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Society

Germany, France, Italy condemn anti-Semitism at demos

The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Italy have condemned anti-Semitism after several protests over Israel's Gaza offensive turned violent. They pledged to do everything in their power to combat the problem.

In a joint statement issued in Brussels on Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, and Federica Mogherini of Italy said that though citizens of their three countries had the right to freedom of speech, they would not anti-Semitism of any kind.

"Anti-Semitic incitement and hostility towards Jews, attacks on people of Jewish faith and synagogues have no place in our societies," the statement read.

Their statement follows a number of protests in recent days against Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip, some of which turned violent.

In France, pro-Palestinian youths defied a ban on protests against the Gaza offensive, clashing repeatedly with police. On Sunday some set fire to cars, and looted stores in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, which has a large Jewish population.

In Berlin, police said they had arrested 13 people after protesters clashed with officers at the end of a pro-Palestinian rally. Police also announced that they would take action against anyone uttering a particular anti-Semitic slogan, which has been used by some of the protesters.

"Anti-Semitism must never be allowed to find a stage in Germany again," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday. "We cannot accept an anti-Semitic tone to emerge at demonstrations in Germany."

The Central Council of Jews in Germany, meanwhile, announced that it had filed a complaint with police about an imam who, in a Berlin mosque last week, allegedly called for the murder of Jews. There was no immediate comment from officials at the mosque in question.

On Tuesday, the council's president, Dieter Graumann, condemned the protests against Israel's offensive, which have also taken place in a number of other countries, including Denmark and Australia.

"Often enough this is not based on concrete criticism of the Israeli government but what rules here is a blatant hatred for Jews - pure and simple," Graumann said.

pfd/mkg (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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