Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday warned of racist or anti-Semitic outbursts during protests in favor of the Palestinian cause in Germany, where new rallies are scheduled for this weekend. “Those who carry hatred against Jews in the streets, those who incite racial hatred, are outside our Basic Law”, warned Merkel in her weekly podcast. “Such acts must be punished consistently”, she insisted.
Germany has seen several protests on its soil, following the escalation of violence in the past two weeks between Israel and Palestinian Hamas. A fragile truce between the two parties has entered into force. A week ago, around 60 people were arrested and around 100 police officers injured in violent clashes during a demonstration for the Palestinian cause in Berlin.
Previously, demonstrators chanted anti-Semitic slogans, burned Israeli flags and damaged the entrance to a synagogue with stone throwing at various rallies in Germany, acts already strongly condemned by the government. The Chancellor spoke on Saturday of “unbearable anti-Semitic remarks”. During the Pentecost long weekend, several events are again scheduled in the capital and other cities.
Resurgence of anti-Semitism
In this tense context, a Berliner of Jewish faith said he was assaulted on Saturday in Berlin by three men whose identity remains unknown, police said. The alleged facts took place overnight from Friday to Saturday. The 41-year-old man, who was wearing a kippah, said he was insulted and then punched in the face, after which his attackers fled.
He complained to the nearest police station. He was then taken to hospital, which he was able to leave after receiving treatment, police said.
Germany is concerned about a resurgence of anti-Semitism in particular caused by the far right, especially since a failed attack in October 2019 against a synagogue in Halle perpetrated by an extremist follower of revisionist theses. The Jewish community, undergoing a renaissance since German reunification and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Jews from the former Soviet Union, has further pointed out the anti-Semitism prevalent in some Muslim circles, especially after the arrival refugees in 2015 and 2016 from Arab countries hostile to Israel.