Germany speeds down one-way street, unable to change course

The repression against last weekends Palestine Congress has shown Germany’s true face.


The Palestine congress that was to take place in Berlin on the weekend of April 12-14 was banned by the police. The “reason”: they may be showing antisemitic content, may call for violence against Jews, or may deny the Holocaust. The real reason: Israel and its defense are above all else, including freedoms in this country. Citizens and associations are now rejoicing at the fact that the congress, during which it was planned to discuss the situation in Gaza and Germany’s complicity in the genocide, has finally been banned. However, these same groups will also be silenced by the repressive state apparatus and its propagandistic press in the not too distant future when they step out of the line of thought set by the authorities, as the history of this very country has taught us.

The German state is overstepping too many democratic boundaries in repressing solidarity with Palestine and crossing over into authoritarianism. The right to assembly, demonstration, freedom of speech and press are being attacked and diminished in its frantic and erratic fight against antisemitism. In this desperate struggle to make amends for its genocidal past, Jewish activists and associations are being cancelled, arrested and criminalized, while far-right anti-Semitic politicians like Björn Höcke of Alternative for Germany are invited to TV debates, where he claims that antisemitism is imported and that borders must be closed. His discourse is resonating with a large part of German society, which has decided to make amends for the Holocaust by shedding Palestinian blood.

This repression and antisemitic mass hysteria has the German government and a good part of society in its grip – a part that ignores and/or whitewashes the horrors and atrocities that Israel has been committing in Palestine for 76 years. The hysteria culminated yesterday with the boycott of the Palestinian congress in Berlin on Friday, April 12th, the day it was supposed to begin. Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, rector at the University of Glasgow and a surgeon in Gaza who was invited as a speaker at the conference, was barred from entering Germany and after the police raided the conference hall. Three people were arrested, two of them Jewish. The disproportionality of the action borders on the comical, as the police entered the room, cut the electricity and banned the attendees from live streaming their actions, just a couple of hours after forcing the organizers to allow the Zionist press to enter in the name of freedom of speech.

On Saturday, after Friday’s events, far from backing down, the German government has banned all political activity in Germany in person and by zoom to the former Greek Minister of Economy and member of Mera25, Varoufakis. Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser declared about the congress that never happened, “Anyone who spreads Islamist propaganda and hatred against Jews must know that he will be prosecuted quickly and consistently.” In the same vein, the police today in Germany are thought police, criminalizing ideas that are uncomfortable to them before they are even expressed. Germany does not seem to realize how ridiculous it is making itself on a world level, becoming the parody of the authoritarian regime of the last century that the world has in mind when this country is mentioned.

The police presence in the capital during the weekend of the congress, with troops brought from the rest of the country makes clear the position of the authorities: any criticism of Israel, its policies or German complicity with the genocide will be criminalized and silenced at all costs. But the costs are not only the rights and freedoms in this country, it is the international image of Germany that is showing the world its true racist, white supremacist and genocidal face. Germany’s position as the cradle of humanism and defender of human rights is being tainted not only by its Nazi past, but also by its authoritarian and repressive present.