Left Surfboards

As Germany goes on trial at the International Court of Justice, join the protest outside the Bundestag


Surfboards, plates, wheelchairs, dates, coriander, wedding dresses, pianos. What do these things have in common? They are all benign objects, incapable of hurting anybody (even though some music scores can bring you to tears.) They are also all things Israel has banned from entering Gaza over the nearly two decades of inhumane blockade.

Israel apologists like to act as if October 7th is the only day in history that matters. What came before is irrelevant, and what came after is simply “justified self-defense”. But history did not start and end on October 7th, however tragic that day was for the many innocents killed and taken hostage. 

Since 2007, Israel has imposed a land, air and sea blockade on the tiny Gaza Strip. Israel controls what goes in and out. The rules are arbitrary and obscured – last summer, an acquaintance of mine managed to bring ten pieces of kak al-Quds, a Jerusalem specialty bread coated in sesame, into Gaza. But upon returning, was denied entry with a jar of Gazawi zaatar. CNN reported that in fall, one truck with direly needed humanitarian aid was turned away because the sleeping bags were green – a military color, and thus considered dual use.

This blockade has created unlivable conditions for the Palestinians of Gaza, cutting them off from medical access, family and friends in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the rest of the world, and from living their lives as normal people. This situation was called an “incremental genocide” by Israel historian Illan Pappé as far back as 2017. Yet Germany continued to supply weapons to Israel.

The “total siege” imposed on Gaza since October 9th has created the conditions estimated to kill thousands, if not tens of thousands through starvation and disease. And still Germany supplies weapons to Israel.

The International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to immediately end all killing of Palestinians and to allow unrestricted humanitarian aid. Israel has not complied. And still, Germany supplies weapons.

Over the last 20 years, Germany has consistently exported large amounts of weapons to Israel. It was always at least in second place, sometimes even outranking the US in terms of value of weapons exported to Israel. Since October 7th, Germany has supplied 47% of weapons exports to Israel, as a new report by Forensics shows. While Israel has a booming weapons industry, it could not achieve its current mass onslaught without the help of Germany. 

This economic and political support and shielding of Israel has sparked widespread and persistent protests, as well as a wave of legal cases. Several lawyers, Nadija Samour and Ahmed Abad among them, just announced they are suing Germany for its weapons exports to Israel, as it is plausible that these weapons are/were being used to commit war crimes. 

Also on an international scale, Germany is facing some sort of accountability: Nicaragua has sued Germany at the ICJ for aiding and abetting Israel’s genocide in Gaza. The trail will take place this week, on April 8th and 9th.

It is a misguided belief, unfortunately, that courts can bring justice alone. Law is always shaped by political will, and even the International Court of Justice has no enforcement methods of its own. We must continue to apply political pressure from the inside to bring Germany to accountability and to end the complicity in this genocide.

So we, activists and artists, invite you to join us in the protest on April 8th, the date Germany faces the International Court of Justice. The protest will take place outside the Bundestag, where politicians decide every day to continue supporting Israeli war crimes while silencing dissent.

As artists, we believe in the power of art to fight injustice. Thus, the rally will showcase an installation of all Israel has and has not allowed into Gaza. We invite all participants to bring any items banned by Israel – from crutches to dates, from children’s toys to blankets.

Life – Banned from Gaza protest Monday 8th April 10am – 6pm, Platz der Republik

Livestream – Germany before the ICJ Monday 8th April and Tuesday 9th April, 9.30am – 12.30pm, oyoun