BERLIN – Radical Islamists turned a bustling shopping district in Berlin on Saturday into the center of a pro-Iranian- regime and Hezbollah demonstration commemorating al-Quds Day.

Police officials told The Jerusalem Post that roughly 900 Islamists marched along the Kurfürstendamm shopping strip, calling for the abolition of the Jewish state.

Supporters of Hezbollah and Iran blanketed the area with Hezbollah flags and chants declaring “Zionists are fascists.”

The founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, launched the al-Quds Day demonstration in 1979 as a protest against Israel’s right to exist.

Berlin has been the stage for these protests since 1996.

On Saturday, pro-Israel groups mounted a counter-demonstration at Joachimstaler Square and Kurfürstendamm.

Jochen Feilcke, head of the Berlin and Potsdam German-Israel friendship society, told the more than 100 attendees that “there should be no al-Quds demonstrations in the future in Berlin” and that “Holocaust-deniers and enemies of Israel” should be denied access to Berlin streets to protest.

The coalition of pro-Israel groups protested under the umbrella name “No al-Quds Day – Against anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and Homophobia – Solidarity with the democracy movement in Iran.”

Feilcke complained that the police boxed Israel supporters into a gated area and permitted Islamists to march freely.

“I consider it intolerable that the Israel supporters are locked in a cage,” he said.

Although there were no Bundestag deputies at the rally to support Israel, a Social Democratic party city council representative was spotted in the crowd. Klaus Lederer, chairman of the German Left party in Berlin, also rallied in favor of Israel. A minority voice within the largely anti- Israel Left party, Lederer has rejected hate directed at the Jewish state and defended its right to self-defense.

Israel supporters at the rally told the Post it was shocking that no members of the Bundestag attended the protest.

Despite the EU’s decision in late July to outlaw Hezbollah’s military wing, yellow Hezbollah flags featuring the AK-47 rifle were waved at the march.

One young woman wore a small flag as an earring. Berlin authorities and government officials took no action against the show of military propaganda, prompting criticism from the American Jewish Committee.

Deidre Berger, head of the AJC’s Berlin office, said on Saturday that “today’s Hezbollah demonstration is a provocation and shows that the partial ban of Hezbollah is inadequate,” because its members and supporters can display their military symbols without security officers intervening.

According to German intelligence reports from 2012, there are 250 active Hezbollah members in Berlin and 950 across the Federal Republic.

The country is a major source of fund-raising for the group.

The group – the Hezbollah controlled Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon e.V, meaning “Orphans Project Lebanon – sends money to the families of suicide bombers. German authorities have refused to shut down Waisenkinderprojekt’s fund-raising operations.

A second pro-Israel demonstration organized by young anti-fascist Germans ran parallel to the coalition of Jewish and non-Jewish groups who turned out at Joachimstaler Square.

The anti-fascist groups first protested at Adenauer Square to confront the start of the al-Quds marchers.

Invoking the slogan “Against anti-Semitism and Islamism: No al-Quds Day,” the anti-fascists urged supporters to turn out. According to the website of the anti-fascist groups, 250 activists appeared at Adenauer Square.

Observers said at least 50 antifascists showed up at the rally of the coalition groups.

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