A visitor passes by an advertising banner during the International Tourism Trade Fair (ITB, Internationale Tourismusboerse) in Berlin on March 8, 2018. The business platform for global touristic offers is running from March 7 to 11, 2018.
(photo credit: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP)
Security guards who were assigned to protect the world’s largest tourism trade fair in Berlin harassed an Israeli booth on Thursday, screaming pro-Palestinian slogans.
The three guards were of Arab origin, according to witness accounts reported in the daily Der Tagesspiegel. The men yelled “Free Palestine” and “Freedom for Palestine.”
Police intervened and the security guards were suspended. It is unclear, according to the Taggesspiegel
article, if the police are investigating the men for disturbing the peace.Der Tagesspiegel
wrote that Berlin officials have repeatedly drawn attention to the presence of young men who work for security companies who have contact with criminal gangs and radical mosques. The Israeli stand at the tourism fair sported the logo “Israel, the Land of Creation.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post
on Friday: “What happened to Germany’s commitment to ‘never again’ to antisemitism? This ugly incident at an international event in Berlin – by security guards no less – threatens to become in the new normal in Germany. Unless authorities actually crack down on virulent Jew-hatred, there could be, God forbid, further escalation of antisemitism in word and deed.”
The Berlin police union tweeted that it is “sad but true that colleagues had to rush to the Israel stand to help, [since] it was apparently stormed by politically agitated men.”
Volker Beck, a Green Party politician and human rights activist, tweeted: “What caused these German Arab men to lash out at the Israeli stand? As antisemites they cannot tolerate the existence of the Jewish and democratic state.
“Therefore they should be fired from the security company and barred in the future” from the company, he wrote.