No to the silencing of Palestinian voices in Basel, Switzerland! 

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network rejects and denounces the racist campaign of intimidation and criminalization being waged in Switzerland against Samidoun, our Europe coordinator Mohammed Khatib and the Palestinian resistance and liberation movement as a whole. This racist campaign of intimidation is taking place while the Zionist regime in occupied Palestine is carrying out a genocide in the Gaza Strip that has already taken the lives of approximately 30,000 Palestinians and targeted all of the basic aspects of life, including schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, core infrastructure and residential buildings. To be clear, the campaign to prevent Mohammed Khatib and Samidoun from speaking in Basel on Friday, 2 December, is a campaign intended to support, justify, aid and abet the genocide currently being conducted by the Israeli regime in occupied Palestine. 

This campaign is being carried out in order to prevent the public in Basel, and especially the left and social movements, from hearing a clear, revolutionary left perspective on Palestinian liberation, the resistance in Palestine and throughout the region, and the role of Western imperialist powers in propping up the genocide. Mohammed Khatib, the Europe coordinator of Samidoun and a member of the Executive Committee of the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, will be speaking at an event on Palestinian revolutionary struggle on Friday, 2 December. Much of this defamatory campaign is directly inspired by the fascist German campaign against Samidoun, the Palestinian community in Germany and the Palestinian people as a whole. Since the Palestinian resistance operation Al-Aqsa Flood and the launch of the Israeli genocide, the German state has increased its arms exports to the occupation regime tenfold, providing weaponry, bombs and bullets to slaughter an occupied and colonized population. In this context, we also note that Switzerland, despite its professed role of international neutrality, has “paused” UNRWA funding, a sharp divergence from its position in 2002-2004, when it halted arms sales to the Israeli regime.  

This has come hand in hand with the extreme German campaign of repression against the Palestinian population in Germany. Demonstrations for Palestine and against the genocide are routinely banned and attacked physically by police throughout the country. Palestinian refugees are being stripped of their residency and status because of their words about Palestine. Palestinian activists, solidarity activists and organizations have been subjected to early-morning raids by hundreds of armed police, and over 54 homes, mosques and community centres were raided by police in an attack on the Hamburg Islamic Centre. In this context of a campaign of state terror against the Palestinian and Arab communities in Germany in order to suppress the demonstrations of tens of thousands of people taking the streets in every major German city in support of Palestine, the German interior minister banned Samidoun. This is not an attack on an organisation alone, but part and parcel of a broad racist campaign, supported by the state alongside an array of fascist and Zionist groups, intended to marginalize and suppress the Palestinian people as a whole and deny their right to self-defense. 

Let us be clear — while we are outraged by Germany’s action, which tramples upon the rights of freedom of expression and association and other basic human rights of the population and especially those of Palestinians in Germany — we are not surprised. As when the Zionist regime labeled us a “terrorist organisation” in 2021, it is a badge of honour when the regimes engaged in a wholesale assault on Palestinian existence, resistance, and indeed, lives, target our work. We are pursuing a legal case in Germany to protect our rights and the rights of Palestinians and all peoples involved in struggle to organize, demonstrate and express their positions. Further, we note that the targeting of Samidoun is intended to serve two primary goals: to suppress support for the Palestinian prisoners, at a time when the 7,000 Palestinians held behind occupation bars (and an undisclosed number from Gaza more held in secret military prison camps) are suffering from severe torture and isolation and while the Palestinian resistance is seeking to liberate them in an exchange; and to silence the narrative and revolutionary position on the Palestinian people and, in particular, their resistance, including and centrally, the armed resistance. 

The German state and the Zionist movement have long instrumentalised the fight against anti-Semitism as a repressive tool against all who stand with the Palestinian struggle, and to shift the blame from Germany and its fellow European fascist powers, now imperialist states that are part of the U.S./NATO alliance, for their Nazi crimes upon the Palestinians and Arabs in Germany. It is the Palestinian liberation movement, an anti-racist, anti-colonial movement, that rejects the equation between Zionism and Jewishness. And it is, therefore, the Palestinian liberation movement that is fighting against anti-Semitism, fascism and all forms of racism. Zionism is a racist ideology and movement in the service of imperialism and colonization in the region, and all left forces must clearly and firmly reject it. Of course, this smear campaign is taking place in Basel, where in 1897, the launch of the Zionist movement was officially proclaimed. Let this event in Basel be clear – the reign of this form of racism, colonialism and imperialism has come to an end. 

In addition to the media campaign attempting to smear Samidoun, Mohammed Khatib, and our comrades in Basel hosting the event, Lotta and the Palästina Komitee Basel, venues hosting the event have been subjected to extreme pressure, physical threats and visits by the Basel police in an attempt to force the event to be cancelled. This event will take place. We will not allow our movement to be silenced and criminalized. Despite all smear campaigns and attempts at intimidation, we will come together to plan, strategize and speak out in support of the Palestinian people and their liberation struggle. We invite you to join us, and we encourage you to contact our comrades in Basel for the location and details of the event:

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!