Demonstrators attend an 'al-Quds Day' protest rally in Berlin, Germany, July 11, 2015.
(photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center wants the mayor of Berlin to pull the plug on the Iranian regime-sponsored al-Quds rally slated for Saturday in Berlin that will call for the destruction of the Jewish state.
The center’s associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Berlin’s mayor, Michael Müller, “should come out and ban the al-Quds” demonstration and follow the lead of Germany’s commissioner for combating antisemitism.
Germany’s commissioner Felix Klein told the Berlin-based Tagesspiegel
paper on Wednesday that he would find a ban of the rally to be right. However, he added there are legal hurdles to overcome for a ban.
Cooper said that the Wiesenthal Center “applauds the German commissioner for calling for a ban and agrees with him.”
Cooper asked why Müller has not come out with a statement against al-Quds Day.
He added that “it is time to put a stop to it [al-Quds Day] because it was created by a theocratic government in Iran. Iran is a Holocaust-denying state.”
Iran’s regime stokes anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli hatred every day around the world, said Cooper.
According to Berlin’s domestic intelligence agency, 250 Hezbollah members operate in Berlin. The Tagesspiegel reported that 2,000 people registered to march in the al-Quds Day event in the heart of Berlin’s bustling shopping district.
The founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, inaugurated in 1979 the al-Quds Day as a worldwide demonstration to protest the existence of the Jewish state.
Members of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) are expected to march in Berlin this Saturday, as they have in previous years, in the al-Quds Day event. The EU, the US and Germany classify Hamas and the PFLP as terrorist organizations. The EU and Germany only outlawed Hezbollah’s so-called “military wing.”
The al-Quds Day event also attracts advocates of the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting the Jewish state. Neo-Nazis have also participated in prior al-Quds Day marches.
When asked about the Wiesenthal Center’s criticism, Claudia Sünder, a spokeswoman for the mayor, wrote to the Post by email that the mayor initiated an “intensive legal investigation, with the goal to ban antisemitic and anti-Israel demonstrations like the upcoming June 9 registered so-called al-Quds march.”
She said that the result of the investigation is not legally certain to overrule the right of assembly and demonstration of the al-Quds march. “According to the assessment of the Berlin senate and the mayor, it would be fatal if a such a ban were legally overruled, because that would merely play into the hands of the event organizers.”
Sünder said the mayor called on the federal government to investigate the right to assembly protections covering the activities of the al-Quds march, as well as criminal penalties, because the federal government would be more effective to take action against the “antisemitic activities” of the al-Quds march.
Last June, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid sent a hard-hitting letter to mayor Michael Müller for permitting Hezbollah to march in the German capital. “The leader of Hezbollah, whose image was held aloft in your streets, delivered his al-Quds Day speech in Lebanon this week while crowds chanted ‘Death to Israel.’ When people march in the streets of Berlin holding up photographs of the leader of Hezbollah, they celebrate the murder of our families and of our children, they celebrate the attempt to destroy the fragile coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel. They celebrate terror,” wrote Lapid.
Lapid, who serves on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, wrote: “Freedom of expression doesn’t extend to the glorification of murder. Freedom of expression doesn’t extend to incitement. Hezbollah is no different to ISIS or al-Qaeda in their attitude towards us.
“They hate Jews and they hate Christians, they hate women and they hate the LGBT community, they hate us and they hate you. Someone who is willing to carry the image of the leader of Hezbollah on the streets of Berlin is someone who is willing to murder on the streets of Berlin.
“The people who marched in your city on ‘al-Quds Day’ aren’t just our enemies, they are yours.”
Lapid told the mayor that “Your decision to remain silent in the face of this incitement and hatred is a grave mistake. Allowing the glorification of terrorism in your city won’t appease extremists, it will embolden them.”