Everytime a single spark is lit in the Middle East you can be sure that people all around the globe line up to protest. The current Israeli campaign to finally strike down Hamas has not been excepted from this rule. Last week for instance, as I was out to get some coffe on Ku’Damm, my bus was redirected around a throb of Palestinian protesters who gathered on Adenauer Platz to get their demonstration started.
My intended “get-in-get-coffe-get-out-drink-coffee” in less than 30 minutes operation turned out to last about 3 hours, which irked me just a little bit, but I had the chance to witness the protest march of Palestinians, Arabs and some Germans too. While most of the protesters followed the trail peacefully there clearly was a palpable aggressiveness in the air. As Anti-Israel chants got louder a group of young Arabs created a small turmoil around
U-Bhf. Uhlandstraße, when they verbally abused and threw fire crackers at police officers and called for the boycott of Israel. Although it might sound strange, but that didn’t really cause me any dismay: The whole Israel-Palestine conflict is, regardless of your personal take, a very delicate subject and Protest marches are generally not the right places to thoroughly discuss a subject of this depth and severity. Emotions do run high especially when a group of frustrated people get together and let their anger and frustration out. However there were other things I witnessed that appalled and horrified me during this protest, like the careless use of political signs by protesters.
What I saw was at least one flag of the Hamas being carried around. Big deal? Very big for two reasons:
– Firstly, a self proclaimed peace demonstration that backs a terrorist organization like Hamas (and to me, the presence of Hamas insignia indicates backing) loses all of its credibility. Why? Have a look at this:
Article 7 of the Hamas Charter:
The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”
Article 13 of the Hamas Charter:
“Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. […]”
“[…] There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad […]”
– Secondly, which is a consequence of point 1, the mere thought that shortly after the 70 year anniversary of the pogroms of Reichskristallnacht a group of people bearing the sign of an extremist organization that calls for the extermination of Jews, walks on these very same streets that have already seen antisemitic rallies and agitation, to me is so horrifying, appalling and disgusting that I do have serious problems putting it into words!
Now the difference between this and the chants of a group of youths is that the latter was an incident, the former was part of an organized demonstration. I saw the flag for the first time from the bus, then I saw it while I was standing in front of the coffee shop at Uhlandstraße, the last time I spotted it was around Gedächtniskirche/ Europacenter. During the whole protest march nobody seemed to be bothered by that flag! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that every single one present at the demonstration was for the murder of Jews, I am sure that many of the people only had “good intentions” like bringing peace to the world but that clearly includes standing up against hate groups!
How does that old saying go again? “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”
Update: The police has started an investigation due to use of anti-constitutional signs (among other offenses) during other anti-Israeli demonstrations in Berlin. Apparently there were a few good men who didn’t look away!
Pro Israeli Demonstrations Around the world and the blogosphere!