Thousands rally in Frankfurt against anti-Semitism

Marcy Oster

(JTA) – Some 3,500 demonstrators rallied in Frankfurt to protest a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany.

Under the banner “Stand up! Never again anti-Semitism,” protesters outside City Hall on Sunday also expressed solidarity with religious minorities suffering persecution under the jihadist group ISIS.

Hundreds of members of the Kurdish-Israeli Friendship Association attended the rally, event organizer Sacha Stawski told JTA.

“To see them singing and dancing with Israeli flags in their hands was a really amazing sight,” he said.

Many Kurdish flags waved alongside Israeli ones, as well.

The demonstration is to be followed on Sept. 14 by a national rally in Berlin, coordinated by the Central Council of Jews in Germany. German Federal President Joachim Gauck is scheduled to speak.

In Frankfurt over the weekend, a broad coalition of political and Jewish religious leaders joined to decry a recent spate of verbal and physical attacks on Jews in German cities, some of which occurred during anti-Israel protests.

The main messages were that criticism of Israeli government policies or of any other country cannot be used as an excuse for anti-Semitic expressions, and that tolerance of anti-Semitism bodes ill for all minorities, not just Jews, said Stawski, founder of the pro-Israel Internet watchdog organization Honestly Concerned and president of the “ILI-I Like Israel” NGO.

Participants included Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, Central Council President Dieter Graumann, and Frankfurt Mayor Peter Feldmann. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her support for the event in a letter.

A spokeswoman for the Friendship Germany-Israel group, Natasha Langmann, called on participants to join “together with Kurds and Yazidis against Hamas and IS,” referring to the religious minority that is one of the groups under siege by the radical Islamist group in Iraq.