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Palestine is under attack. From the “Deal of the Century” to the home demolitions in Sur Baher to the attempts to liquidate Palestinian refugees’ right to return home, Palestinians are resisting an intensified assault on their rights and, indeed, their very existence. This attack is not confined to the borders of occupied Palestine or even to the refugee camps in the Arab countries surrounding Palestine where Palestinians have been forcibly exiled for over 71 years. The ongoing siege on Palestinian organizing, struggle and resistance is also taking place in countries around the world – and Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat is being targeted in Germany as part of that very same attack.
On 22 June, Barakat was scheduled to give a speech in Berlin, Germany on Trump’s “deal of the century” and the Bahrain economic normalization conference. Instead, he was stopped by dozens of police, taken to a police station and given an 8-page document banning him from political events, speeches and activities until 31 July and informing him that his residency in Germany will not be renewed. This action comes directly following the incitement of the Israeli anti-BDS ministry, the so-called “Ministry of Strategic Affairs,” waging a global propaganda and disinformation campaign against Palestinian writers, activists and human rights defenders, as well as the Palestine solidarity movement. We are urging you to join us in taking action on July 28-31 in solidarity with Khaled Barakat and for freedom of expression, opinion and conscience for Palestinian rights!
Barakat 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 public events, most available in video and audio recordings online. 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. Of course, this cannot be separated from the German state and capital’s own imperialist actions and interests in the region, including its ongoing alliance with the U.S. and Israel.
This is only the latest in a series of attacks on Palestinian rights in Germany, including the following:
- 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
On 10 July, Barakat spoke at the European Parliament, along with Samidoun activists Charlotte Kates and Mohammed Khatib, at the invitation of MEP Manu Pineda. Now, the parliamentarians who raised the issue of the silencing of Palestinian speakers at the European Parliament are themselves being attacked by the Israeli state demanding their silence – at the same time that Israel demolishes homes in Jerusalem, and shoots dead Palestinians marching for their right to return in Gaza.
Khaled Barakat has filed an urgent appeal in German courts against this political ban. This escalation in Germany reflects 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. German and international lawyers have highlighted the violation of fundamental human rights inherent in this political ban.
Internationally, your statements and voices of solidarity are critical in helping to fight back against this intensified repression. 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. 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.
Many organizations have spoken out – see below for an (incomplete and growing) list. You can help to fight back and stand against the political targeting and silencing of Palestine!
Take Action July 28-31:
1. Protest against the political ban on Khaled Barakat! Hold a demonstration, protest or event for free speech on Palestine. These attacks are taking place around the world, and Khaled’s case is part of them. You can also include a statement on Khaled’s case or the signs below as part of a broader protest in support of Palestine, against the home demolitions in Jerusalem or with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon struggling for their rights. Email us at email@example.com or contact us on Facebook about your event or action.
2. Call the German embassy or consulate in your area and speak up about the ongoing attack on Palestinian rights in Germany. Use this link to find the German embassy or consulate in your area! For easy reference, the German embassy in the US can be reached at +1 (202) 298-4000; the German embassy in Canada at +1 (613) 232 1101; and the German embassy to the UK at +44 20 78 24 13 00. Find the German embassy or consulate near you at: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/germany
When you call, say, “My name is _____ and I am calling from _____. I am calling about the ongoing attacks on advocacy for justice in Palestine in Germany. In particular, the political ban on Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat in Berlin. This type of political ban is clearly undemocratic and a direct violation of fundamental human rights. Palestinians must have the right to speak, and the political ban must be lifted.”
3. Deliver a letter to the German embassy or consulate in your area on behalf of your organization against the political ban on Khaled Barakat and in support of Palestinian rights. Here is a quick sample letter that you can use or adapt as you wish:
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
To whom it may concern;
We are writing to express our deepest concern about the ongoing repression of Palestinian rights and advocacy in Germany. We are very concerned that a police state atmosphere is being developed to silence Palestinian activism, an atmosphere that reflects racism, repression and discrimination.
In particular, we write to demand an end to the political ban imposed on Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat. The allegations against his speeches and writings are false and inaccurate; his writings challenge colonialism and injustice and present a vision of universal justice and liberation.
We also express our utmost concern about the resolution passed by the Bundestag in May 2019 condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as anti-Semitic. In reality, the BDS campaign is a Palestinian-led, anti-racist, global movement for justice and equality.
Once again, we are appalled by the ongoing silencing and suppression being directed at Palestinians and advocates for Palestine in Germany, and we see that fundamental human rights are at risk and already being violated.
Further, we also urge the Federal Republic of Germany to uphold human rights in international forums and take meaningful action to stop ongoing Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people, including supporting a military embargo on Israel.
A list of German embassies and consulates is available here: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/germany
4. Take an individual or group photo or video with the campaign poster (below), make your own sign and share on social media! Tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to show us your solidarity with Khaled Barakat and support for Palestinian rights!
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:
Poster: (download at full size)
Social media cover or banner image (download here)
List of organizations and statements in support of Khaled Barakat (under construction)
Here are some of the solidarity statements we have received, as well as articles covering the situation:
- Members of European Parliament Manu Pineda and Pernando Barrena
- Member of Bundestag Diether Dehm (DIE LINKE)
- International Association of Democratic Lawyers
- Portuguese Communist Party
- European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH)
- Internationale League for Human Rights
- Association of Democratic Lawyers in Germany (VDJ)
- Unauthorized Disclosure Podcast
- Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD)
- Gruppe ArbeiterInnenMacht and REVOLUTION – International Communist Youth Organization
- Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) of Catalonia
- No One Is Illegal Vancouver
- Junge Welt
- Sindicato General di Base (Italian trade union)
- Lebanese parliamentarian Osama Saad
- Campaign to Free Georges Abdallah in Lebanon
- Revolutionary Communist Group
- Freedom Road Socialist Organization
- Struggle/La Lucha
- Red Flag in London
- La Verite pour Adama campaign
- US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
- Internationalt Forum – Denmark
- Philippines-Palestine Friendship Committee
- Secours Rouge of Belgium
- Youth Platform Zurich
- Collectif Palestine Vaincra
- ATIK (Confederation of Turkish Workers in Europe)
- Unified Campaign for the Release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah
- ILPS (International League of People’s Struggles)
- Revolutionaire Eenheid
- UDAP (Unione Democratica Arabo Palestinese) – Italy
- Associazione Amicizia Sardegna Palestine and BDS Sardegna
- Anti Imperialist Action Ireland
- Skyline for Human Rights
- Palästina Solidarität
- BDS Türkiye
- Plate-Forme Charleroi-Palestine
- TeleSur English
- Secours Rouge Canada
- Proletari torinesi per il Soccorso Rosso Internazionale
- Electronic Intifada
- Palestine Matters
- Palestine Chronicle
- Indus News
- Middle East Monitor
- Fight Back News
- Al Hadaf News
- Quds News Network
- ISM France
- Group 194
- Palestina Libre
- International Middle East Media Center