On Friday, 15 March, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and HIRAK (the Palestinian Youth Mobilization in Germany) will host “Palestinian Women in the Liberation Struggle,” a celebration of Palestinian struggle and International Women’s Day, at 6:00 pm at Waterloo-Ufer 5-7 in Berlin, Germany. This event will feature keynote speeches from two Palestinian women strugglers who have faced imprisonment and repression for their involvement in struggle: Rasmea Odeh and Dareen Tatour.
The event is moving forward and will take place despite repeated attempts to cancel it and even bar the speakers from the country. We encourage all friends of Palestine and the Palestinian and Arab communities in Berlin to attend tonight’s event and stand with these courageous Palestinian women against racist and colonialist attacks.
This event has come under a vicious and sustained attack from every source of power that seeks to prevent the voices of these women from being heard. The Israeli Ambassador to Germany has been joined by Trump’s U.S. Ambassador to Germany in demanding that Rasmea Odeh not be allowed entry into the country and be prohibited from speaking. This has been accompanied by a vicious media campaign making use of the “terrorist” label in an attempt to incite against these two women and what they have to say about the experiences and struggles of Palestinian women prisoners – and all Palestinian women.
On a day when at least 49 people – Muslims at Friday prayers – in Christchurch, New Zealand, have had their lives stolen from them by right-wing, fascist terror; on a day when 100 sites in Gaza were bombed by the Israeli occupation army, it is clear more than ever that the use of the term “terrorist” by these forces is a racist, colonial attempt to silence the victims and the survivors of their state-sponsored violence.
U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell joined the campaign to block the event from taking place in Germany, claiming that the event “legitimizes anti-Semitism.” However, Grenell has become infamous in Germany for his constant attempts to promote far-right political forces inside Germany as well as to interfere in German political decisions in the interest of the U.S. ruling class. Grenell has become infamous for attempting to disrupt pipeline negotiations with Russia, interfere in technology trade with China and promote a war footing and sanctions on Iran in Germany. His attack on Rasmea Odeh is part of the same attempt to carry the most right-wing policies of the United States around the world.
He has joined with far-right forces in supporting anti-migrant rhetoric in Germany, including allying with the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party, widely denounced for its affinity to actual anti-Semitism and racism. It is infamous for maintaining racist, extremist members including Holocaust revisionists – a subject about which Grenell apparently shows little concern, despite his eagerness to accuse Palestinian women of “anti-Semitism.”
It should be noted, of course, that the AfD’s ongoing appeals to fascist and racist rhetoric are combined with full-scale anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab racism and thus, support for the Israeli state. Indeed, AfD politicians have declared Israel to be a “model for Germany” due to its exclusionary, apartheid nature. This reflects the developing alliance of the far right and the Israeli state: the same alliance that is attempting to smear Rasmea Odeh and block her speech and that of Dareen Tatour.
Meanwhile, the Israeli state also joined in the attack on Rasmea Odeh, as its ambassador, Jeremy Issacharoff claimed to be “shocked” and “dismayed” that Rasmea Odeh was able to enter the country and deliver a speech.
An assortment of anti-Palestinian, right-wing and racist politicians and political organizations have joined in the attack on Rasmea Odeh and Dareen Tatour. They attempted to intimidate the venue into cancelling its agreement with the organizers to host this important event and are now claiming that they plan to demonstrate outside the event. These include Volker Beck, the Green Party politician (who is a shame to the Green movement internationally) who has made a career out of anti-Palestinian, pro-apartheid incitement. For years and years, Beck has attempted to have nearly every demonstration, conference and event in support of the Palestinian people in Berlin cancelled, demanding that security agencies, venues and police block the organizing of the large and growing Palestinian community as well as the Palestine solidarity movement.
They also include the “Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism,” which, despite its name, repeatedly engages in attempts to shut down events or ban BDS campaigns, as well as attacking Jewish individuals and organizations who support Palestinian rights. Despite its claim to support “democracy,” the organization has been a leading propagandist supporting the prosecution of three activists, known as the Humboldt 3, for interrupting an Israeli member of Knesset in a speech in Berlin. The three activists include a Palestinian from Gaza and two Israeli Jews.
All of these entities want to stop Rasmea Odeh and Dareen Tatour from speaking because they do not want the stories, struggles and experiences of Palestinian women to be heard. The Israeli apartheid state and U.S. imperialists do not want their state-sppnsored crimes to be revealed. Defenders of apartheid, occupation and racism do not want these women to present their creative visions and clear political analysis. By silencing the voices of Rasmea Odeh and Dareen Tatour, they seek to ay the basis for enabling yet more colonial war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Rasmea Odeh is a lifelong struggler: a survivor of sexual assault and brutal torture by the Israeli occupation forces, who was sentenced and imprisoned on the basis of that torture. She is a former political prisoner and a true leader who never stopped struggling, who organized women to uphold their rights and struggle for their liberation from Palestine to Chicago and beyond.
Dareen Tatour is a poet who was imprisoned for her poetry and her words, locked behind bars and held for years under house arrest because of her creative voice for Palestine.
They will speak tonight, 15 March, at 6 pm, at Waterloo-Ufer 5-7 in Berlin. They will not be silenced. And it is incredibly important that all people of conscience, all defenders of Palestinian rights, join us tonight to hear what they have to say and to make it clear that despite military might and imperial power, the voices, the struggle and the resistance of the Palestinian people – and specifically of Palestinian women – will not be defeated and will not be silenced.
Please also join us on Saturday, 16 March in Hermannplatz at 3:00 pm for a demonstration for freedom for all revolutionary prisoners around the world – including Palestinian women prisoners like Rasmea and Dareen still fighting for their liberation.