Dear Germany, you will not repress Palestine solidarity

Dear Germany, your repression of Palestine solidarity will not be victorious
5 min read

Hebh Jamal

28 April, 2023
Germany continues in its attempts to censor & repress Palestinians & Palestine solidarity whilst extending endless support for Israel & its apartheid practices. But these tactics will not stop people mobilising & speaking out, argues Hebh Jamal.
German news agencies have fired Arab & Palestinian journalists, censored news interviews that does not align with Zionism & exhibited overwhelming bias in favour of Israel, writes Hebh Jamal.

Dear Germany,

As a Palestinian journalist living here, I have witnessed the reprehensible efforts that you have made in an attempt to silence and sideline Palestinian voices. I am here to tell you it will fail.

In 2019, when your Bundestag resolution classified the BDS movement as inherently antisemitic, organisations and Palestinians that support the boycott were barred from accessing public funds and public spaces. Despite its unbinding status, universities, state governments, and public institutions have successfully denied Palestinians the right to freedom of speech.

In some cases the word “Palestine” has been forbidden in your classrooms due to your efforts in spreading pro-Israel propaganda within the education system. You send your teachers to Israel to train them, and are seemingly unbothered by the internationally categorised Israeli apartheid system. You have created commissions that aim to “bring Germany and Israel closer together” and saw that changing textbooks is an “important tool to achieve this.” Your students are paying the price for the dangerous pro-Israel bias you impose on their education. Of course, Palestinian students get the shortest end of that stick.

You also ban our right to assembly. We are apprehended if we express our anger, frustration and sadness over the plight of our people, and even restrict what we can say in the seldom moments we are allowed to protest.

Even our identities you are unable to name. For the last three decades, the question of Palestinian statehood has regularly been addressed by German administrative courts in decisions on applications for asylum. On 2 November 2020, the Freiburg Administrative Court reconfirmed the finding that there was neither a Palestinian State nor a Palestinian nationality: “It must first be noted that there is no Palestinian nationality and that it is therefore irrelevant whether the plaintiffs are regarded and treated as nationals of a Palestinian State by the Palestinian Authority or by other States.”

Despite all of this, however, we are not victims. It is the very fact that you try so hard to erase our existence that proves that the Palestinian liberation movement is alive, well, and thriving in this country.

Take last year’s documenta, the biggest art exhibit in Europe, for example. Your news reporters, politicians and political pundits’ efforts to deligitmise and categorise pro-Palestinian artists as antisemitic to get them disinvited was a failure. Instead, it unified the artists involved against anti-Palestinian slander in a true act of powerful defiance. Over 700 thousand people attended the exhibit, exceeding the expectations of everyone involved.

And in the summer of 2021, the aggressive Israeli assault against Palestinians in Gaza drew thousands of pro-Palestinian protestors across the country demanding an end to Israeli violence. In Cologne there were around 800 protestors, while in your capital, Berlin, over 6,500 protestors took to the streets all chanting that Israel is an apartheid state.

While your news agencies  fire Arab and Palestinian journalists, censor news interviews that do not align with Zionism, and exhibit overwhelming bias, people in Germany are still actively talking about the occupation of Palestine.

Last year, at the Hijacking Memory Conference in Berlin, Palestinians such as Tarek Baconi delivered a riveting speech on how a colonised Palestine isn’t the answer both Germany’s and the rest of the world's guilt. He outlined the hypocrisy your country routinely exhibits:

“In Germany, Palestinians wearing a keffiyeh and commemorating the Nakba are taken in for questioning, losing their jobs, being vilified, and even being compared to Nazis — all while the actual neo-Nazi AfD party not so long ago became one of the largest opposition parties in the Bundestag.”

And this year, again in Berlin, the Marx is Muss conference which is a yearly leftist internationalist gathering, has an entire program on Palestine for the first time. Israeli historian and staunch Palestinian advocate, Ilan Pape is expected to speak at the event.

As you can see, this is a losing battle. You have based your entire memory culture, which is about atoning for the Holocaust, on unconditional support for Israel, even making Israel’s security your reason of state. The more you cling on to Israel’s propaganda and uncritically back apartheid and a brutal occupation, the sooner Germans will realise its facade.

Nonetheless we aren’t standing idly by, waiting for you to acknowledge us. We exist today, are present today and will continue to fight for Palestinian liberation today despite the rampant anti-Palestinianism that takes place daily. We are only awaiting the day that Palestine will be free - from the river, to the sea.


A Palestinian in Germany

Hebh Jamal is a Palestinian American journalist based in Germany. 

Follow her on Twitter: @hebh_jamal

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Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.