BERLIN (JTA) — Critics of a caricature in Cologne showing a Jew preparing to eat a Palestinian child, with a glass of blood to wash it down, are pressing for charges against the artist.
The critics want Walter Hermann to be prosecuted for inciting anti-Semitism, but the city prosecutor so far says no.
The cartoon was visible as part of an enlarged photo of an anti-Israel demonstration. Until recently it was on display as part of a "Wailing Wall exhibit" in the center of town by Hermann, but it has been removed from Cologne’s Cathedral Square.
Following a public uproar and charges filed against him in court, Hermann has distanced himself from his own work.
The Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger online newspaper reported Tuesday that Hermann said he "didn’t agree with the message of the cartoon" and in fact dissociated himself from it "because it can be perceived as anti-Semitic." The artist said he only wanted his installation to arouse discussion about Israel’s policies.
Hermann suggested, however, that Israel itself was to blame for anti-Semitism and should "avoid actions that can revive deep-seated, anti-Jewish sentiment."
The chief prosecutor rejected charges of incitement to hate brought by non-Jewish citizens and will consider only a charge by the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation, according to the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger. Only complaints by the group affected — in this case, Jews or Jewish groups — may be considered in a charge of incitement to hate.
The failure to bring charges has been roundly criticized.