BDS campaigners in Berlin, Germany protested on Saturday, 26 August outside the Alexanderplatz Saturn, a large electronics retailer, campaigning for the boycott of Hewlett-Packard (HP) products due to the corporation’s profiteering from Israeli occupation.
HP is subject to a global boycott campaign due to the corporation’s involvement in contracts with the Israel Prison Service as well as the operation of Israel’s apartheid ID card and checkpoint system and even providing IT support for the Israeli navy as it maintains its siege on Gaza. A growing number of churches and labor unions have declared themselves HP-free zones as the corporation’s role in Israeli apartheid has become more visible.
Campaigners in Berlin distributed information to passers-by and shoppers about HP’s involvement in human rights violations, including its role in the imprisonment of over 6,200 Palestinians.
The protest in Berlin came after major victories for the BDS movement in the German capital. The Pop-Kultur Festival, held between 23 and 25 August in the city, saw a number of significant performers, including Hello Psychaleppo, Young Fathers, Iklan with Law Holt, Emel Mathlouthi, Mazzaj, Islam Chipsy, Annie Goh and Oranssi Pazuzu, withdraw from their performances due to the addition of an official sponsorship by the Israeli Embassy to the festival’s program.
Eight Arab and international bands and artists pulled out in solidarity with the Palestinian call for boycott. The bands who pulled out included multiple award-winning performers whose presence at the festival had been heavily anticipated. However, festival organizers continued to adhere to their official Israeli state sponsorship and attempted to blame BDS campaigners rather than the apartheid, settler-colonial state from which they accepted support, including emblazoning the website with the logo of the embassy.
Some participants in the protest on Saturday, 26 August later joined a Palestinian community commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the assassination of Palestinian national leader and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa.
Organized by the Democratic Palestine Committees, the event included speeches, poetry and a musical and dabkeh performance by the Al-Awda Band, a Palestinian community troupe based in Berlin.
A number of Palestinian community organizations joined in the event memorializing the assassination of the Palestinian leftist leader on 27 August 2001 by Israeli occupation forces with a US-made and -provided missile shot from a helicopter into his office in Ramallah as he worked.
The Berlin event was particularly meaningful considering recent attacks on the Democratic Palestine Committees and other organizations by pro-Zionist politicians and Israeli media in an attempt to criminalize their organizing and activity in the Palestinian community in Berlin.
There has been a concerted effort to demand the suppression of events supporting the Palestinian struggle in Berlin, including targeting Palestinian community and solidarity organizations and attempting to have event venues cancelled, bank accounts closed and activists subjected to repression.
Organizers emphasized that they were committed to the representation of struggle that Abu Ali Mustafa stood for throughout his life and refused to be silenced by racist attacks that aim to undermine Palestinian and Arab community organizing and activities in Berlin and throughout Germany. The enthusiastic musical and dance performance by Al-Awda Band added a celebratory flair to the evening, envisioning a future of return and liberation for Palestine.