Demonstrators attend an 'al-Quds Day' protest rally in Berlin, Germany, July 11, 2015.
(photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration declined to stop the annual pro-Iranian regime al-Quds Day march in downtown Berlin on Saturday amid growing antisemitism in Germany.
Merkel’s inaction means that march went ahead, including with the participation of Hezbollah members. The march, attended by estimates ranging from several hundred to 1,000 protesters, called for Israel’s destruction.
Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, spoke at a demonstration on Saturday against the al-Quds march attended by some 400 people. He wrote on Twitter: “Speaking in Berlin against the Al Quds Day and its Iranian sponsors. This blatantly antisemitic and hateful event should be banned. Iran as the leading sponsor of terror, a serial abuser of human rights that seeks to undermine any chance for ME [Middle East] peace has no place in Berlin.”
Gitta Connemann, an MP of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday that all of Hezbollah should be banned in Germany because the entity is a “terrorist organization.”
She wrote on Twitter: “Tomorrow al-Quds March in Berlin: Islamists and left-wing radicals will march through Berlin unified in antisemitism, hate against Israel. A coalition of horror. And Berlin is watching. A shame. Berlin must act and prohibit the assembly.”
The Free Democratic Party MP Dr. Bijan Djir-Sarai spoke at a demonstration against the al-Quds march on Saturday.
The anti-fascist alliance group “No Quds Day” said on Saturday that neo-Nazi Uwe Meenen was present at the at the al-Quds Day rally. Meenen is a deputy representative of the neo-Nazi party, the National Democratic Party, in Berlin. The anti-fascist group termed the al-Quds march a collection of “Islamists and Nazis.”
The German watchdog organization that tracks antisemitism, RIAS Recherche-und Informationsstelle Antisemitismus, posted a picture on Twitter of a German Muslim woman wearing a head scarf and holding a sign: “Never Again Zionism.” RIAS termed the sign of turning victims of the Holocaust into the perpetrators of today; experts in contemporary antisemitism classify this as a form of modern expression of Jew-hatred.
The slogan “Never Again” arose after the Holocaust as a pressing moral appeal to prevent a future Shoah.
Al-Quds march protesters chanted, “Child murder Israel” and “Free free Palestine.”
A second watchdog organization, the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Antisemitism, reported that some 1,000 people participated in the al-Quds march against the Jewish state. German media said several hundred anti-Israel protesters marched.
Both estimates were less than then 2,000 people expected to take part in the event and the 1,600 people who participated last year. Jewish Forum posted on Twitter a picture of a protester holding a poster of Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ali Khamenei.
The counter-protest attracted 400 people.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Merkel to outlaw Hezbollah. Germany’s Jewish community made a dire appeal on Wednesday to Merkel to proscribe Hezbollah a terrorist organization in Germany.
According to German intelligence reports reviewed by the Post, there are 950 active Hezbollah members in Germany who spread antisemitism and jihadism, and recruit new members. The Hezbollah operatives also fund raise for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Berlin’s 2018 intelligence report said 250 Hezbollah members operate in the city-state of Berlin. The Berlin intelligence document noted that “Hezbollah supporters participate in the al-Quds Day march” in Berlin.
The US Embassy in Germany tweeted a comment from Ambassador Richard Grenell, who attended the counter-protest to the al-Quds March.
“Anti-Zionism denies the legitimacy of the State of Israel and the Jewish people... We are going to be unequivocal in calling it what it is,” he wrote. “Today we marched against al-Quds in Berlin - and my team asked me to wear a bullet proof vest because of their hate and support for terrorism. This group should be widely condemned.”
The US Embassy in Germany wrote on its Twitter feed on Monday: “Germany’s federal courts decided years ago that Hezbollah is a unified organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Symbols of Hezbollah are banned, why not the entire organization?”
Sources told the Post that Grenell raises a full ban of Hezbollah in every meeting with German officials.
The US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, the Netherlands and the Arab League designated Hezbollah’s entire organization a terrorist entity. Germany and the EU merely banned Hezbollah’s so-called military wing in 2013.
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