German officials urge curbs on anti-Semitic acts following protests

Germany Police
Germany Police

German officials have called for stricter curbs on anti-Semitic behaviour following recent protests against Israel linked to its standoff with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli protests and cases of vandalism have been reported from several German cities since Thursday, as deadly violence spirals between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

In several instances in Germany, Israeli flags were torched.

The government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, called for “sensitive and rapid consequences if someone engages in anti-Semitic activity.”

“The public prosecutor’s office and the police must be put in a position to recognize and punish anti-Semitism quickly and better,” Klein told the daily newspaper FAZ in comments published Monday.
He said a “European standard” for identifying and punishing anti-Semitism is needed.

Paul Ziemiak, Secretary General of Germany’s governing Christian Democrat party (CDU) emphasized that anti-Semitic hatred is not an opinion, but a criminal act.

“We are experiencing anti-Semitic marches and disgusting hatred of Jews these days, which makes it essential to take even more decisive action against anti-Semitism,” Ziemiak told the news portal ThePioneer. He also called for a ban on all Hamas symbols in Germany.

In an interview with the tabloid Bild, the state of Saxony-Anhalt’s CDU leader Sven Schulze proposed a summit of police, constitutional protection and immigration authorities as soon as possible.

Bundestag speaker Wolfgang Schaeuble noted that people may criticize Israeli policies and may protest against them. “But there is no justification for anti-Semitism, hatred and violence,” the CDU politician told Bild.

Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has strongly condemned anti-Israel protests and said that Germany will not tolerate the burning of Israeli flags or Jewish institutions being attacked on German soil.

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