German Police Fine Jewish Activist For Staging Pro-Israel Counter-Demonstration at Palestinian Rally - Maccabee Task Force

A Jewish communal official in the German city of Hanover has accused the local authorities of “criminalizing” the fight against antisemitism after she was fined for organizing a counter-demonstration at a pro-Palestinian rally where her father-in-law was assaulted for carrying an Israeli flag.

“The fight against antisemitism is being criminalized,” Rebecca Seidler — the director of the Liberal Jewish Community in Hanover — told the Welt news outlet during an extensive interview this week. “We are being made into perpetrators.”

Seidler recalled that on Apr. 23, she and her father-in-law, Michael Höntsch, arrived at the pro-Palestinian rally in downtown Hanover to register their protest and observe the proceedings alongside six other colleagues. When the 67-year-old Höntsch — a former member of parliament in the state of Lower Saxony for the center-left SPD Party — silently waved an Israeli flag, he was violently pushed to the ground by a demonstrator. Police later arrested the 55-year-old assailant and have initiated a criminal prosecution.

Seidler said that after the attack on her father-in-law, who walks with the aid of a cane, she spoke with the local police commander, urging him to de-escalate the increasingly heated situation. Because the official claimed that Seidler had organized her counter-protest without giving advance notice, she “was then informed that there would be a lawsuit against me, which irritated me a lot,” she said.

“I would have liked the police to have protected my father-in-law from attack, instead of underestimating the situation,”  Seidler added. “And I wanted the pro-Palestinian rally to have been shut down after the attack.”

Seidler said she was examining whether to lodge an appeal against the fine of 128.50 Euros (about $125). She noted that despite a notice being read out at the commencement of the pro-Palestinian rally warning against antisemitic slogans, “none of that was complied with.”

A video of the rally showed several inflammatory slogans being chanted at the rally, among them “child murderer Israel” and “Zionism is racism.

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