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Germany, France, Italy condemn anti-Semitic rallies

Three foreign ministers pledge to fight ‘acts and statements that cross the line to anti-Semitism’

A pro-Gaza demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy Monday, July 21, 2014, Berlin, Germany. photo credit: (AP/dpa, Daniel Bockwoldt)
A pro-Gaza demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy Monday, July 21, 2014, Berlin, Germany. photo credit: (AP/dpa, Daniel Bockwoldt)

BERLIN — The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Italy on Tuesday condemned the rise in anti-Semitic protests and violence in their countries over the conflict in Gaza, saying they will do everything possible to combat it.

“Anti-Semitic rhetoric and hostility against Jews, attacks on people of Jewish belief and synagogues have no place in our societies,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, France’s Laurent Fabius and Italy’s Federica Mogherini said in a joint statement issued in Brussels.

The three said that while they respect demonstrators’ freedom of speech and right to assemble, they will also do everything possible to fight “acts and statements that cross the line to anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.”

Since the outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza, participants at anti-Israel demonstrations across Germany have frequently used anti-Semitic slogans and also called for Jews to be gassed.

In France, pro-Palestinian youths have clashed repeatedly with police, and on Sunday set fire to cars, pillaged stores and attacked two synagogues in the Paris suburbs.

Jewish groups have expressed shock and disgust about the growing anti-Semitism in Germany and other European countries with strong Muslim communities.

Berlin authorities this week banned pro-Gaza protesters from chanting an anti-Semitic slogan.

Police spokeswoman Cosima Pauluhn added Tuesday that police are investigating a sermon last week by a radical imam calling on worshippers at Berlin’s Al-Nur mosque to murder Jews.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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