An exhibit in the German city of Cologne compares the Star of David and the Swastika.
The image shifts to display a Star of David or a Swastika, depending upon which angle it is viewed from.
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.
Such an image seems to evoke a comparison between Israel, which features the Star of David on its flag, and Nazi Germany. Whilst such comparisons are inherently antisemitic and are, as mentioned above, defined as such by a widely-used and comprehensive definition of antisemitism, it is also grossly offensive to use the Star of David, a symbol used to mark out Jewish victims in Nazi Germany as less-than-human, as a shock device in comparison with the symbol of the Nazis, who systematically exterminated six million Jews.
The artist, Juraj Kralik, responded to the controversy, saying “Le Quattro Stagione – Stolen Geometry I installation, which juxtaposes the symbols of David’s Star and the Nazi swastika, presented at Art Cologne last month, is part of this series of works. This canvas, as is the case with the rest of the series, does not aspire to comment on an individual/isolated ideology, religion or faith.”
“It does, however, aspire to be this artist’s memento of their clash, resulting in 60 million casualties, be it on the battlefield, in the concentration camp, while escaping the war zone or perhaps hiding in one’s own cellar. My emotions were the strongest while creating this piece, and I recall my hands shaking on many occasions thinking of the suffering and atrocities caused.”
However, theatre director Gerd Buurmann who has written about antisemitism, wrote on his blog: “My reply is: no, no, no! The Jewish Star of David and the Nazi swastika don’t merely symbolize ideologies. The one ideology isn’t comparable to the other. Judaism is not Nazism. Israel is not Nazi Germany.”
“There is a clear, qualitative difference between the Jewish Star of David and the Nazi swastika. Moreover, the two symbols were not in conflict with each other! Rather, it was those who ganged up behind the swastika who wanted to annihilate without exception all the people – the men, the women, the children, the infants – who stood behind the six-pointed star.”
“The Holocaust was not a conflict between Nazis and Jews! The Holocaust was the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. That’s not an armed conflict, that’s mass murder! To say this ‘conflict’ between Jews and Nazis led to the battlefield casualties of World War II, as if the Jews were a war party, is absolutely grotesque and trivializes the inhumanity of the Holocaust.
“Maybe artists shouldn’t interpret their own works of art,” he concluded. “In any case, this artist’s interpretation makes my hands shake!”