Amidst global rallies against Israel, political leaders in Germany have vowed to crack down on demonstrators who have used antisemitic rhetoric and have attacked Jewish institutions under the garb of pro-Palestinian stances.
In an interview with a German tabloid, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in a statement, “Anyone who spreads antisemitic hatred will feel the full force of the law. We will not tolerate the burning of Israeli flags on German soil and attacks on Jewish facilities.” On the other hand, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble called for an increase in security for Jewish communities and institutions.
In the recent days, ever since the Israel-Palestine conflict commenced, numerous protests have taken place in Germany, out of which a few had been chaotic and violent. Some protesters were reportedly seen trying to burn Israeli flags and shouted anti-Jewish epithets while cheering the bombing of Tel Aviv. The Deutsche Welle news agency reported that 180 people marched from the train station in the western city of Gelsenkirchen to a synagogue chanting antisemitic slogans. Several individuals were arrested after rocks were thrown through the windows of multiple synagogues in different cities.
As it stands, in Germany, it is illegal to publicly destroy or damage the flag of a foreign state with which they have diplomatic relations. It is also illegal to incite hate or call for violence against a group or individuals in a manner that could disturb the peace; the law covers, for example, racism, antisemitism, and homophobia.