Planned Palestinian Conference in Berlin Draws Jewish Protests

A coalition of Jewish and pro-Israel groups calling itself Berlin Against Hamas is planning to picket the 13th Conference of Palestinians in Europe.

AP

A coalition of Jewish and pro-Israel groups is planning to protest a pro-Palestinian conference in Berlin this weekend (April 25-26).

Named Berlin Against Hamas, the protest will be held on Saturday outside the Berlin Arena, where the 13th Conference of Palestinians in Europe is due to be held.

The conference, which is organized by the Palestinian Community of Germany and the British-based Palestinian Return Center, is expected to draw more than 3,000 participants.

Politicians from all the parties represented in the Berlin legislature have expressed support for the protest, the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee said in a statement.

“If political and legal means are not enough to stop this kind of event, then it’s time for the democratic civil society to show their true colors,” Deidre Berger, AJC’s director in Berlin, said in the statement accompanying the protest call.

Sebastian Mohr, spokesman for the Berlin Against Hamas initiative, applauded the readiness of politicians and NGOs to take a stand “against the hate of the terrorist Islamist group Hamas.”

The management of the exhibition center released a statement saying that it had no information about explicit connections between the organizers of the event and Hamas members.

“The organizers are contractually bound to make sure that the program of the conference doesn’t violate any laws and will not incite violence,” the management said. “The event won't take place if these conditions are violated, we will discontinue it.”

Volker Beck, a Green Party legislator and chair of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag, said in the joint statement that the conference “does not further either peace in the Mideast or the legitimate interests in peace and security for Palestinians or Israelis. Just the opposite: it’s a place where prejudices are stoked and, even worse, Hamas’ terror and violence is legitimized or even glorified.”