Germany to ban burning of Israeli and other state flags

The German government is expected to outlaw the burning of Israel’s flag along with flags of all nations in response to a series of anti-Israel demonstrations in 2017.

German media outlets reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s s governing coalition parties are expected to introduce a law that would forbid the torching of foreign national flags. A draft of the new law exists.

In December 2017, Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff called for a change of the law in the Federal Republic to prohibit the burning of the Israeli flag.

“It is anti-democratic and in the case of Israel it can even be very antisemitic,” said Issacharoff.

In the same month, 2,500 people demonstrated in Berlin against US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and torched an Israeli flag.

Issacharoff stressed that Israeli flags engulfed in flames were the worst for him at the demonstrations in Berlin. “It is not about whether one agrees with Israel’s position in any question.”

German law currently bans the burning of foreign flags when they are officially hanged in a ceremony or public function. A comprehensive ban prevents the burning or damaging of the German flag in the Federal Republic.

Burning a flag under the new law could mean a financial penalty or up to two years in prison.

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