Sunday, June 25, 2017

Israeli party chair slams Berlin mayor for allowing Hezbollah rally

Yair Lapid, the chairman of Yesh Atid, sent a hard-hitting letter on Saturday to Berlin's mayor Michael Müller for permitting Hezbollah -- an organization proscribed as a terrorist entity by many countries -- to march in Berlin on Friday. The Jerusalem Post obtained a copy of the letter. Lapid wrote: "This past week a lecture by a Knesset Member from Yesh Atid [Aliza Lavie] was violently disrupted by radical anti-Israel activists at a university in Berlin. A few days later demonstrators marched through your city proudly displaying photographs of the leader of an anti-Semitic terrorist organization." "As the son of a Holocaust survivor I was deeply disturbed that in the same week that a group of Jews are targeted, antisemites are given the freedom of the city. We have stood in solidarity with Germany when you were hit by brutal terror attacks. We did that because we identified deeply with the pain caused by terrorism and we wanted to express our support for the people of you city." Lapid's father, Yosef “Tommy", survived the Hitler movement in Hungary. On Tuesday, activists from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign verbally attacked MK Aliza Lavie and the 82-year-old Holocaust survivor Deborah Weinstein at the Humboldt University in Berlin. A spokesman did not immediately respond to a Post query if the activists, who have since been identified, have been banned from the university. Lapid took aim at the mayor's apparent reluctance to crackdown on Islamic terrorism in the capital. "We cannot fight terrorism alone. Terrorism is global and so is the fight against it. We must share intelligence, share experience and develop the methods which work. Before all else, we must fight back against the attempt by terrorists to take advantage of democracy and freedom of speech to advance their criminal agenda." "The leader of Hezbollah, whose image was held aloft in your streets, delivered his Al-Quds day speech in Lebanon this week while crowds chanted 'Death to Israel.'" "When people march in the streets of Berlin holding up photographs of the leader of Hezbollah, they celebrate the murder of our families and of our children, they celebrate the attempt to destroy the fragile coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel. They celebrate terror. " Lapid, who serves on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, added, "Freedom of expression doesn’t extend to the glorification of murder. Freedom of expression doesn’t extend to incitement. Hezbollah is no different to ISIS or Al Qaeda in their attitude towards us. They hate Jews and they hate Christians, they hate women and they hate the LGBT community, they hate us and they hate you." "Someone who is willing to carry the image of the leader of Hezbollah on the streets of Berlin is someone who is willing to murder on the streets of Berlin. The people who marched in your city on ‘Al-Quds Day' aren’t just our enemies, they are yours. Mr. Mayor, your decision to remain silent in the face of this incitement and hatred is a grave mistake. Allowing the glorification of terrorism in your city won’t appease extremists, it will embolden them." He ended his letter, asking Müller, "We would never allow a parade celebrating the murder of your citizens, why do you allow a parade celebrating the murder of ours?" According to Berlin's intelligence agency -- comparable to Israel's Shin Bet -- there are 250 active Hezbollah members and supporters in Berlin. A total of 950 Hezbollah operatives are in Germany. The Merkel administration agreed to outlaw Hezbollah's military wing in 2013 but declined to outlaw all of Hezbollah in the Federal Republic. When asked about the Hezbollah march, a spokesman for Müller told the Post on Friday that the mayor does not comment on foreign organizations. The mayor spokeswoman Claudia Sünder wrote the Post by email on Sunday, saying "a ban of the demonstration is a matter for the Senate administration of the interior" and does not fall into the mayor's purview.

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