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German Jews condemn 'explosion of hate'

AFP/The Local · 21 Jul 2014, 16:50

Published: 21 Jul 2014 16:50 GMT+02:00

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In a pro-Palestine rally that took place last Thursday in Berlin's Kurfürstendamm anti-Jewish slogans were reportedly chanted by a crowd of primarily young protesters.

Another demonstration on Saturday in Berlin's busy thoroughfare Unter den Linden nearly resulted in violence as a group of protesters ran towards an Israeli man wearing a Kippah, according to the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

"They were shouting at him and yelling 'you Jew, we will get you!" Fabian Weißbarth from the AJC told The Local.

Such anti-Semitic slogans are becoming increasingly present as demonstrations against violence on the Gaza strip take place in Germany and throughout Europe.

On Monday the AJC published open letters to the German Bundestag and Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière, asking for recognition and action against hate speech.

"From day to day, the demonstrations get more aggressive and more openly anti-Semitic and violent" said Weißbarth.

The letter to the Bundestag called for greater awareness of hate speech taking place. “We wanted to create awareness and let them know of these things that are going on right now," Weißbarth added.

And a Danish imam in Berlin has openly prayed for the annihilation of Zionist Jews, asking Allah to "kill them to the very last one", according to a video published online.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, said: "We are currently experiencing in this country an explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews, which shocks and dismays all of us.

"We would never in our lives have thought it possible anymore that anti-Semitic views of the nastiest and most primitive kind can be chanted on German streets," he said in a statement.

He demanded "clear and loud condemnations from politicians, the media and civil society" against the hatred in the country that perpetrated the Holocaust.

"Jews are once again openly threatened in Germany and sometimes attacked, synagogues are being defaced and declared as targets," he said.

On Monday afternoon in Berlin, SPD deputy chairman Ralf Stegner spoke out against anti-Semitic speech, saying: "Anti-Semitism in any form is in no way acceptable. Whoever supports this is no longer in their right mind."

Pro-Palestine demonstrations have been taken place throughout Germany as the death toll in Gaza continues to rise in the face of an Israeli onslaught, but some have turned violent.

A meeting of around 1,000 pro-Palestine demonstrators and 100 Israeli supporters in Essen on Friday ended in the arrest of eight people, Essen police reported.

But in Frankfurt on Sunday around 250 Palestine sympathizers gathered without trouble. "It was completely peaceful and nothing suspicious was noticed,” Frankfurt police said.

A bystander told The Local: "All in all it was a peaceful but when the protest was on the move to the opera house. The crowd was shouting about "500 Palestine dead''. One of the speakers was saying to the crowd in bad English: We are here to say that the UK and US are doing nothing and just keeping silence."

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AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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