Special press review: Antisemitism and Anticolonialism
The controversy surrounding Achille Mbembe

For the first time in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, an African, Achille Mbembe, is  at the centre of a public debate.

Since the Federal Government Commissioner for Anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, publicly declared that the multi-award-winning Cameroonian historian Mbembe was not suitable to give the opening speech at this year’s Ruhrtriennale because of antisemitic positions, a heated debate has since developed, which continued even after the Ruhrtriennale was cancelled at the end of April due to the Corona pandemic.

Mbembe’s defenders responded to the antisemitism accusations against him by arguing that the main aim of these accusations was to oust left-wing and marginalised groups from the public eye. While the debate initially focused on Mbembe’s relationship to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) initiative, it has since shifted to a number of more far-reaching issues; such as the uniqueness of the Holocaust, academic freedom, Germany’s handling of its colonial past, the ideological roots of post-colonialism and its view of Jewish history and Israel, among others.

Our special press review provides an overview of the most important articles available online, an audio discussion, commentaries, personal statements and interviews. This is being conducted with the intention of providing readers an initial overview of the discussion, which is now also being conducted internationally.

Please note that the special press review is only available in German. We apologise for the inconvenience.


14 July 2020, German Africa Foundation
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