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Germany’s Merkel warns against antisemitism ahead of rallies on Gaza

German chancellor calls to punish those ‘those who bear hatred towards Jews in the street,’ following numerous antisemitic acts by pro-Palestinian protesters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference in the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on May 21, 2021. (Michael Sohn/Pool/AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference in the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on May 21, 2021. (Michael Sohn/Pool/AFP)

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday warned against any show of antisemitic or racist behavior ahead of expected weekend pro-Palestinian rallies in the wake of days of fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Several German cities saw pro-Palestinian demonstrations during the deadly 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist terror group which controls Gaza, prompting Merkel to issue a call for calm.

“Those who bear hatred towards Jews in the street, those who incite racial hatred put themselves outside our Basic Law,” Merkel declared in her weekly podcast.

“Such acts must be punished severely,” she insisted.

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Berlin take part in a demonstration against Israel amid the fighting in Gaza between the Israeli military and Hamas terror group, May 15, 2021. (Stefanie Loos/AFP)

German police made some 60 arrests last Saturday while some 100 officers were hurt as a pro-Palestinian rally in Berlin that turned violent.

Some participants at marches in towns across Germany shouted antisemitic slogans, which Merkel blasted as “unacceptable.” Others burned Israeli flags and in one case stoned the entrance to a synagogue.

Merkel noted that Germany’s constitution “guarantees the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. But it offers no place for attacks on people of a different confession, no place for violence, racism or denigration” of others and their beliefs.

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