Berlin demanded tougher laws on flag-burning as anti-Semitic violence spirals out of control in Europe.
Germany will pass a bill on Wednesday making it illegal to burn all national flags, including Israel’s. This follows a December 2017 demonstration outside Brandenburg Gate when Arabs burned Israeli flags in protest of US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to stem the tide of growing anti-Semitism in the country.
Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff requested the specific inclusion of Israel following the protest. At the time, the crowd not only burned Israeli flags but also yelled anti-Semitic slogans including, “Death to the Jews.”
Not everyone agrees that the law change is democratic or will achieve its goal. “Whether we like it or not, flag-burning is a free-speech issue,” said an article in spiked, a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society.
Germany’s current law makes it illegal to damage or revile flags of foreign countries if shown publicly in an official capacity.
The new law would prohibit burning at demonstrations Israeli, Saudi Arabian, Iranian, British, Russian, and American flags, among other nations,The Jerusalem Post reported.
Flag-burning perpetrators will face fines or up to two years in prison.