Leader of Jews in Germany calls for stronger laws against anti-Semitic protests

Edited by walterp on . Posted in Main

The demand follows incidents of demonstrators burning Israeli flags in response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel over the weekend.

“Those who burn Israeli flags question Israel’s right to exist or deny it,” Josef Schuster said on Tuesday in an interview with Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung daily.

“These types of actions with a clearly anti-Semitic tone should not be approved … They cross the boundary of what is permitted by the right of assembly,” Schuster added.

Schuster said police should be able to intervene during these demonstrations. If existing laws do not allow them to do this, the government should “urgently examine possible changes to the law,” he told the newspaper.

Over the weekend, thousands of demonstrators gathered in Berlin’s Neuköln district and in front of the Brandenburg Gate near the US Embassy to protest US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision.

Multiple images emerged on Sunday showing some protesters burning a flag with the Star of David, a symbol of Judaism and the state of Israel.

Police detained at least twenty people for offenses, including disturbing the peace. But Berlin police told DW that they could not prosecute those who had burned flags.

“Burning a flag is not a crime, whether it be Israeli or American or from any other nation” Berlin police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said. “The only exception is, for instance, when a flag is taken from an official building like an embassy and burned.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the act on Monday, saying: “We oppose all forms of anti-Semitism and xenophobia.” But she stopped short of calling for changes to the law, adding, “the state has to use all available legal measures” to combat similar incidents in the future.

 

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