Berlin police remove sign protesting antisemitism at pro-Palestinian rally

"In the middle of Berlin, people gather to destroy the state of Israel. Antisemitism is once again openly flaunted. No trace of counter-protest. Only the weather protests. The people of Israel live."

By
September 26, 2019 01:55
3 minute read.
Demonstrators attend an 'al-Quds Day' protest rally in Berlin, Germany, July 11, 2015

Demonstrators attend an 'al-Quds Day' protest rally in Berlin, Germany, July 11, 2015. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)

Berlin authorities confiscated a sign on Wednesday protesting antisemitism at a pro-Palestinian rally from Ruben Gerczikow, vice president of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), because his message provokes the demonstrators at the event where two allegedly antisemitic Palestinian rappers were supposed to sing.

According to a tweet from the EUJS, "Two antisemitic rappers should perform today in Berlin at an anti-Israel rally. Just before the rally the gig was cancelled. The Police ordered our board member @RubenGerczi to walk away from the rally," because of a sign reading "No room for 'antisemitism."

 
Gerczikow tweeted that the daily paper Die Welt  "reports on the anti-Israel demo in front of the Brandenburg Gate. In it I ask the legitimate question: "Why is a sign against antisemitism assessed as a provocation, if the participants allegedly have nothing against Jews?"

Welt reporter Frederik Schindler, who was on the ground at the rally, reported that 500 demonstrators appeared, including many women who wore head scarves. Arabic was frequently spoken at the rally. Schindler reported that a group of pro-Israel demonstrators were removed for security reasons.

Gerczikow wrote in separate tweet: "In the middle of Berlin, people gather to destroy the state of Israel. Antisemitism is once again openly flaunted. No trace of counter-protest. Only the weather protests. The people of Israel live."

It rained during the rally that was supposed to host Palestinian rappers Shadi al-Bourini and Qassem al-Najjar, whose songs advocated for military strikes against Tel Aviv and urged the destruction of Israel.

However, Berlin's State Interior Minister Andreas Geisel banned their appearance shortly before they were scheduled to appear. He said on Wednesday that "The Brandenburg Gate is a sign of reconciliation, solidarity and peaceful coexistence. We do not allow hatred, violence and annihilation to be voiced here."

The pro-Palestinian rally took place near the Holocaust memorial.

The associate dean of the human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, told The Jerusalem Post prior to the cancellation: "The mayor of Berlin should have canceled this event. Any wonder Jews are violently attacked on the streets of Germany’s capital?"

On Tuesday, Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, along with his US counterpart, Richard Grenell, urged the Berlin authorities to pull the plug on the rappers; due to their stoking of violence against Israel and antisemitism.

Die Welt reported that the speaker system at the rally blared the message: "We give our souls and our blood for Palestine!" Other slogans heard included, "Let us fight, let us regain our rights. The revolution is taking place."

German authorities have frequently removed pro-Israel signs over the years in order to not provoke German Muslims and anti-Israel protestors, according to police.

In 2015, security forces on duty at a match between FC Ingolstadt and Union Berlin forcibly removed an Israeli flag that was brandished by a fan in the stands.

Almog Cohen, the Israeli national team player who is also a member of 2. Bundesliga side Ingolstadt, tweeted: “Today, an Israeli flag was removed during an away match against Union Berlin. This was a flag brought by German fans which was removed by local security guards. ‘No Jewish flags,’ they said. This is the only pitch in which this has happened.”

In 2009, Police in the City of Duisburg removed flags a student had hung in his apartment in support of the Jewish state during a pro-Palestinian march largely organized by German Turks.


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