Berlin Visit by Israeli President Sparks Plans for Neo-nazi Protest

Pro-Israel groups are gearing up to counter a neo-Nazi protest planned when Israel’s president visits Berlin next week.

Moshe Katsav is slated to arrive Sunday for a two-day visit at the invitation of German President Johannes Rau.

Along with meetings with German officials, Katsav is scheduled to visit the Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial.

Some 200 neo-Nazis have applied for permission to protest Monday.

Jewish students and other pro-Israel groups have issued an emergency call for a counter-demonstration.

“We want to stop the neo-Nazis from expressing their anti-Semitism on the street,” said Christian Jellinek of Talking Tachlis, a group that is organizing the counter-demonstration with the Federal Union of Jewish Students in Germany and the Association Against Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism.

“Two hundred neo-Nazis is 400 too many,” said Jellinek, adding that extreme left-wing and pro-Palestinian groups also plan to demonstrate against Katsav.

In April, about 4,000 people took part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Berlin, some of them wearing the Hamas insignia.

Referring to this demonstration, when “the extreme left and right walked together through the city,” Jellinek said “the police asked the pro-Israeli counter-demonstration to leave because they were not sure if they could protect them.”

Jellinek noted that the apparent solidarity of the extreme right with the Palestinians “is a lie, because Palestinians in Germany are also subject to xenophobic attacks by these same people.”

Berlin politicians have said they are considering the applications for the anti-Israel demonstrations, but haven’t announced whether permission will be granted.

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