German Interior Minister Denounces ‘Antisemitic’ Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations in Berlin
Germany’s interior minister has sharply condemned two pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Berlin on Saturday where participants chanted slogans advocating violence against the State of Israel.
“We are resolutely opposed to any form of antisemitism and hatred of the state of Israel,” Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told the Bild newspaper on Sunday. “There is no place for this in society and no tolerance [for it] whatsoever.”
At the first demonstration in the Kreuzberg district of the German capital, protestors chanted “Yalla intifada, from Hanau to Gaza!” The reference to “Hanau” concerned the mass shooting by a neo-Nazi of nine people who spent the evening of Feb. 20, 2020 in “shisha” bars in the town of Hanau, near Frankfurt. All of those murdered in the shocking spree came from immigrant backgrounds.
Faeser expressed anger at the mention of the Hanau atrocity at a demonstration vilifying the Jewish state.
“No one can be permitted to instrumentalize or appropriate the terrible racist murders in Hanau,” she said. “The answer to Hanau can only be more humanity, more cohesion and more tolerance.”
At the second demonstration in the Wedding district, some participants waved the flags of Samidoun, a Palestinian prisoner solidarity organization with reported ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization. The subsequent rally heard speeches from supporters of the anti-Zionist “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) campaign. That campaign was deemed “antisemitic” in a May 2019 resolution of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, backed by parties from the left, center and right.
Separately, one parliamentarian expressed irritation that the Berlin Senate had failed to ban the demonstrations on Saturday.
“This isn’t the first time that antisemites have been able to agitate against the Jewish state on the streets of our capital,” Christoph Ploss of the conservative CDU party told Bild. “The Berlin Senate must therefore now investigate carefully why this event was not canceled when Jews were being hounded.”
For the last two years, however, Berlin has banned the annual “Quds Day” march — an Iranian regime-backed march and rally calling for the violent elimination of the State of Israel staged in several cities in Europe and North America.
That measure followed disturbing scenes at the march when it was last staged in Berlin in April 2019. More than 2,000 anti-Israel demonstrators gathered near the Brandenburg Gate, chanting antisemitic and anti-Zionist slogans and telling counter-demonstrators, “Hitler needs to come back and kill the rest of the Jews.”
Last Friday, statistics published by the federal interior ministry showed a 30 percent increase in attacks targeting Jews in 2021, with more than 3,000 antisemitic crimes reported. Nearly half of the incidents (1,306) occurred in the second quarter of last year, during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip that witnessed antisemitic violence accompanying “Free Palestine” demonstrations around the world.