Wir veröffentlichen hier zwei Artikel von Samidoun, zu der aktuellen Repression gegen alle, die für die Menschenrechte der Palästinensischen Bevölkerung kämpfen. Solidarität mit den Betroffenen!
Anti-Palestinian repression in Germany: Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat banned from speaking
The repression of Palestinian rights advocacy in Germany continued last night, Saturday, 22 June, as Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat was banned by the Berlin authorities from delivering a speech on the so-called “deal of the century” spearheaded by Donald Trump and the Arab and Palestinian response. He was also banned from engaging in all political activities and events in Germany until 31 July, whether directly (in-person) or “indirectly” (over video.) This outrageous attack on freedom of expression is only the latest assault on Palestinian rights carried out by the German government.
The event was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, 21 June, organized by an Arab community discussion group that regularly hosts speakers on important events in the Arab world. The city-owned venue reportedly received complaints about the event from pro-Zionist and pro-Israeli apartheid organizations, and informed the hosts that they could not hold the event. The event was instead relocated to a Sudanese community center on Saturday, 22 June. With the Bahrain conference to promote so-called “economic peace” at the expense of Palestinian rights expected in the coming days, the talk was of particular importance.
However, without notice or explanation, there were large numbers of police stretching from the closest U-Bahn station to the venue and blocking the street. When Barakat approached with Samidoun international coordinator Charlotte Kates, they were stopped by police and told the event would not take place tonight because it had been prohibited. They were then taken in a police van to a larger police station, where they were met by a German-Arabic translator, more police and two representatives of the Foreigners’ Office of Berlin.
Barakat was presented with an 8-page document and told that he was not allowed to give speeches in person or over video, participate in political meetings or events or even attend social gatherings of over 10 people; he was told that violations were punishable by up to a year in prison. Under German law, non-citizens can be barred from political activity if it could harm the “security or stability” of Germany. The accusations, which purport to show that his political activity is “dangerous,” do not do so; instead, there is mainly a list of speeches and events as well as a 2014 interview with Rote Fahne News, the publication of the MLPD (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany.) Despite claiming that Barakat’s speech could increase tensions or “political conflict” between Jews and Palestinians and Arabs in Germany, the document points to absolutely no negative repercussions whatsoever of all of his previous speeches in the country.
The document also accuses Barakat of being a member of the Palestinian leftist party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Despite noting that the PFLP is, in fact, not banned in Germany, it notes that it is listed on the EU terrorist list and thus presents a danger, even though none of the listed allegations indicate any danger at all. It could not be more clear that this is the latest attempt on Palestinian expression and advocacy and the further restriction of freedom of speech, expression and association in Germany.
Barakat and Kates were also told that their residency in Germany would not be renewed and would “come to an end,” although they were not presented with that decision.
This incident comes amid an ongoing campaign by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the so-called “anti-BDS ministry,” to attack Palestinian and solidarity organizations, especially leftists. Barakat has been singled out by this ministry on multiple occasions, as has Samidoun and its work. It also comes following a series of attacks on Palestinian rights and freedom of speech in Germany, including:
- the political ban and stripping of the Schengen visitor visa targeting Rasmea Odeh, former Palestinian political prisoner and community leader
- the anti-BDS resolution passed by the German Bundestag (parliament) denouncing BDS as “anti-Semitic”
- the criminal prosecution of activists for interrupting an Israeli official speaker involved in the war on Gaza at Humboldt University
- the cancellation of performance invitations to American rapper Talib Kweli and Scottish rappers Young Fathers for their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement
- the forced resignation of the director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin for tweeting a link to a statement against the Bundestag’s anti-BDS resolution written by Jewish scholars
It should be noted that this repression comes hand in hand with political attacks on the Arab and Muslim communities in Germany spearheaded by the far-right rhetoric of the AfD and other parties, but with the active complicity of the official “left,” which continues to support the suppression of Palestinian community organizing and Palestine solidarity in defense of a colonial, apartheid, racist system. It also comes amid ongoing criminalization of popular movements in Europe, including trials of trade union leaders and refugee solidarity organizers in various countries.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses our deepest outrage at the political ban against Khaled Barakat. We believe that it indicates a serious danger that outright bans, police repression and residency revocation are becoming a police state norm for suppressing unwanted Palestinian political speech that defends rights, justice and liberation.
On Friday, 28 June, a protest is being organized against the Bundestag’s anti-BDS resolution under the slogan Palästina Spricht (Palestine Speaks), and we urge all to attend and participate. Internationally, your statements and voices of solidarity are critical in helping to fight back against this intensified repression. These attacks will not silence Khaled Barakat or the Palestinian people – but it is critical that we build our international movement to defend Palestine, especially as it is targeted for liquidation.
Please send your solidarity statements to email@example.com.
Repression Continues in Berlin: Solidarity with leftists under attack!
On Wednesday, 26 June, state repression continued to escalate in Berlin, Germany, as Berlin police and right-wing media outlets promoted a series of raids and searches at the homes of nine alleged members of Jugendwiderstand (Youth Resistance), a left revolutionary youth organization that fights fascism and upholds Palestinian rights as well as supporting liberation struggles around the world. After a series of repressive attacks, the group dissolved itself earlier in June, but the raids and attacks have continued.
According to media reports, police allegedly accuse the Jugendwiderstand members of “attacking” two events. First, they accuse them of engaging in militant confrontations with the open neo-Nazis that parade through Berlin each year in the “Rudolf Hess Memorial March” protected from antifascists by the Berlin police. Despite the German government’s cynical use of the term “anti-Semitism” to oppose advocacy for Palestinian rights and criticism of Israel, actual Nazis and anti-Semites who celebrate Nazi leaders are provided with extensive, expensive protection against leftist demonstrators.
In one article, the Berlin Union of Police expressed its support for the “fundamental right” of the “freedom of demonstration,” accusing leftists of “hypocrisy” for seeking to shut down racist Nazi marches. On the other hand, this alleged concern for freedom of expression is nowhere to be found when police issue political bans against Palestinian speakers and activists like Khaled Barakat with reference to spurious allegations of “anti-Semitism,” which they equate to nothing more than “anti-Israelism.” This trend is truly appalling, obscuring the real history and threats of Nazi anti-Semitism while instead attacking leftists, Palestinians and Arabs.
Secondly, the members of Jugendwiderstand are accused of attacking a “pro-Israel gathering” on 12 September 2018. It should be noted that they were actually seeking to informally defend the location of a speech by Palestinian activist, land defender and former political prisoner Manal Tamimi from a group of pro-Zionist, pro-apartheid counterdemonstrators who wanted to see Tamimi’s speech shut down in its new location. Tamimi’s speech was driven from its original venue by threats to cut the funding of an Iranian refugee organization by “leftist” Berlin officials.
These police attacks have followed a series of media propaganda pieces against Jugendwiderstand activists. Jugendwiderstand has been one of only a few left organizations in Berlin to clearly uphold Palestinian rights on a principled basis as part of a commitment to opposing colonialism and racism and supporting national liberation struggles. This has been a key point in the ongoing propaganda pieces aimed at criminalizing both support for Palestine and resistance to fascists in Berlin.
One of the articles reporting the raids in the Berliner Morgenpost has no qualms in labeling both Jugendwiderstand members and Manal Tamimi “anti-Semites” and noting that the Israeli occupation labels her, as an opponent of that occupation, a terrorist; at the same time, it expresses concern about neo-Nazis who were “stuck in Brandenburg” after trains were allegedly sabotaged by anti-fascists to protest their march. The terms “anti-Semite” and “anti-Semitic” are nowhere used to describe the actual neo-Nazis participating in a “Rudolf Hess Memorial March” – further illustrating the degradation of this term in anti-Palestinian propaganda.
Another mainstream press article, this time in the Tagesspiegel (the newspaper that led the anti-Palestinian campaign against Rasmea Odeh), openly labels the raided activists “thugs” within the text of what might be expected to be “objective” coverage. Also within the text of the article, the Tagesspiegel writers take credit for inciting the raids “based on their information.”
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strong solidarity with the leftists and former Jugendwiderstand members who have come under attack. This is part and parcel of the ongoing, escalating state repression targeting leftist voices and, in particular, Palestinian and Arab communities.
It is no accident that police spokespeople affirm their commitment to the “freedom of expression” of anti-Semitic neo-Nazis through raids on leftists only days after shutting down a Palestinian event against the “deal of the century” and imposing a political ban on Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat. From the anti-BDS resolution of the Bundestag, to the account cancellations and forced resignations of Jewish groups and leaders who criticize Israel in any way, to the criminal prosecution of people who interrupt Israeli officials responsible for the war on Gaza to the deportation of Rasmea Odeh, it is critical to confront the escalating repression in Germany with international solidarity.