Berlin Man Beaten, Left with Serious Head Injuries After Refusing to Say ‘Free Palestine’

Berlin
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A 36-year-old man was brutally beaten in Berlin on Monday evening by a group of men who had demanded that he shout the phrase “Free Palestine”.

The incident is said to have taken place around 10:35 p.m. in the area of Spandau in the German capital, and saw the three men approach the 36-year-old while demanding he shout “Free Palestine!”

When the man refused to yell the phrase, the three set upon and viciously beat him, kicking him and leaving him with serious head injuries, according to police. The victim, a German citizen, lost consciousness as the three men fled the scene, newspaper Die Welt reports.

The victim was taken to a local hospital by ambulance after witnesses alerted authorities but, so far, police say they have made no arrests in the case and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Some have linked the attack to antisemitism, such as the Werteinitiative, a Jewish NGO that “aims to secure the Jewish future in Germany,” according to the group’s website.

Antisemitism has been a growing problem in Berlin for several years, with a report released last year in September claiming that in the first half of 2020 alone there was an average of two antisemitic incidents per day in the city.

The Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism Berlin report claimed that while most incidents were simply classified as malicious behaviour, there were six physical attacks and at least 25 cases of property damage motivated by antisemitism.

Antisemitic attitudes are not limited to adults either, as a 2017 report revealed that the phrase “You Jew!” had become a common insult among pupils in Berlin schools. The report particularly noted growing antisemitism among Turkish and Arab-background pupils.

Jews who wear the traditional kippah have also been targeted in Berlin and other major Western European cities, and Josef Schuster, the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, advised Jews not to wear the garment over safety fears in 2018.

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