise, and that we would just wait until it was over to then return to our house,” the man poor grandfather testified.

And there was this heartfelt description: “A group of Jewish extremists has already founded the Temple Institute that prepares the construction of the ‘Third Temple.’ […] Large funds support this movement, and it has already recreated equipment for the temple, including the Golden Menorah. The Temple Institute’s ultimate goal appears to be to tear down the Haram al Sharif, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Some observers even fear that, should this happen, it could trigger the outbreak of the Third World War.”

Ah, those extremist Jews and their large funds. So, there you had it, the next final solution, this time for the entire planet, conveniently located only a 30-minute walk from Brandenburg Gate.

Schäfer, 76, was Professor of Religion and the Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Judaic Studies at Princeton University before taking the job at the Jewish Museum. His research interests include Jewish history in Late Antiquity, the religion and literature of Rabbinic Judaism, Jewish mysticism, 19th and 20th-century Wissenschaft des Judentums, and Jewish magic.


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