German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday there was no place for anti-Semitism in Germany, after demonstrators angered by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel burned Israeli flags in Berlin, Reuters reported.
About 2,500 people demonstrated in Berlin against Trump’s decision on Sunday and one Israeli flag was burned, police said, adding that investigations into 11 people had been launched, with one of those related to the flag burning.
On Friday, hundreds of people gathered outside the U.S. embassy in the German capital for “Day of Rage” protests. Police said later on Twitter that they had detained 10 people during the protest and that 12 criminal charges had been brought - including for burning Israeli flags.
Maas told the local Bild newspaper following the riots, “Any kind of anti-Semitism is an attack on everyone. Anti-Semitism must never be allowed to have a place (in society) again.”
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also reacted to the Israeli flag burning and told Bild that while criticism of Trump’s decision was understandable, people had no right or reason to burn the Israeli flag, stir up hatred against Jews or question Israel’s right to exist.
He said whoever did that was “taking a stand not only against Israel but also against the German constitution” and Germany would not tolerate that.
Ahead of Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, Gabriel had warned against it, saying, "Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not calm the conflict, but rather exacerbates it even further. It's in everyone's interest that such a move does not happen.”
He added that "the solution to the status of Jerusalem can only be determined by direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That is why we reject any step that could lead to an escalation between the two sides. Germany remains committed to the two-state solution in the Middle East."
Following the declaration, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was one of several European leaders to express her opposition to the move.
Merkel said through her spokesman that she "does not support" Trump's reversal of decades of U.S. policy.
"The status of Jerusalem can only be negotiated within the framework of a two-state solution," her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, wrote on Twitter.