Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat is continuing to fight back against a political ban imposed on him by Germany, while Israeli officials are attempting to pressure the European Parliament over inviting Palestinian speakers to discuss the repression they face in Europe as well as under Israeli occupation. Barakat, who has filed an urgent appeal in German courts against the ban on his participation in political events and activities on Palestine, spoke in the European Parliament on 10 July about the repression faced by Palestinian activists, along with Samidoun international coordinator Charlotte Kates and European coordinator Mohammed Khatib.
Not satisfied with the political ban in Germany, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan wrote a letter to the European Parliament’s president full of typical smear attacks, demanding that Barakat be barred from speaking to the parliament. During his presentation, Barakat specifically addressed Erdan’s role in promoting the censorship of Palestinian activists around the world.
Erdan even reportedly called for MEP Manu Pineda of Spain, who invited Barakat to speak, be removed from his position on the Commission on Foreign Affairs, despite the fact that the Israeli state has no authority or participation in the European parliament. The attack on freedom of expression at the European Parliament came at the same time that Erdan expressed his support for Israeli home demolitions targeting Palestinians in Sur Baher, Jerusalem, claiming that “we have the right to demolish any building or house that threatens our security.”
Even as Erdan and the Israeli state are intensifying their repressive attacks, people around the world are standing in solidarity with Khaled Barakat and the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation. As part of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra delegation to Lebanon, parliamentarian Osama Saad expressed his support for Khaled Barakat’s struggle against the political ban and the campaign to fight repression in Germany, as did organizers of the Campaign to Free Georges Abdallah in Lebanon:
Writer and activist Irene Clausen published an article in Danish left publication, Konfront.dk, focusing on the political ban on Barakat and other forms of repression in Germany. Earlier, on 6 July, activists with Boykot Israel in Copenhagen highlighted Barakat’s case and other repressive actions in Germany, including the Bundestag’s anti-BDS motion, as part of its monthly supermarket protest:
In Edinburgh, members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign protested for freedom of expression on Palestine and highlighted the Khaled Barakat case. The Scottish PSC issued a statement of solidarity:
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign sends warm greetings in solidarity with Khaled Barakat, and wish him and his comrades in Germany well in their struggle against increased repression by the German establishment and Bundestag.
Barakat is yet another victim of the Zionist sponsored attacks on Palestinian resisters, solidarity activists and supporters of BDS internationally.
We are facing unprecedented attacks by an Israeli state along with it’s allies, intent on silencing those who dare to speak out against its countless crimes and to tell the truth about its Apartheid structures and it’s increasingly barbaric racist practices.
Here in Scotland,we will continue to stand firm on our principles of support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and defend free speech on Palestine. We will defy attempts by the political establishment, the powerful Zionist lobby and their media lackeys to smear us and others who speak out as anti-semitic.
They cannot and must not win this battle.
Stand strong Khaled Barakat and All who are lovers of justice and humanity.
An injury to one is an injury to all!
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Yousef Brakni and Assa Traore of the La vérité pour Adama campaign in France – a campaign for justice for Adama Traore, killed in French police custody in 2016, also expressed their support for Barakat:
The Portuguese Communist Party also affirmed its stand in support of Barakat and the Palestinian people’s struggle:
The Portuguese Communist Party expresses its solidarity with Khaled Barakat and with all other friends and supporters of the Palestinian people’s just struggle against Israeli occupation and repression, and for the creation of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine, as reaffirmed by numerous UN resolutions.
The PCP condemns the mounting repression and persecution of supporters and activists of solidarity movements with the Palestinian people’s struggle, in numerous countries of the European Union and in the USA. It is intolerable that the struggle against Israel’s crimes and its permanent violation of International Law is outrageously being equated with antisemitism. This form of repression is not just a sign of increasing collaboration of governments with Israel’s criminal policy. It is also an expression of authoritarianism, which is inseparable from the deepening structural crisis of capitalism and from the ever stronger currents that are pushing for violence and war worldwide.
In reaffirming the PCP’s permanent solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable rights, we pledge to further strengthen the solidarity, namely in Portugal, with the Palestinian resistance and against Israel’s politics of oppression and occupation.
International Department of the Portuguese Communist Party
The Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) in Britain also issued a statement of solidarity with Barakat, highlighting the connections to the repression of activists who defend Palestinian rights in Britain and emphasizing the importance of clear opposition to Zionism:
The RCG sends its solidarity and stands firmly against the latest actions of the imperialist and pro-Zionist German government to censure and silence comrade Khaled Barakat. As the crisis of imperialism deepens, European ruling classes have set their sights on stamping out any resistance and, under the guise of tackling antisemitism, seek to crush pro-Palestine and anti-Zionist sentiment. In this mission, they are aided by opportunist currents such as the British Labour Party and the German Social Democrats, who spuriously equate opposition to Israel with anti-Jewish racism. The same political forces are silent on the internment of Palestinian political prisoners, on the drive to war on Iran, and line up with the counterrevolutionary coup-plotters in Venezuela.
In the absence of a strong anti-imperialist current in Britain, we have seen a witch-hunt against critics of Israeli colonialism and local Labour MPs have stood on platforms alongside street fascists and Zionists. Meetings of the RCG and other groups such as the International Solidarity Movement have been attended by undercover cops as local councils, Labour and Tory, adopt pro-Israel motions. Rather than accepting self-censorship in the name of a form of BDS stripped of its principles, we fight for an anti-Zionist Palestine solidarity movement. The actions of the German state are outrageous and reactionary, and are a shape of things to come across Europe unless a new movement is built. We stand with comrade Khaled, Samidoun and all who campaign against this censorship.
Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
The Gruppe ArbeiterInnenMacht, the German section of the League for the Fifth International and REVOLUTION – international Communist youth organization, issued a statement in support of Khaled Barakat:
Defend Khaled Barakat, the freedom of speech and movement!
‘Oppose Germany’s and Israel’s racist offensive
we stand next to you, we offer our solidarity and our support!
The order (see link: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/riri-hylton/germany-threatens-journalist-prison-speaking-about-palestine) by the Federal Republic of Germany, which attempts to stop you from raising your voice against the atrocities against the Palestinian people by the Israeli state and with the support of the German government, which limits your freedom of movement in Germany, with the ultimate aim to deport you is a criminal act, which we vigorously condemn.
Nevertheless, this attack comes as no surprise. It is not the first attempt of the German state and Zionist nationalists to oppress the freedom of speech and solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement with all means necessary. It is part of an orchestrated campaign, which is orchestrated by the far right Netanyahu government, supported by the imperialist governments, build on lies and carried out with vicious repression.
The German state claims that “the public should be protected from your expected anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements.” We know you as a courageous socialist and humanist. Someone who fights with conviction not just against the oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli state, but against all forms of oppression. The claim you are anti-semitic is as laughable as the claim “Trump and Netanyahu want peace in the Middle East.”
At the same time it is Trump, Netanjahu and the officials of the German government who actually cooperate openly with antisemitic governments such as in Hungary or Poland. While the German state is “blind on the right eye”, fascists murder and the antisemitic Alternative für Deutschland is preparing to capture provincial governments, it is internationalists like you who are the target of repression.
While the danger for Jewish people is growing under the threat of growing fascist street movements, it is not this actual danger but the Palestinian rights movement that is branded antisemitic. The basis on which this aggressive ideological advance is made, is the advance of the far-right in Israel and the ever more aggressive offensive by the Israeli state against the Palestinian population. The Israeli state is realising a one state solution based on Apartheid, and activists like you who fight for a democratic one state solution are branded antisemitic. This of course is only possible if one accepts the reactionary idea that anti-zionism is antisemitism.
Opposing the idea of an exclusionary Apartheid state, which aims to establish a “Jewish State” by oppression, expulsion and constant war against the Palestinians is as anti-semitic, as opposing Daesh is anti-muslim. Naming it as such, reveals the true agenda of the German state, its agenda is not the protection of minorities and the struggle for democratic rights. It turns reality on its head to further German imperialism’s foreign and domestic agenda.
Socialists, and in fact all democrats, have to vigorously oppose this campaign. This is not an isolated issue. Standing with you Khaled, means standing with all those who are victims of racism and imperialism. We call on all left and labour organisations to support your struggle and the struggle of the Palestinians and Jewish anti-zionists for justice. Everyone who wants to fight for justice in Germany has to take a clear stance against the racist endeavour Israel. This is not because Israel in itself is “special” because it claims to be a Jewish state, it is important because the partnership with Israel is a centerpiece for Germany’s industrial arms complex and German imperialism’s Middle East strategy.
It is a shame, and it is telling that the attack against you is happening in Berlin, where a Red-Red-Green alliance (SPD, LINKE, Grüne) are forming a coalition. The blame has to go directly to the interior minister Andreas Geisel (SPD) and the minister of justice Dirk Behrendt (Grüne), but also to the two Berliner staunch zionists Klaus Lederer who is Minster for Culture and Stefan Liebich, the Left Party’s speaker for foreign affairs. They have been two of the most prominent figures in oppressing any solidarity with Palestine in the Left Party, and supporting the smear campaigns in the broader left against anti-imperialists. They, alongside the Senate in general and the Israeli Embassy should be the recipients of protests in Berlin.
We call on all those who are disgusted by this attack on the freedom of speech in general, and the racist context in particular to build a united front in defence of democratic rights both in Germany and in Palestine. We urge you to sign the resolution “Antizionism is not Antisemitism” (set link: http://arbeiterinnenmacht.de/2019/06/13/internationale-solidaritaet-gegen-die-angriffe-der-sogenannten-antideutschen-antizionismus-ist-kein-antisemitismus/) which was firstly signed by a series of internationalist organisations in Germany, and supported in particular by the comrades Charlotte Kates and Khaled Barakat. Every organisation which claims that “Such issues dont matter in Germany” does not deserve to call itself left. Indeed it does not deserve to be called democratic.
A clear line has been drawn now, and we are proud to stand on the righteous side, together with comrades like Khaled Barakat.
Immediate withdrawal of the orders against Khaled Barakat, for an unlimited extension for his and Charlotte Kates right to stay!
Withdraw or acquit all pending cases against activists who are criminalised for their solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement!
The PFLP is not a terrorist organisation, BDS is not anti-semitic! For an end of all criminalistion of the Palestinian liberation movement, Jewish anti-zionists and anti-imperialist activists!
Let us come together to fight for a the only viable solution, a united, socialist and secular Palestine from the river to the sea!
Workers of the World Unite!
Gruppe ArbeiterInnenmacht, German section of the League for the Fifth International
REVOLUTION – Internationale Kommunistische Jugendorganisation
Red Flag in London also took a solidarity photo in support of Barakat:
Earlier, in Toulouse, France, activists with the Collectif Palestine Vaincra painted a mural in solidarity with Palestine, with “Solidarity as a weapon” followed by calls to support Khaled Barakat and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign:
Around the world, people of conscience are raising their voices in solidarity with Khaled Barakat and against the ongoing racist violations of Palestinian human rights both in Europe and in occupied Palestine. Please join the support campaign! Send your statements of solidarity to email@example.com or take a solidarity photo featuring the campaign posters to post online or share with us!