Statement on our participation in the ‘Gemeinsam gegen Rechts’ Demonstration on January 28th, 2024

Statement by Palästina Spricht Hamburg on racism at Demos against the AfD


On January 28th together with other Palestinian and Palestine-solidarity groups, we participated in the anti-AfD demonstration organised by Fridays for Future Hamburg. We are shocked but not surprised by the number of racist incidents that occurred, but we are even more shocked by the passivity of the demonstrators who stood by wordlessly. Everything imaginable arose, from cries of ‘You don’t belong here!’ to ‘This is our demonstration!’—which could not be more ironic at an anti-AfD demonstration—to attempts to rip away our flags and placards, to physical attacks, racist, anti-Muslim and undemocratic comments, defamation and trivialisation of the holocaust.

As such the demonstrations perfectly reflected German society; the fight against hate and intolerance, for respect and protection for all people and for human rights are spoken of, but as soon as racist incidents arise, the majority watch, still and silent. The joint fight against racism and fascism is exposed as an illusion. Only a small minority had the backbone to speak out against racism and actively defend and protect the affected. Regrettably, the organisers were not among them.

The speakers continually encouraged anti-Palestinian sentiment, repeatedly indicating that national flags were unwelcome to ‘assure that all feel comfortable’ with the clear intention of erasing our visibility. By ‘all’, they referred primarily to those against freedom for palestinians. To this point we would like to advise the organisers to confront the issue amongst themselves before the next event—and, should they come to the conclusion that they do want to exclude the visibility of Palestinian participants, to have the resolve to say so directly.

As Palästina_antikolonial has already said: Those who, like the Kein-Meter-Alliance in Münster or Fridays for Future in Hamburg, forbid the carrying of all kinds of national flags are making the conscious decision to erase the imperialist and colonial power structures made possible by racism against these peoples in Germany. As long as the flags of Palestine or Congo cannot fly over German streets, no person will take interest in the German imperialism that is in large part responsible for the at times fascist and genocidal oppression of these peoples and nations. The fight against racism and fascism must be fought internationally!

And if that was all too little, at the end of the demonstration we were racially harassed by a German man who cornered us and insisted that ‘anyone who stands with flags must take a stand against Hamas!’ and who, despite a demonstrator’s intervention, refused to leave us alone.

When, after several minutes, we turned to two stewards and asked for help, they refused on the grounds that we were at fault in the incident for having displayed a Palestinian flag and that we would have to put up with it, just as people like him had to ‘put up with’ a placard calling attention to the genocide in Gaza.

Employing such a statement just days after the ICJ determined that there was an urgent suspicion of genocide in Gaza, and when Jewish-Israeli genocide and holocaust scholar Raz Segal spoke of a ‘textbook genocide’ only a few weeks after October 7th, is absolutely laughable. We demand a thorough processing of all these occurrences from FFF Hamburg, their internalised anti-Palestinian racism, and an apology from both stewards. Anyone who organises an anti-racist demonstration and is either unable or refuses to protect participants from racist attacks, should be deeply ashamed and consider where they went wrong.

In one of the speeches it was said that it is the task of the privileged to ask themselves, where they were at the previous warning sign. We can only agree. Ask yourselves where you were at this demonstration and what you did. And ask yourselves where you have been in the past months as Palestinians were being disenfranchised and defamed.

This statement originally appeared in German on Palästina Spricht Hamburg’s Instagram account. Translation: Shav MacKay. Reproduced with permission.