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ILPS stands in solidarity with Khaled Barakat!

Fight US-Zionist repression of Palestinians in Germany!
Statement by International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS) |
July 2, 2019
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Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS) in solidarity with Khaled Barakat, that was adopted at its 6th International Conference in Hong Kong, June 27.

Khaled Barakat, Palestinian writer and coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, was invited to be one of the keynote speakers for the 6th International Assembly in Hong Kong from 23 to 27 June. However, one day before the beginning of the conference, Barakat was suddenly slapped with a repressive political ban by German authorities, banning him from speaking in public either “directly or indirectly,” in person or over video. Therefore, Barakat was unable to deliver his keynote address, under threat of a year in prison in Germany.

The German government is acting as an accomplice to U.S. imperialism and Israeli Zionism. It is trying to crush the German people’s attempts to protest about the plight of the Palestinians. Not only is it a right to protest against this injustice, it is our duty.

Charlotte Kates, International Coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, spoke over video to the ILPS conference, discussing the repression that prevented them from hearing from Barakat and its context in the ongoing siege and attacks on Palestine by the imperialist powers.

Khaled Barakat was banned by the Berlin authorities from delivering a speech last 22 June on the so-called “deal of the century” spearheaded by Donald Trump and the Arab and Palestinian response. He was also banned from engaging in all political activities and events in Germany until 31 July.

Barakat was presented with an 8-page document and told that he was not allowed to give speeches in person or over video, participate in political meetings or events or even attend social gatherings of over 10 people; he 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 events as well as a 2014 interview with Rote Fahne News, the publication of the MLPD (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany.) 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.

Barakat and Kates were also told that their residency in Germany would not be renewed and would “come to an end,” although they were not presented with that decision.

This incident comes amid an ongoing campaign by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the so-called “anti-BDS ministry,” to attack Palestinian and solidarity organizations, especially leftists. Barakat has been singled out by this ministry on multiple occasions, as has Samidoun and its work. It also comes following a series of attacks on Palestinian rights and freedom of speech in Germany, including:

• the political ban and stripping of the Schengen visitor visa targeting Rasmea Odeh, former Palestinian political prisoner and community leader.

• the anti-BDS resolution passed by the German Bundestag (parliament) denouncing BDS as “anti-Semitic.”

• the criminal prosecution of activists for interrupting an Israeli official speaker involved in the war on Gaza at Humboldt University.

• the cancellation of performance invitations to American rapper Talib Kweli and Scottish rappers Young Fathers for their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

• the forced resignation of the director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin for tweeting a link to a statement against the Bundestag’s anti-BDS resolution written by Jewish scholars.

This repression comes hand in hand with political attacks on the Arab and Muslim communities in Germany spearheaded by the far-right rhetoric of the AfD and other parties, but with the active complicity of the official “left,” which continues to support the suppression of Palestinian community organizing and Palestine solidarity in defense of a colonial, apartheid, racist system. It also comes amid ongoing criminalization of popular movements in Europe, including trials of trade union leaders and refugee solidarity organizers in various countries.