Amidst the renewed violent clashes between the Israeli security forces and Palestinians on Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the coinciding Ramadan and Passover holidays, the German capital once again became a scene of public calls for the extermination of the Jewish state. On April 8, approximately 500 pro-Palestinian protesters marched through the street of the Berlin districts of Neukölln and Kreuzberg, both with large Arab and Turkish populations, chanting antisemitic and anti-Israel slogans and calling for the destruction of Jews and Israel. Some of the chants heard were: "Death to the Jews! Death to Israel!", "I generate the bloody body!", as well as "Tel Aviv, the answer will come!" Protesters openly glorified terrorist violence and praised the military arm of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades that is responsible for numerous suicide attacks against civilians, rocket attacks, and hostage taking. The protest was organized by the German branch of the "Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network," a direct affiliate of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which simultaneously mobilized a protest gathering in Cologne.
On April 6, Samidoun posted on its Telegram channel an event flyer announcing the protest march held under the slogan of "Solidarity With the Steadfast Defenders of the Al-Aqsa Mosque." The protest started in the center of Neukölln district and ended at Kottbusser Tor station in the neighboring Kreuzberg district. An additional gathering was to take place in the center of Cologne at the Heumarkt square.
Although Samidoun is banned in Israel as a terrorist organization, given its extensive overlap with the PFLP and its involvement in planning and networking, the organization is still free to operate in Europe. Despite PFLP being listed as a terrorist organization in Israel, the U.S., the E.U., and elsewhere, Samidoun is not subjected to a ban in Germany where operates freely. Regardless of the evidently illegal slogans at the Samidoun-organized protest, the police forces present at the scene and provided with official Arabic interpreters, remained idle and refrained from intervening and dispersing the demonstration.
Images from the protest in Berlin and Cologne have circulated on various social media platforms including Telegram, Facebook, as well as TikTok, shared by individual attendees as well as by the Samidoun Network itself.
On its Telegram channel, the Samidoun Network posted on April 9 images and video footage of the protest.
A group of protesters can be seen hoisting Palestine and Samidoun flags. Two young men, one of whom wears a sweater with a collage of portraits of armed Palestinian terrorists, are attaching a poster featuring a picture of Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqah to a banner. Daqqah was convicted in 1986 of involvement in the 1984 kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam. The banner bears the text, in both Arabic and English, which reads: "Free The Retained Bodies In The Occupation's Fridges"
March participants posing for a photo; one of them in a sweatshirt with a collage depicting armed Palestinian terrorists.
A large crowd of protesters can be seen hoisting Palestinian, Lebanese, and Samidoun flags
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On TikTok, user "mhmddahr" posted on April 8 a video featuring a large crowd of protesters marching along the Karl-Marx Straße in Neukölln. A young man can be seen leading a chant: "Hussein habib Allah [likely reference to Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Mandatory Palestine and Nazi collaborator]. Viva, viva Palestine... Free Free Palestine... Free Free al-Aqsa!" Among the Palestinian flags visible in the background, national flags of Turkey and Lebanon can also be seen.
On April 8, on TikTok, the "Samidoun48" channel posted a video with the caption: "[...] in solidarity with the steadfast defenders of the al-Aqsa mosque and in support of the revolutionary fighters on the front lines." The video features visual material from the protest in Berlin.
On Twitter, the German NGO "democ. e.V.", which documents anti-democratic protests and movements, posted on April 9 a video featuring images from the protest in Berlin. The video features a large crowd of protesters chanting in Arabic such slogans as: "Death, death, death Israel!", "I generate the bloody body!", "Death to the Jews!", "With our soul and our blood, we liberate al-Aqsa!", "Oh, Qassam Brigade, vengeance, vengeance!", "Tel Aviv, the answer will come!", and "Oh, Qassam, day by day!" Moreover, the release of Khader Adnan (high ranking member of PIJ), Walid Daqqah (PFLP member who had kidnapped and killed an IDF soldier in 1985), and Ahmad Manasra (a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed two Israelis with a knife) was among the demands made by the protesters.
A screenshot from the video of the protest rally in Cologne
Another protest was held simultaneously in Cologne. On Instagram, the German Samidoun channel posted on April 10 a graphic featuring an image from the respective march at Heumarkt in Cologne. The accompanying caption states: "Wherever the Palestinian is present, there will be an echo of legitimate resistance. This resistance is the only guarantee for the refusal of concessions [...] The godfather of Zionist colonialism, which manages to silence the free, revolutionary Palestinian voice in support of its white fascist colony throughout Palestine, from the liberated and steadfast south of Lebanon to occupied Umm Rashrash. From our throats, we will shout again and again that the resistance fighters, the fedayeen, and those who relentlessly defend al-Aqsa Mosque are the beacon of our path, and that it is their resistance and sacrifice that give us a spirit of hope in the darkness of flight and exclusion."
The permission to hold the antisemitic protests calling for the extermination of Jews and Israel as well as the lack of response from the police forces at the demonstration site has once again stirred a public outcry by the mainstream media, members of Parliament, the Israeli ambassador to Germany Ron Prosor, the "Central Council of Jews in Germany" (ZdJ), the "German-Israeli Society" (DIG), among other entities. To withstand the pressure of the public, the state protection has initiated investigations on suspicion of incitement to hatred. On Monday, the police spokesperson has revealed that the police have received numerous criminal complaints and have taken first steps on suspicion of incitement of the people ("Volksverhetzung"). The president of DIG Volker Beck stated: "The demonstration in Berlin is once again a picture of shame." Simultaneously he demanded an explanation from Berlin's Interior Senator regarding the fact that the protest was permitted in the first place.
Despite banning last year of the annually held Al-Quds Day in Berlin, antisemitic and anti-Israel protests have since continued every time clashed break out between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. According to German law, a protest is subjected to a ban if it disturbs public peace by inciting hatred or inciting violence against a national, religious, or ethnic group. This is not solely applicable in the case of the Al Quds Day but applies to any march of this magnitude.
In light of the current developments, in the aftermath of the protest in Berlin, the organizer Samidoun released a statement on April 11 on its webpage titled "Samidoun statement on the smear campaign in Germany." In it, the group wrote that "[...] nearly 1,000 people marched through the streets of Berlin in solidarity with Palestine [...] an expression of outrage and internationalism against the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli occupation regime against the Palestinian people. While an inordinate number of police and Arabic translators were deployed by the police [...] no incidents were reported during the protest. Instead, pictures of the protest circulated around the world, a sign that Palestinians, Arabs, and internationalists in Germany have not forgotten the ongoing injustice in Palestine [...] every single Palestinian protest in Germany is routinely and falsely targeted and defamed as anti-Jewish when in fact it is anti-racist and advocating liberation [...] such statements [is] a tool in the hands of reactionary and repressive forces, including pro-apartheid organizations that seek to criminalize support for Palestine [...] Zionism and its constant effort to label this fascist ideology as 'Jewish' has long played a shameful role in misinterpreting Zionism, a racist political ideology, as Judaism. The same is true of Western powers that keep referring to the Israeli occupation as a 'Jewish state' and try to appropriate all Jews for Zionist crimes. It is the Palestinian liberation movement that rejects the equation of Jews with Zionists..."
Additionally, the statement argues that documented chants of incitement to hatred of Jews and the annihilation of Israel are allegedly a product of deliberate translation errors. At the same time, the statement claims that just "a single person shouted an antisemitic slogan during the protest who has apparently not been seen in the video footage yet has been in close proximity of the journalists who had captured it to use it to launch a full-scale smear campaign against the organization [of solidarity] for Palestine in Germany".
The statement concluded with the call to "not be silenced or oppressed [...] with our collective clarity and voice, we affirm once again: From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!" The final paragraph also includes a call to participate in a Berlin protest on April 16, the date that approximately coincides with this year's Al-Quds Day, though the protest itself is billed as "Free Palestinian Prisoners" event since the official Al-Quds Day is outlawed.