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1 Jun, 2019 22:47

Pro-Palestinian or anti-Semitic? Rival rallies face off in Berlin on Quds Day (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Pro-Palestinian or anti-Semitic? Rival rallies face off in Berlin on Quds Day (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

The annual Quds Day march held in the German capital in support of Palestine has been slammed as anti-Semitic by officials and hundreds of counter-protesters who staged a pro-Israeli rally right across the street.

Usually held on the last day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the annual Quds Day (Arabic for ‘Jerusalem’) demonstration is a protest against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and the occupation of East Jerusalem. About a thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through the streets shouting slogans such as “Zionism is racism” and “Israel out!” They also carried banners and placards that read: “Stop Apartheid Israel.”

Just meters away, hundreds of people staged a counter-rally in support of Israel. It was attended by the US and Israeli ambassadors to Germany as well as by several German politicians, including Berlin’s top anti-Semitism chief, Felix Klein, who recently caused a stir in by advising German Jews against wearing kippahs.

We just want Palestine to be free

With significant police forces deployed to separate the rival events, no incidents were reported. The pro-Palestinian protesters insisted their aims have always been peaceful and aimed only at supporting Palestinians. “We do not want to fight; we want to be in peace,” a woman at the march told RT.

The counter-protesters were not convinced. “It is not about criticizing Israel, it is about delegitimizing Israel and about hating Jews,” one person said. Klein also expressed concern about the growing climate of anti-Semitism in Germany and called the march “unacceptable.”

It is unacceptable to make the Jews in Europe responsible for what the Israeli government is doing.

An MP from the Left Party, Petra Pau, denounced the Al Quds demonstrators as “misanthropists, who put the very existence of Israel into question,” and accused the government of not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitic sentiments in Germany.

Also on rt.com BDS = anti-Semitism? Germany passes motion against Palestinian protest movement

This issue has recently drawn the attention of the German government. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that every synagogue in Germany should have police protection. Anti-Semitic incidents indeed rose nearly 20 percent between 2017 and 2018, with the number of physical attacks recorded almost doubling, according to Interior Ministry figures.

Also on rt.com Is German anti-Semitism a problem of the past, or a consequence of mass immigration?

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