Berlin must cease its campaign of harassment against Palestinians and their supporters

Speech by a Jewish Bund member at the trial of people arrested for assembling on Nakba Day 2022


Editor’s introduction: On Wednesday, 23rd March, former MP Christine Buchholz was in court to challenge the €300 fine imposed on her and others for being in Hermannplatz on Nakba Day, 2022. The verdict was postponed, as the policeman who had arrested Christine said that he was unable to attend. This means that of the cases which have taken place so far, 2 people have been told that they no longer have to pay the fine, and all other cases have been postponed to a later date,

Outside the hearing, Nakba75 organised a protest which was addressed by a number of speakers. Among these speakers was a member of the Jewish Bund who was the first person to win his appeal. This is an English translation of his speech.

“I want to thank everyone for showing up for Palestinian solidarity and against German state hypocrisy. Now a few weeks after my trial, the prejudice of the German legal system is already clearly seen in its choice of who is allowed to demonstrate and who isn’t. This is evidenced again in the results of recent court cases. Although most detainees were arrested together, charged with the same “crime” and face the same evidence (that is, absolutely none), two of those detained, first, myself, a Jewish Berliner, and second, a white German, have been quickly found non-guilty.

Meanwhile, the judges have applied much greater scrutiny to the cases of Palestinian and other Arab defendees. Despite the lack of evidence, rather than dropping the charges, the courts have drawn out the cases. In a recent case, a police officer called as a witness admitted to having received the order to “detain people with unusual clothing”. What does “usual” clothing look like?

When even the police witness could not identify defendants as having demonstrated, the German courts were not satisfied. In my case, I was let free within a few minutes without any police testimony. It should follow that if two of us arrested in the same kettle were found not guilty, everyone else similarly charged should also be found innocent.

I want to also point at that at no time did the police or anyone else find any evidence of antisemitism among those charged with demonstrating.

Once again, the Jewish Bund demands that the Berlin state attorney drop all charges. The city must cease its campaign of harassment against Palestinians and their supporters, including Nakba Day bans, and focus instead on the long-ignored problem of state complicity in and inaction against real racist and antisemitic groups.

Finally, I do want to thank the police and Berlin courts, as its openly racist policing and legal processes has brought together new comrades.”