(photo credit: AJC)
BERLIN – Radical Islamists turned a bustling shopping district in Berlin on
Saturday into the center of a pro-Iranian- regime and Hezbollah demonstration
commemorating al-Quds Day.
Police officials told The Jerusalem Post that
roughly 900 Islamists marched along the Kurfürstendamm shopping strip, calling
for the abolition of the Jewish state.
Supporters of Hezbollah and Iran
blanketed the area with Hezbollah flags and chants declaring “Zionists are
The founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini, launched the al-Quds Day demonstration in 1979 as a protest
against Israel’s right to exist.
Berlin has been the stage for these
protests since 1996.
On Saturday, pro-Israel groups mounted a
counter-demonstration at Joachimstaler Square and Kurfürstendamm.
Feilcke, head of the Berlin and Potsdam German-Israel friendship society, told
the more than 100 attendees that “there should be no al-Quds demonstrations in
the future in Berlin” and that “Holocaust-deniers and enemies of Israel” should
be denied access to Berlin streets to protest.
The coalition of
pro-Israel groups protested under the umbrella name “No al-Quds Day – Against
anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and Homophobia – Solidarity with the democracy
movement in Iran.”
Feilcke complained that the police boxed Israel
supporters into a gated area and permitted Islamists to march freely.
consider it intolerable that the Israel supporters are locked in a cage,” he
Although there were no Bundestag deputies at the rally to support
Israel, a Social Democratic party city council representative was spotted in the
crowd. Klaus Lederer, chairman of the German Left party in Berlin, also rallied
in favor of Israel. A minority voice within the largely anti- Israel Left party,
Lederer has rejected hate directed at the Jewish state and defended its right to
Israel supporters at the rally told the Post it was
shocking that no members of the Bundestag attended the protest.
the EU’s decision in late July to outlaw Hezbollah’s military wing, yellow
Hezbollah flags featuring the AK-47 rifle were waved at the march.
young woman wore a small flag as an earring. Berlin authorities and government
officials took no action against the show of military propaganda, prompting
criticism from the American Jewish Committee.
Deidre Berger, head of the
AJC’s Berlin office, said on Saturday that “today’s Hezbollah demonstration is a
provocation and shows that the partial ban of Hezbollah is inadequate,” because
its members and supporters can display their military symbols without security
According to German intelligence reports from 2012,
there are 250 active Hezbollah members in Berlin and 950 across the Federal
The country is a major source of fund-raising for the
The group – the Hezbollah controlled Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon
e.V, meaning “Orphans Project Lebanon – sends money to the families of suicide
bombers. German authorities have refused to shut down Waisenkinderprojekt’s
A second pro-Israel demonstration organized by
young anti-fascist Germans ran parallel to the coalition of Jewish and
non-Jewish groups who turned out at Joachimstaler Square.
groups first protested at Adenauer Square to confront the start of the al-Quds
Invoking the slogan “Against anti-Semitism and Islamism: No
al-Quds Day,” the anti-fascists urged supporters to turn out. According to the
website of the anti-fascist groups, 250 activists appeared at Adenauer
Observers said at least 50 antifascists showed up at the rally of
the coalition groups.
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