Germany cannot simply ban the sale of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in Berlin on Monday during joint statements with his Israeli counterpart.
He was speaking as some 15 demonstrators chanted anti-Israeli slogans outside the justice ministry where Maas and Ayelet Shaked attended a German-Israeli justice conference as part of the celebrations to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Asked to comment on the protest, Shaked told reporters through a translator "we know there is a demo outside and we are in Europe here."
"There are forces in Europe too of course which aim to (protest against) Israel. They are doing this all the time and so it came as no big surprise to me," she said.
"We also discussed topics which are related to this, such as the labeling of products from Israel," Shaked said, adding "we know how dangerous this is because alleged labeling should, in the eyes of some extremist forces, lead to some type of boycott against the state of Israel."
Last week, a senior Israeli official called on Germany to urge other European countries to oppose EU plans to require products from Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories to be so labelled.
Maas reminded reporters that "the friendship with the state of Israel is part of Germany's reason of state," telling Shaked she was "most welcome here."
Asked whether he favoured a ban of Hitler's "Mein Kampf," Maas said: "in the past, we repeatedly discussed this. It's not that easy to ban this for copyright reasons."
"However, we agree that everything that must be seen as hate crime in this context, also by Germany's justice authorities, will be pursued in the future."
Munich's "Institute for Contemporary History" said it planned to sell the Nazi dictator's propaganda piece from the beginning of 2016 together with critical commentary when a 70-year-old ban to print the book expires.
Relations with Israel are highly sensitive in Germany in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust, in which more than six million Jews were killed.