Pro-Israel demonstrators counter Islamist march in Berlin

BERLIN (JTA) — Berlin’s annual anti-Israel Islamist march, the Al Quds Day demonstration, drew pro-Israel counter-protesters to the streets of former West Berlin.

The approximately 600 Islamist demonstrators during Saturday’s march chanted slogans calling Israel a terrorist state and calling for its dissolution. They and the some 300 pro-Israel protesters were kept well apart from each other, police spokesman Michael Gassen told JTA. There were no arrests.

Levi Salomon, the Berlin Jewish Community’s representative in charge of fighting anti-Semitism, told JTA that he was saddened by the many children among the anti-Israel marchers.

"The indoctrination of the children is a central problem," he said.

Pro-Israel demonstrators came from across the mainstream political spectrum and included local Iranian pro-democracy activists, Salomon added.

Al Quds Day, a protest against Israel’s existence, was established in 1979 by Iran’s Islamic revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini. His followers have marked the day in cities around the world with large Muslim populations on the first Saturday after Ramadan. Berlin’s annual demonstration has attracted 300 to 1,000 Islamists. Men and women march separately.

 

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