Wednesday 22, November
Oyoun cultural centre to close after Berlin cuts funding
On Tuesday evening, left-wing cultural centre Oyoun shared a message on their Instagram. “We are lost for words and still in shock. Oyoun’s funding will be cut, and the space will be shut – next month. As we have only found out during yesterday’s cultural committee, we have yet to grasp the horrific consequences this will have – for all of us in Berlin and beyond.
“This decision feels like more than just a closure; it resembles the setting of a precedent that all state-funded institutions may now fear. The implications are far-reaching, impacting the very essence of artistic freedom and expression.”
This announcement follows criticism of Oyoun by Berlin politicians. The dispute arose when the centre refused to cancel an event from the organisation “Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East”, of which the city did not approve. Despite being a Jewish-led organisation, the city believes that the support “Jewish Voice” has given for the BDS movement – which calls for boycotts and sanctions against Israel – makes it effectively antisemitic. The Bundestag classified the BDS movement as antisemitic in 2019.
Since then, politicians from across the spectrum have criticised Oyoun. Neukölln MP Susanne Kahlefeld (Greens) called for funding to be withdrawn and Culture Senator Joe Chialo (CDU) lambasted the cultural centre on Monday, commenting that he was against “every form” and “every hidden form of antisemitism”.
Funding for Oyoun was set to run until 2025. Instead, the place will be evicted at the end of the year, after which the Senate intend to fund a new project in the space on Lucy-Lameck-Straße in Neukölln.