Jonas Staal turns down DAAD residency nomination over anti-Palestine censorship

Jonas Staal, Extinction Wars, 2023 (installation view). Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0

In a letter addressed to Joybrato Mukherjee, President of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and Rector of the University of Cologne, Dutch artist Jonas Staal rejects the institution’s residency fellowship nomination over Mukherjee’s complicity in anti-Palestine censorship in Germany. Staal cites Mukherjee’s rescission of the Albertus Magnus Professorship at University of Cologne to Jewish-American political theorist Nancy Fraser, due to her signature of a pro-Palestine letter that condemned the ‘ongoing and rapidly escalating massacre being committed in Gaza by Israel’.

‘I fail to imagine how you, as a representative of a German state institution, feel you are entitled to dictate to Jewish people what they are supposed to think or say about the crimes of the Israeli occupation,’ the artist writes. ‘I am appalled by your antisemitic narrative that equates the Israeli regime with the global Jewish diaspora. And I do not comprehend how, in consideration of the brutal history and shame of the Holocaust and mass persecution which saw the killing of Jewish, Roma, and Sinti people, as well as queer people and communists, you are today actively contributing to a culture in which the oppression of speech of people faced with genocide is normalized.’

Staal goes on to recount incidents of violence targeted at pro-Palestine activists that have occurred in Germany, including the 12 April event in which the German police barged into the Palestine Congress in Berlin, resulting in arrests of dozens of activists, as well as the anti-semitic censorship that continues to take place despite the country’s support of the Israeli government: ‘Speaking as a citizen of a country with a brutal colonial history and terrible collaboration with the Nazi regime, I must tell you: You are now part of a climate in which “never again” has become “yet again.”’

‘I must reject the nomination given to me by your institution, but the invitation to join the side of history that bends towards justice remains always open,’ the artist concludes.

Most recent


We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy.