Berlin court: German Peace Council is allowed to use Hamas symbols

But court refuses to allow them to call for murder of Israeli children.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT, BERLIN
January 18, 2009 00:43
2 minute read.
Berlin court: German Peace Council is allowed to use Hamas symbols

Pro-Palestinian anti-israe berlin 248 88. (photo credit: AP)

A court in the German capital struck down an administrative ban on Hamas flags, clothing and banners on Friday, but left in place the ban on invoking Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar's call to murder Israeli children worldwide. The decision paved the way for supporters of the Islamist movement to march in anti-Israeli rallies on Saturday with pro-Hamas paraphernalia. The German Peace Council and the Palestinian community in Berlin prevailed in their effort to revoke the administrative order issued by Ehrhart Körting, the Social Democratic Party commissioner for security in Berlin, that banned use of Hamas flags. However, the court prohibited calls to murder Israelis at the demonstrations. Körting told the Berlin Morgenpost daily "that because of their terrorist attacks, and especially their constant rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, Hamas has been on the European Union's list of terrorist organizations since September 2003. Support for Hamas in Germany through demonstrations justifies the rocket attacks on Israel and encourages Hamas to undertake further rocket attacks." Körting added that if a court permits support for "verifiably anti-constitutional and anti-Semitic organizations "due to freedom of speech protections, other ways must be found to restrict pro-Hamas activity. Anti-Israeli demonstrations across Germany have been marked by calls to "kill, kill Israelis" and "kill, kill Jews," as well as "Jews out" of Germany and Israel. A political commentator in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger wrote a column titled "About looking away and forgetting" that "blatant anti-Semitism is blossoming. Germany is currently experiencing perhaps the largest anti-Jewish manifestations since World War II. Jews are called child-murderers, and Israel is compared with the Third Reich." A handful of critics have bemoaned German political and societal indifference to the widespread loathing of the Jewish state at the mass demonstrations in German cities. In Kassel, in Hesse state, protesters were greeted by cheers as they attacked a solidarity stand for Israel and attempted to tear down Israeli flags and banners on Saturday. Police departments in Duisburg and Düsseldorf banned Israeli flags and pro-Israeli solidarity activity at rallies over the last two weeks. In Mainz, people waving Israeli flags at an angry pro-Palestinian demonstration over a week ago were forced to seek refuge in the Kaufhof department store. Aggressive protesters screamed "Jewish pigs" and motioned toward the Israel supporters who found shelter in Kaufhof. According to the pro-Israeli activists, consumers in Kaufhof said, "We do not need people like you here." Kai Süssenbach, a police spokesman in Mainz, told a local television station that "a group of people were provokingly waving Israeli flags." Süssenbach added that since the activists were not Israelis, it could be assumed they were provocateurs. The Kaufhof department store issued an order banning the pro-Israeli group from the store's premises. Ironically, the Nazis stripped the Jewish owner of Kaufhof, Leonhard Tietz, of his property in 1933 and "aryanized" the store.


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