Thursday, December 8th | 14 Kislev 5783

May 20, 2021 1:16 pm

‘Unspeakable, Hideous’: German Parliamentarians Call for Tougher Measures Against Antisemitic ‘Free Palestine’ Demonstrations

avatar by Ben Cohen

A pro-Palestinian demonstration in the German capital, Berlin. Photo: Reuters/imago images/Bernd Elmenthaler

Politicians of all stripes called for tougher measures against rising antisemitism during a Wednesday night debate in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament.

The packed chamber, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, also heard appeals to de-escalate the current round of fighting between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of the center-left SPD Party told the debate that Germany had to counter “antisemitic hate preachers, agitators, and violent criminals” with all the legal means at its disposal.

Muslim clerics promoting antisemitic hatred should be treated with equal severity “regardless of whether they have always lived here or have only come here in recent years,” Maas emphasized.

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“There shouldn’t be an inch of space on our streets for antisemitism,” he said.

Maas said that he condemned Hamas missile attacks against Israel in the “strongest possible terms,” adding that the Jewish state had both the right and the duty to protect its citizens.

Similar statements supporting Israel and condemning the antisemitism that has dominated pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Germany were heard from other politicians as the debate progressed. Johann Wadephul of the center-right CDU Party asserted that the defense of Israel was part of post-war Germany’s “raison d’etre,” while Omid Nouripour of the Green Party denounced the antisemitic demonstrations as “hideous.”

“Attacks on synagogues, the burning of Israeli flags, unspeakable insults against people of the Jewish faith at demonstrations, calls for the destruction of Israel: these events in our country over the last few days are horrific,” Nouripour stated.

Dozens of pro-Palestinian rallies and demonstrations have been held across Germany since the renewal of clashes between the IDF and Palestinian terror groups last week. Several were held on May 15 to mark “Nakba Day,” when Palestinians and their supporters protest the creation of Israel in 1948 as a “catastrophe.”

At one rally in the capital Berlin, around 300 Muslim protestors, including many children, participated in a demonstration festooned with Palestinian and Turkish flags. The crowd chanted slogans urging the bombing of Tel Aviv and the “liberation” of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan. The same demonstration quickly turned ugly, with more than 100 police officers injured by bottles, stones, and firecrackers thrown from the crowd.

Alarmed by the prevalence of Muslims at the violent demonstrations, several German Muslim leaders have spoken out forcefully against antisemitism in recent days.

“I completely condemn these disgusting scenes,” Aiman Mazyek — the head of the Central Committee of Muslims in Germany — wrote on Twitter. “Those who deplore racism but then spread antisemitic hatred themselves have forfeited everything.”

Bulent Ucar, a professor of Islamic theology at Osnabrück University, told the German broadcaster DW that there were “good arguments against Israel’s policy of occupation and dispossession, which is against international law,” but warned against “polarizing actors, who are loading this political dispute in the Middle East with antisemitism, and then trying to transfer it to Europe.”

“This is not at all acceptable. There is no justification for Jews in Germany to be threatened and harassed,” Ucar said.

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