Following the political ban imposed on Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat by German authorities on 22 June as he went to deliver a lecture about the “deal of the century” and the Palestinian liberation struggle, people and organizations around the world are expressing their solidarity with Barakat and their condemnation of the ongoing German state attacks on freedom of expression. These attacks particularly target Palestinians, Arabs and the Palestine solidarity movement, including:
- the political ban prohibiting Barakat from participating in demonstrations, events, meetings and speeches;
- the deportation of former political prisoner Rasmea Odeh and the prohibition of her speech;
- the anti-BDS resolution passed by the Bundestag that aims to suppress the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign;
- the criminal prosecution of Palestinian and Jewish activists for interrupting an Israeli official involved in the war on Gaza of 2014;
- the forced resignation of the director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum for sharing an article about Jewish opposition to the anti-BDS resolution;
- the closure of the bank account of Jewish Voices for Peace, a Jewish organization in Germany advocating for justice in Palestine;
- the cancellation of invitations to international artists, such as American rapper Talib Kweli and Scottish rappers Young Fathers, because of their support for BDS and Palestinian human rights
Mohammed Khatib, the coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network in Europe, issued a statement on the political ban imposed on Barakat:
“For us, as a Palestinian community in Europe, and as Samidoun, as people and organizations that struggle and mobilize for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners in the Israeli settler colonial entity, we see the attack on comrade Khaled Barakat by the German authorities, as a part of their attempted to silence every free voice who call for freedom and justice. This comes as part of their efforts to suppress the boycott movement and every voice against the fascist State of Israel.
We know very well the role of Germany, Europe and all imperialist and colonial powers in our Nakba. We know their contribution and daily complicity in our suffering and siege, whether in the Gaza Strip or in small neighborhoods in Berlin. Khaled’s voice represents us and represents a line of struggle for justice. He always stands with migrants and people of color fighting for their rights and stands with all marginalized communities. When he speaks, he always highlights the connections between struggles everywhere and our struggle for the liberation of our homeland, Palestine.
When we, like Khaled, call for BDS in Germany, we are demanding that the European powers end their military aid and financial support to the Israeli state, including EU funds that go to finance settlement projects and military development. When we call for the liberation of Palestine, we are demanding that Europe take action to implement the rights of our people (and we note, that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live in Europe as refugees or citizens) specifically, the right of return to Palestine denied by the Israeli state for 70 years.
We also see the term ‘anti-Semitism’ thrown around to target Khaled and other Palestinian activists. We know that we have nothing to prove here; it is not the Palestinian people or the Palestinian movement who have been responsible for horrific Nazi and fascist crimes against Jews in Europe. Palestinians are engaged in a struggle against racism in all forms. This is a cynical attempt to silence us. They will never stop us from calling out: Free Palestine, from the river to the sea! Instead, we will continue to struggle against Israeli colonialism that serves as a military base for Western imperialist powers.
In reality, these latest repressive actions taken by the German authorities against Khaled Barakat show how important the role can and must be of the Palestinian communities in Europe and the Palestine solidarity movements. Confronting Israel on the international level is very important and necessary today and is experiencing a growing degree of effectiveness.
We also know our history, including the bloody history of the assassination of Palestinian scholars, writers and leaders in Europe by Israeli agents. We emphasize that Germany and Israel are responsible for Khaled’s life and health. And we call on our community to participate widely and get involved in raising our voices to defend and demand our rights, in Palestine and here in Europe.”
People around the world are taking action. Your solidarity statements directed to firstname.lastname@example.org can help us to fight back against escalating repression. In addition, delivering letters and messages to German embassies and consulates in protest of these policies can help to make clear that people around the world stand against the escalating censorship imposed on Palestinian organizing. In Berlin, the Palästina Spricht/Palestine Speaks demonstration will gather at 5 pm on 28 June at the Platz der Republik in protest of the escalating repression – we urge all to join the rally!
You can show your solidarity with the graphics below! Print the signs and posters and bring them to a demonstration, or take a selfie and post on social media. You can use the cover photo on your Facebook or elsewhere to show your support for Khaled Barakat and your opposition to the escalating attempts to criminalize support for justice in Palestine in Germany and around the world. Download the images below: