Radicals attack ‘I Like Israel’ event in Germany

Radicals attack ‘I Like Israel’ event in Germany

05/14/2012 01:31

Head of pro-Israel group „neveragain” says he is „not surprised but nonetheless shocked.”

Neo-Nazi man giving Hitler salutePhoto: REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

BERLIN – Right-wing radicals attacked a booth distributing pro-Israel materials at the “I Like Israel” event in the west German city of Siegen on Saturday, resulting in physical injuries to two women and a man, according to the news outlet n-tv.

The veteran German journalist Ulrich Sahm reported on n-tv’s website that the public prosecutor investigating the assault said a 25-year-old right-wing extremist was arrested.

Roger Bückert, head of the pro-Israel group “neveragain” and an organizer of the booth, told n-tv that he was “not surprised but nonetheless shocked.”

The assault involved four to five masked anti- Israel radicals who are believed to be active in the neo-Nazi political scene. “I Like Israel” is a nationwide annual event that blankets 64 German cities and towns to promote solidarity with the Jewish state and celebrate its Independence Day – with the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Dr. Dieter Graumann, serving as a patron.

According to n-tv, there have been verbal tirades against Israel supporters at the I Like Israel event in the past, but not physical attacks.

The n-tv report noted that Paul Breuer, director of the police department in the Siegen- Wittgenstein region, condemned the act – calling it an act of “extreme right-wing physical and psychological violence against peaceful people.”

It is unclear if the poem and anti-Israel statements by the German Nobel laureate Günter Grass played a role in the hostile climate toward Israel in Siegen. Grass attacked Israel as the main threat to world peace in early April, and his anti-Israel poem unleashed a wave of hate in online news forums, according to polls.

Sacha Stawski –chairman of I Like Israel, head of the Frankfurt-based pro-Israel media watchdog organization Honestly Concerned, and one of Germany’s most prominent supporters of Israel – issued a statement on Saturday slamming the attack, as well as the police for failing to prevent it.

“The perpetrators were probably only warned and not penalized,” Stawski said.

Honestly Concerned has observed and monitored an alarming number of anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish incidents in the Federal Republic that have failed to result in legal consequences for the criminal offenders, he noted.