(JTA) — An expat Israeli in Berlin ejected Israel’s ambassador to Germany from his cafe on Sunday as a political statement in the midst of Israel’s ongoing political crisis.
Avi Berg, owner of Café Dodo in Berlin, announced on social media that he had told Ambassador Ron Prosor he was “not welcome in my café” because he “represents Israel, and since he implements an invalid and manipulative policy, which claims that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.”
That policy, wrote Berg, “claims that I and my peers are anti-Semitic.”
After being asked to leave, Prosor and his bodyguards left the cafe immediately, Berg reported.
“I would like to emphasize that I did what I did specifically because the ambassador isn’t an individual but an official representative of the state of Israel,” Berg told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an online email on Wednesday, “and since he and the embassy are deeply involved in putting pressure on the Bundestag and on German media and institutions to block any criticism of Israel and to label any such criticism as antisemitism. This diplomacy is implemented all over the world, but is especially effective in Germany… This policy is also very damaging against the fight against genuine antisemitism!”
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman told Haaretz that Prosor had been unaware of Berg’s political stance when he visited the cafe. Berg has been critical of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, because it says some forms of Israel criticism are antisemitic.
Rough estimates say around 10,000 Israelis live in Berlin. Many are left-wing politically and critical of Israel’s policies.
Israel is currently mired in a political crisis over its right-wing government’s push to weaken the country’s judiciary. A protest movement of hundreds of thousands against the legislation reached a peak earlier this week, as demonstrators blocked major highways and were met with water cannons.