Pro-Israel groups protest Berlin al-Quds Day march
Head of German-Israeli Friendship Society: "Neo-Nazis use solidarity with the Palestinians as agitation against Israel, the only free democracy in the Middle East.”
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
BERLIN - Pro-Israeli organizations, Jewish community leaders and a representative of the Iranian opposition in Germany assembled in the heart of downtown Berlin’s bustling shopping district on Saturday to protest against an Iranian backed al-Quds Day march.Jochen Feilcke, the head of German-Israeli Friendship Society in Berlin and Potsdam, criticized the “glorification of the Islamic Republic of Iran” by the al-Quds participants.“Once again, the participation of neo-Nazis and other sympathizers of the mullah regime is expected and their goal is clear: Expressions of solidarity with the Palestinians will be used as agitation against Israel, the only free democracy in the Middle East,” Feilcke said.The al-Quds demonstration has been an annual event in Berlin since 1996 and advocates the destruction of the Jewish state. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established al- Quds Day in 1979 and it is now marked in the Islamic Republic and throughout the Arab world by calling for the abolition of Israel.“These are people who only accept veiled woman, punish homosexuals, persecute political opponents and want to live according to Shari’a,” Maya Zehden, a spokeswoman for the Berlin Jewish community, said of the al-Quds Day protesters.The “forces hostile to democracy, like radical leftists and rightist as well as religious fundamentalists, are marching with one goal: The destruction of Israel,” Zehden said.“The people who call themselves peace activists” have aligned themselves with the anti-Israeli extremists, she said.Advertisement“Jewish institutions are receiving more threats in the meantime from... people from the Middle East [German Muslims] than from right-wing extremists,” Zehden said, addressing rising Islamic anti- Semitism in Germany.“We expect our politicians to not allow themselves to agitate against Israel,” she said, in a reference to the Bundestag’s resolution slamming Israel for seizing May’s Gaza flotilla.Zehden called on the German government to to clarify its foreign policy and engage in a debate about integration.Dr. Kazem Moussavi, an Iranian living in exile in Germany, spokesman for the German chapter of the Iranian Green Party and a member of the Stop the Bomb coalition, called for the German government to “ban the anti-Semitic al-Quds march of the Holocaust-denying regime and the activities of its terror proxy organizations, Hamas and Hizbullah” in the Federal Republic.Moussavi criticized German firms for supplying Iran with technology for nuclear weaponry and drone fighter planes.He cited a September report in DerWesten, a newspaper in North Rhine-Westphalia state, on companies in the state propping up Iran’s military with made-in-Germany merchandise.He blasted the 14 percent increase in German exports to Iran during the first half of 2010 over the same period in 2009.Israeli, American, French, and British diplomats have complained about the Merkel administration’s failure to crack down on the trade relationship with Teheran. Critics at the pro-Israel rally said that despite UN, EU and US sanctions against Iran, German firms continue to defy sanctions seeking to force Iran to end its nuclear program.A Berlin police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post that around 500 people appeared at the al-Quds Day. A police official at the anti-al-Quds protest told the Post that 150 people protested against the radical Islamists.Jörg Fischer-Aharon, an organizer of the protest against al-Quds Day, said that 400 people attended the event.As the pro-Islamic Republic march intersected with the Israel rally, a number of Islamists lunged at a demonstrator waving an American flag. Police pushed back the Iran-supporters.
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