BERLIN—A broad coalition of civil society groups protested Saturday against an anti-Semitic march in Berlin.
The so-called “al-Quds Day” (al-Quds = Arabic for Jerusalem) has been organized since 1979 by the Iranian regime as a political day of struggle for the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of Israel. It takes place annually at the end of Ramadan.
Among others, several Jewish organizations as well as the Kurdish community Germany, the Iranian opposition and the anti-fascist Berlin Alliance against the al-Quds Day had called for the counter-protests. They called for strong opposition to hatred of the Jews, solidarity with Israel and the democratic opposition in Iran, and a ban on Hezballah, the Iranian-backed terror group in Lebanon, as a whole.
Speakers included United States Ambassador Richard Grenell, Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel, and the German Government’s Commissioner for Combating Antisemitism. Felix Klein. About 1,300 people participated in the protests against the Al Quds march.
Richard Grenell, Ambassador of the United States in Berlin, declared: “The hateful anti-Semitic ideology of the Iranian regime must be widely condemned, even in Germany, where members of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah have marched openly over Berlin’s Ku’damm.”
In his speech, Felix Klein Klein said: “We oppose any form of anti-Semitism, whether it comes from the right or the left. Or if he has Islamist background. It will always meet our strong resistance.’’
Interior Senator Andreas Geisel called for a ban on the entire Hezbollah organization.
Of the 2,000 banner and flag-waving protesters in the al-Quds march some chanted “Child murderer Israel” and “Zionism is racism,” while others in the same protest expressed support for Palestinians with signs reading “Free Gaza” and “Palestine will be reborn!”
The annual al-Quds Day march came as German officials, from the president to the country’s anti-Semitism Commissioner, called on people to show solidarity with Israel and Jews at a time anti-Semitic crimes in Germany have increased. The Central Council of Jews in Germany called for the al-Quds march to be banned.
Felix Klein made headlines earlier in the week when he warned Jews against wearing the Jewish yarmulke in all public places.
“I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend that Jews wear the kippa everywhere in Germany,” he told the Funke media group, using another term for the skullcap. He later called on Germans to wear the yarmulke to show support for religious tolerance and freedom.
Crimes against Jews in Germany increased from 1,504 in 2017 to 1,646 in 2018 — a rise of 10%. The number of reported violent cases against Jews rose from 37 to 62 over the same period, according to figures from the Interior Ministry.