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Pro-Palestinian marches in Berlin, hundreds participated

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets in the German capital of Berlin on Saturday shouting anti-Israel slogans marking the International Quds Day.

The protesters waved banners and Palestine flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, including “Child murderer Israel” and “Zionism is racism”. Others in the same protest expressed support for Palestinians with signs reading “Free Gaza” and “Palestine will be reborn!” Other demonstrators sought to dismiss accusations they were anti-Jewish by shouting, “Anti-Semitism is a disgrace.”

Tom, an American Jew living in Berlin who preferred not to give his full name because his comments may anger some in his family, joined the protest holding a sign reading “Jews for free Palestine.”

He told DW News, “In Germany, people are not comfortable with expressions of criticism of Israel. I want to show that supporting Palestinian rights is not anti-Semitic,” he said, noting that he also might not agree with the positions of some others at the protest. “Israel is not representative of the Jewish community.”

Leila H., a headscarf-wearing woman who declined to give her last name, dismissed labels of anti-Semitism as propaganda.

“Anti-Semitism allegations are instrumentalized for political purposes against Palestinians to whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses,” she said.

The Quds Day (Jerusalem Day) was started in Iran in 1979 and traditionally takes place on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

On Friday, during the Quds Day rally in Tehran, protesters burned the Israeli flag and portraits of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express their discontent with Israel’s claim to Jerusalem.