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Continuing criminalization against Palestine Solidarity in Germany

On October 7th Hamas launched a surprise operation against Israel. Since then Israel unleashed a genocidal attack on Gaza. Over 4,000 Palestinians have been killed after Israel started bombing Gaza almost two weeks ago. After Israel bombed the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital on the 17th of October killing hundreds of people, Israeli officials came forth claiming that Hamas bombed the hospital themselves. 

German defence minister, Boris Pistorius, who was visiting Israel to show solidarity with the settler state, said in an interview “what benefit should the Israelis get from attacking a civilian hospital?” This is “completely beyond imagination” adding, “Israel is not a terrorist state. Hamas is a terrorist organization. And therefore one must assume that in case of doubt it was actually a misguided rocket that led to these tragic victims.”

Yet anyone slightly familiar with historical events, will know that the Israeli state, since its very founding in 1948, has been built on ethnic cleansing, massacres like the one in Deir Yasin and land theft. Israel has bombed hospitals, civilian homes and schools in the past, this is not the first time.

The strategy Israel has stated using, is to clear the Gaza Strip of “terrorists.” Since Palestinians by their very existence are deemed terrorists, the Israeli state now sees the possibility to completely ethnically cleanse Gaza of all Palestinians and to finally finish its settler colonial project once and for all.

Even army reservists like Ezra Yachin have been mobilized to “motivate” Israeli troops. Yachin was involved in the aforementioned Deir Yassin massacre, where Zionist militiamen went house to house murdering more than 100 Palestinians and who has recently called on erasing Palestinians, who, he said, as animals don’t deserve to live.

While Israel plans its ground offensive, last week the German chancellor Olaf Scholz on a state visit to Egypt and Israel. In Egypt, Olaf Scholz praised military dictator Abdel Fattah el Sisi for always playing an important role as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians and that for this Scholz owes a lot of respect to Sisi. The fact that Sisi is ruling Egypt as a dictator for over ten years, the imprisonment of thousands of political dissidents, or the complete silencing of the political opposition were not mentioned by Scholz. The German state is focused on securing its imperialist interests in the Middle East and hence refuses to jeopardize its relationship to Egypt by giving lip service to human rights or the freedom of political prisoners.

Sisi himself has feigned support for the Palestinians, even allowing some demonstrations to take place so as to allow Egyptians to show solidarity with Palestine and not gear their anger against the Egyptian state. At the same time he suggested that Palestinians be displaced to the Negev desert instead of Sinai as a “solution”.

At the same time in Germany, the media and the political establishment have been in a frenzy in the last two weeks. Every news agency and every large political party, from the right to the left, has stated that Israel must defend itself against Palestinian terror. The calls to deport “anti-semitic” immigrants and refugees and to revoke the citizenship of those who support terrorism, in this case a code word anti-colonial resistance, have gotten louder. 

The head of the Christian Democrats (CDU), Friedrich Merz, recently said “if there are refugees coming from Gaza, then they should go to neighboring states. Germany cannot take any more refugees, we have enough anti-semitic young men here.”. With that he did not mean the fascists from the Alternative for Germany party (Alternative für Deutschland) or even the far-right in his own party, but Muslim and Arab migrants who – in a racist and in a historical revisionist manner – are being accused of “importing Antisemitism”. 

On Sunday the 22nd of October the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens (Grünen), FDP (Liberals) and the reformist Left party (DIE LINKE) gathered in Berlin in front of the Brandenburger Tor with some 3,000 people in a rally in support of Israel. Similar to the situation in 1914 when all German parties rallied behind the German war effort, completely blurring the political differences between right and left, the German political establishment, from right to left, has agreed that Israel’s “security” is the German reason of state. In other words, standing with genocide, with settler-colonialism and apartheid is the reason of state of Germany, while those fighting against colonialism, against apartheid and against genocide are criminalized and deemed “terrorists” who must be imprisoned or deported.

Despite the betrayal of the reformist Left party (DIE LINKE) in supporting this racist “reason of state” and despite the moving to the right of the whole political establishment, people in solidarity with Palestine have not been deterred from going to the streets in Germany.

On the 21st of October there was a demonstration in Berlin with 5,000 people calling for a free Palestine. In Düsseldorf 7,000 people came to the streets on the same day in solidarity with Palestine. Although the vast majority of demonstrations have been banned, protestors have been violently beaten by the police, and even walking with a kuffiya or a Palestinian flag on the street individually can get you arrested, those demonstrations that have not been banned have seen a large show up. Despite the heavy state repressions, people in solidarity with Palestine are not letting themselves be silenced and are continuing to take to the streets all over Germany.