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BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT \
Low turnout at anti-Israel march in Germany
Global March to Jerusalem logo 370.
(photo credit:Courtesy Global March to Jerusalem website)
Berlin - Palestinian Germans staged a scarcely attended rally in the heart of the government district on Friday to call for the expulsion of Israel from its capital Jerusalem. A statement of support from a German Left Party deputy prompted sharp criticism from the deputy and foreign policy spokesman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party.In an interview with The Jerusalem Post at the event, the organizer of the Berlin “March to Jerusalem” protest, who identified himself as Lafi Khalil, said the attendees demonstrated against “the Judaization and expropriation of Jerusalem.” Khalil added that 50 people registered for the protest and it was mainly symbolic. Police officials told the Post that roughly 50 protesters appeared at the anti-Israel rally across from the chancellery, the seat of Merkel’s administration.Several pro-Israel activists appeared at the event, including one man who stood in front of the pro-Palestinian red banner with the words “Global March to Jerusalem 2012: Jerusalem for everybody!” The police intervened to separate the two pro-Israel supporters from the largely Palestinian group.In response to Left party deputy Annette Groth’s statement of support on the German language website of the “March to Jerusalem,” deputy Philipp Missfelder, who serves as the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party (CDU) in the Bundestag, wrote the Post by email that “the Global March is everything else but a peaceful protest, which the protest pretends to be.”He added that “radical groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, whose goal is the destruction of Israel, have called for participation in the action. The protest march is an instrument to stoke hate against Israel. That a deputy of the Left Party is participating in the Global March event in Germany is once again proof of this party’s hostility toward Israel."The Left Party deputy Groth along with two additional Left politicians was aboard the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara in 2010. The ship attempted to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of nine radical Islamists and severe injuries to Israeli naval commandos.Post emails to Left Party deputies Gregor Gysi and Petra Pau were not immediately returned. Pau and Gysi have attempted over the years to convince deputies and voters of the Left party to accept the right of the Jewish state to exist. The Left Party has been engulfed in a series of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic scandals over the last two years.The Simon Wiesenthal Center placed Hermann Dierkes, the Left Party city councilman in the west German city of Duisburg, on the center’s list of top ten global anti-Semites in 2011. Dierkes called for a boycott of Israel and deemed Israel’s existence a “petty” matter. The Left Party has refused to expel Dierkes from its ranks.The anti-Israel protesters waived eight large Palestinian flags at the “March to Jerusalem” event. Young children held a sign in Arabic stating “We will return” and “Freedom for Palestinian prisoners” in Israel. A number of young demonstrators sported “Boycott Israel” t-shirts.Dr. Elvira Grözinger, a member of WIZO and Scholars for Peace in the MiddleEast in Germany, told the Post "I consider Israel’s enemies’ planned 'March to Jerusalem' as a fatal continuation of the fascist and Nazi tradition of marches – Mussolini'’s March to Rome (1922) and Hitler’s march in Munich to the Feldherrnhalle(1923) as well as Neo-Nazi marches in the present days."She continued terming the German Lefitst political support for the March to Jerusalem to be " totally ignorant."
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