We stand with Samidoun’s Charlotte Kates! Let’s raise our voices for Palestine, Palestinian resistance and liberation! 

The above graphic was designed by an artist in Gaza for Samidoun.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands with our International Coordinator Charlotte Kates who was arrested and charged by the Vancouver Police Department this week for a speech she gave on April 26 expressing support for the Palestinian resistance and calling for the Palestinian and Arab resistance – specifically Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hezbollah – to be removed from so-called ‘terrorist lists’ in Canada and elsewhere.

VPD officers nabbed Kates while she was on the bus riding home after attending the establishment of the Palestine solidarity encampment at the University of British Columbia, and charged her with “public incitement of hatred” and “willful promotion of hatred”.  After two hours of questioning she was released with the condition “not to attend any protests, demonstrations and assemblies”.

The attack on Kates is an attack on Samidoun and our work in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian struggle for liberation. The attack on Kates is an attack on the Palestinian people, part of a longstanding effort by Israel and its imperialist allies to criminalize and de-legitimize Palestinian people, their political organizations and their allies. The attack on Kates is an attack on working class and oppressed people in Canada, signalling that our ‘liberal democratic rights’ will only be tolerated so long as they don’t present any meaningful challenge to the establishment. The attack on Kates is an attack on the people of the world who everywhere are rising up and demanding an end to the Israeli genocide and an end to imperialism and colonialism and are being met with criminalization, repression, expulsion and slander!

As Kates pointed out in her speech, the historic mobilization that we are seeing across the world, is not only a response to witnessing the criminal Israeli genocide.  It is equally a response to the inspiring example of Palestinian resistance and steadfastness which, in the face of a century of colonization, 76 years of brutal ethnic cleansing and occupation, and more than 200 days of a genocidal bombing campaign, continues to stand up and struggle for the rights of Palestinians to exist, to resist, to return, and to liberation!

Photo: Michael Y.C. Tseng

The threat that the Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian liberation struggle pose to U.S.-led imperialism, including Canada, is long recognized by the ruling classes of the imperialist countries which is why all factions of the Palestinian resistance are included on the Canadian, European and U.S. so-called terrorist lists. The effort to criminalize Palestinian struggle and to de-link the struggle in Palestine, including the armed struggle, from its international support, has been a feature of the imperialist powers’ political strategy at least since the 1980s.

It’s also why the political establishments and their mainstream media instruments in countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands are so desperate to paint Operation Al Aqsa Flood as some kind of ‘barbaric’ assault, beyond the pale of legitimate resistance, and why they continue to produce, disseminate and propagate outrageous lies and atrocity propaganda about October 7. What they can’t admit is that the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, even in the face of the criminal siege, the campaign of assassinations, and the periodic bombings and massacres, were able to mount a brilliant and heroic counter-attack, to defeat the occupiers, break the siege and take prisoners for exchange for the thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli jails.  Through its heroic operation on October 7 and its ability to continue to fight the genocidal invading Israeli army in the following months up to this very moment, the Palestinian resistance has exposed the weakness and illegitimacy of Israel, and by extension its imperialist backers in the United States, Canada, the European Union and elsewhere.

The Palestinian resistance, together with its fellow resistance forces in the region, stretching from Lebanon to Yemen, where the government, armed forces, people and AnsarAllah movement are shutting down the supply lines of genocide, Iraq, Syria, Iran and beyond, are proving that a Palestine free of Zionism and an Arab nation and an entire region free of imperialism are not only possible, but inevitable.

While zionists, their imperialist backers and the corporate media have tried to smear the whole movement in solidarity with Palestine with the brush of antisemitism, constantly and purposefully conflating anti-zionism and support for the Palestinian struggle with antisemitism, it has mobilized more severe and punitive repression for those who speak out in support of the Palestinian resistance and specifically the right to armed struggle against occupation and colonization.  For example, Natalie Knight, who on October 28, 2023, gave a speech expressing support for the Palestinian resistance and upholding Operation Al Aqsa Flood as a brilliant and amazing act of resistance, was suspended, then fired from her teaching position at Langara University in Vancouver, British Columbia.  U.S. academic and author Jodi Dean was ‘relieved of classroom duties’ specifically in response to a blog post upholding the Palestinian right to resist, including by armed struggle.  Thousands of students have been arrested in the United States in militarized raids by police across the country, including in New York, Florida, North Carolina, California, New Hampshire and Chicago. In France, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra has been resisting attempts to ‘dissolve’ it by the French Ministry of the Interior.

Samidoun, as an organization that has clearly upheld the right of the Palestinian people to resistance and armed struggle, has been targeted for repression by multiple imperialist governments.  In Germany, Samidoun has been banned as part of the imperialist German state’s crackdown on all visible solidarity with Palestine.  On April 15, Nicole De Moor, Belgium’s Secretary for Asylum and Migration, called on Belgian immigration agencies to withdraw the refugee status of Samidoun’s Europe Coordinator Mohammed Khatib, a Palestinian refugee born in Ain el-Helweh refugee camp in Lebanon.  And in Canada, zionists and right-wing media have for more than a year been hysterically calling for repression against Kates and against Palestinian writer and Masar Badil Executive Committee member Khaled Barakat, a call that has now been implemented by the Vancouver Police Department.

It is incumbent on us, as a movement of support for Palestinian liberation, to resist this divide and rule strategy of the zionists and imperialists that seeks to limit our demands and discussion to ‘peace’, ‘ceasefire’ and ‘humanitarian aid’ and to intimidate us from talking about the right to armed resistance, the right of return, and the substance of liberation for the Palestinian people. Resisting this imposed division goes hand in hand with the broad struggle against the whole array of repression being meted out to those who speak out against genocide, especially at this moment of mass arrests and repression faced by student encampments across the U.S. and in Canada and Europe.

Armed struggle is an indivisible and indispensable component of the Palestinian revolution.  Dividing Palestinians from this aspect of the national liberation struggle, and steering the solidarity movement away from understanding and supporting armed struggle is a key strategic objective of zionism and imperialism. This is the moment in which we all must fight back – by raising our voices in support of the Palestinian armed resistance — including the heroic and momentous operation Al-Aqsa Flood, launched on October 7 — and by calling for the removal of Palestinian and Arab resistance movements from the so-called terrorist lists. We stand together with Charlotte Kates and all those targeted for repression, and we stand together with the heroic Resistance.  From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

Long live October 7! Long live the Palestinian Resistance! Long live international solidarity!