Statement on the repression of the Berlin Palestine conference

16 April 2024

Workers Power Conference 2024

On Friday, German police shut down a conference in Berlin being held in solidarity with Palestinians facing Israeli genocide in Gaza. A force of 900 police invaded the venue, turning off speakers’ microphones and expelling people from the hall.

Germany’s Interior Ministry has prevented pro-Palestinian speakers, including Dr Ghassan Abu-Sitta from Britain and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, from entering the country. This censorship has been justified with the claim that they ‘might’ make antisemitic statements. In addition, a German state-owned bank has frozen the account of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, a progressive Jewish organisation collecting funds for the event.

This is an outrageous assault on freedom of speech – an integral component of the democratic values that the Western powers spuriously claim to defend. Israel’s western allies are committed to suppressing all criticism of its horrific massacres and ethnic cleansing as inciting hatred of Jews, whilst arresting and confiscating funds from anti-Zionist Jews in the process.

This egregious act has attracted international attention, and may backfire on the German political establishment by drawing greater attention to the complicitly of states like Germany, Britain and the USA in arming Israel as it continues its bloody war crimes. The reason for this complicity is not that there is a ‘Zionist conspiracy’ which dominates the great powers. Rather, it is because Israel is the attack dog of the Western powers’ in a vital economic and strategic region.

Workers Power express our solidarity with the organisers and participants at Palästina Kongress. We will do all we can to make this police repression widely known and condemned. We propose to  all the organisations, that mobilise the Gaza solidarity movement here, to  offer to reschedule the congress in London. Other national capitals across the globe should host further Palestine conferences with support from the international pro-Palestinian movement.

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