Today Nancy Faeser, the German interior minister (previously known for multiple anti-Arab propaganda campaigns), announced a ban on Samidoun:
The ban on Samidoun by German officials is active participation in the ongoing genocide on Gaza. The purpose of such a ban is to repress dissent with the full force of the state. It comes hand in hand with bans on demonstrations, police assaulting people on the streets for wearing a kuffiyeh or carrying a Palestinian flag, the ban on saying “Freom the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” the imposition of political bans, the efforts to deport activists or strip them of residency.
All of this is full-on complicity and particiption in genocide. As we speak to you today, Israeli occupation forces just carried out a new massacre in al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, bombing 30 homes in a heavily populated camp. The German state and the Ministry of the Interior are choosing to support these attacks by waging a campaign of terror and repression against those who dare to speak out against these ongoing crimes, who want to mobilize people to put an end to destruction, war, occupation and colonialism.
The German state and all imperialist powers, following the lead of U.S. President Biden, are partners not only in the defamation and dehumanization of the Palestinian people but the murderous war crimes and crimes against humanity of the occupation regime. Complicity in genocide is illegal under international law, as is the persecution of organizations because they oppose apartheid, and we are committed to hold Germany accountable for its crimes against not only Samidoun, but the Palestinian people as a whole.
This attack should be of serious concern to all who carry out political work, especially for Palestinian liberation. It is meant to introduce a norm in which organizations may be banned for organizing demonstrations, lectures, publishing posters and engaging in entirely public and political work that challenges the German state and its complicity in Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ongoing genocide in Gaza. It comes at a time when more people than ever are speaking out for justice and liberation in Palestine and is meant as an attack on the movement as a whole.
If it is possible to ban Samidoun, then it is possible to ban every political organization and group in Germany that challenges the politics of the German state and its imperialist role. This action comes hand in hand with the United States’ ongoing resupply of bombs to target the Palestinian people in Gaza. It is meant to bolster the Israeli war effort by depriving the Palestinian people of popular support on the streets.
This is also a racist assault on the Palestinian and Arab community. Samidoun in Germany is led by Palestinian refugee youth, and the German media has engaged in a blatantly racist smear campaign intended to incite the most racist and fascist forces in the country against the Palestinian community, which is the largest in Europe. The police in Berlin have engaged in an ongoing, targeted and offensive assault against Arab neighbourhoods and communities. Samidoun activists have faced severe repression, such as Zaid Abdulnasser being threatened with stripping his residency and Musaab Abu Atta being subjected to a political ban. Other activists have been threatened with deportation for merely attending protests and events. This ban is meant to keep the communities silenced by terror and fear, to repress the voice of youth, and to empower the most racist and fascist forces against the Palestinian people both in Germany and in Palestine.
The attack on Samidoun is part and parcel of the attack on the Palestinian people as a whole. It reflects the German state’s imperialist interests. Far from expressing a sense of guilt or responsibility for Nazi crimes and genocide, this action evidences the German state’s aggressive dedication to and promotion of racism, repression and war crimes. We must be clear: Germany has no legitimacy or authority to speak on human rights, freedoms or democracy. It is dedicated to stripping all of those things from anyone who speaks out against genocide and colonialism in Palestine
Samidoun has also been particularly targeted because we advocate for the Palestinian prisoners, on the front lines of struggle, confronting repression, and express our solidarity with and the legitimacy of the Palestinian resistance. While Germany suppresses the Palestinian community and bans Samidoun, its official outposts abroad have frequently sought to influence and direct Palestinian politics through conditional funding and similar colonial enterprises. Through this ban, the German state wishes not only to support genocide but to criminalize even verbal resistance to that genocide. The Palestinian people, like all colonized and oppressed peoples, have the right to resist to liberate themselves and their land from colonialism and occupation, from the river to the sea. Those who resist occupation and oppression — the Palestinian resistance — are not only heroes of the Palestinian people, they are defenders of all of humanity.
At this moment, we urge all activists and supporters of Palestine, and all who care for freedom and justice, to speak out against the genocide in Gaza, to speak out against the ban on Samidoun and to affirm loudly and clearly that Palestine will be free from the river to the sea, and that Palestinians have the right to resist occupation and oppression. Through this action, through repeated demands of police on protest organizers, the German state wants to suppress these truths and this reality. They want to secure our silence and even our complicity, and we will not allow them to do so.
We reiterate our words upon German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ announcement of the demand to ban Samidoun: In Arabic, the word “Samidoun,” means those who are steadfast. We use this name to refer to the Palestinian prisoners, who remain behind bars, struggling for freedom. Today we affirm that we shall remain steadfast and committed to the Palestinian people, until victory, return and liberation.