A boy attends a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Berlin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A pro-Palestinian conference slated to take place in Berlin on Saturday has come under attack because of its ties to Hamas and its erasure of Israel on a Middle East map.
“This is a direct pro-Hamas and anti-peace event, with the participation of hard-core Palestinian, British, and German supporters of rejectionism and incitement against Israel,” Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor watchdog organization, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“The sponsors are reportedly Hamas-front organizations, and the published list of participants include [British] MP Tessa Munt, a radical supporter of demonization and BDS,” said Steinberg.
“There is no justification for Germany giving legitimacy to any event in support of terrorists that are waging an immoral war against Israel, with thousands of rockets directed at civilians.”
It is expected that the 13th Palestinians in Europe Conference, which has been held twice in Germany, will attract some 3,000 attendees. The Palestinian Community of Germany (PGD) and the London-based Palestinian Return Center (PRC) are the organizers.
According to German media, the Berlin Senate interior agency classifies the PGD as an organization with Hamas supporters. Germany and the EU have designated Hamas as a terrorist entity. The interior agency noted that the annual Palestinian conference is “one of the most import activities” of Islamic supporters. The logo of the conference shows a map of the Middle East without the State of Israel.
A major aim of the conference is to demand the return of all Palestinians refugees to Israel. Critics say the “right of return” would dissolve the Jewish character of the state.
Asaf Romirowsky, the executive director of Scholars for Peace in Middle East, told the Post, “the full demand of a right of return represents a clear call for the destruction of the State of Israel. Thereby it is anti-Semitic and not in any kind of way furthering peace. The totality of the right of return gives the impression of a halo and legitimacy of conversation, but in reality demands the destruction of the State of Israel.”
Green Party MP Volker Beck,who is the chairman of the German-Israel parliamentary group, told the Post on Tuesday,“ This conference serves neither peace in Middle East nor the legitimate interests of the Palestinians and Israelis toward peace and security. Quite the contrary: Prejudices will be stoked [at the conference] and possibly,in the worst cases, terrorism and violence of Hamas will be legitimized or glorified.”
Jana Seifert ,a spokeswoman of Arena Berlins ,the meeting location for the conference, said that “no incitement to hate or calls to violence” will be allowed to take place. Asked about whether the logo of conference, which wiped Israel off the Middle East map, is anti-Semitic, Seifert declined to comment.
She said the authorities informed Arena that they are not aware that “Hamas is agitating under the disguise of the organization” at the conference.
Seifert defended the anti-Israeli event as falling under freedom of speech.