German Police Apologize for Banning Israeli Flag at Soccer Game

April 28, 2015  

Berlin’s police apologized on Monday for preventing the display of the Israeli flag during a soccer game in the German capital, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

During Sunday’s second division game between Berlin’s 1. FC Union and FC Ingolstadt, police ordered fans to remove an Israeli flag they had unfurled in support of Almog Cohen, an Israeli player with the Ingolstadt team.

Cohen, who noticed that the Israeli flag had been taken down, later tweeted that when he asked fans of his team about the incident, they told him that the police said that “Jewish flags” were not allowed to be on display during the game.

“Today the Israeli flag was removed during the game against Union Berlin. Removed by a local security guard: ‘No flags of Jews’, he said,” tweeted Cohen.

Police president Klaus Kandt said Monday that ordering the fans to put the flag away was a mistake by the police officer on the scene who interpreted the display of the flag as a prohibited political statement.

“It’s the police’s job to protect the freedom of expression. The demand to roll up the flag was the incorrect decision for which I apologize to those concerned,” he said, according to AP.

The incident comes amid a growing trend of anti-Semitism across Europe. Earlier this month, Dutch soccer fans chanted anti-Semitic slogans during a match, calling for Jews to be burned and sent to gas chambers.

Dutch police launched an investigation, after video footage captured fans belting out the anti-Semitic slurs and clapping during the game.

The incident in Germany also comes just one day after it was reported that Israelis appear to have been banned from buying tickets to see the Paris St. Germain soccer team in action.

The discovery was made by an Israeli couple planning a trip to Paris who wanted to attend a game – and could not find a listing for Israeli orders on the group’s ticket ordering web site.

Included on that list are the “occupied Palestinian territories,” as the site describes Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria – but not Israel, which was nowhere to be found on the list.

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