Criminalization of Palestine Solidarity in Germany Continues
German politics have been marred with calls for further repressions of the Palestine solidarity movement in the last month.
The tip of the iceberg has been the banning of the Palestinian prisoner network, Samidoun, as well as Hamas on the 2nd of November. German parliament had unanimously voted, from right to left, on the ban the previous month. Under the pretext of “fighting Antisemitism” the Social Democrat-led ministry of Interior banned both groups saying that it will act very swiftly now. In plain language this means withdrawal of residency permits, house searches and deportations. The ban was implemented shortly after the German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock declared that she is against a ceasefire in Gaza since Israel must defend itself against terrorism. According to Baerbock, over 10,000 murdered Palestinians within the last month are the “collateral damage” for Israel’s “right to defend itself”.
If Palestinian suffering is mentioned it is only a footnote, as the Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck exemplified in a ten minute long video that was published five days ago. In it, Habeck warns against growing Antisemitism which he says is prevalent among Islamists as well as “young Leftist activists”. He calls on Muslims in Germany to take a clear stance in solidarity with Israel, even propagating that Muslims in Germany learn from Saudi Arabia, which has increased relations to the Zionist state.
Instead of focusing on the rise of the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland), which has 83 seats in parliament and has over 20% in some parts of Germany and the dangers that linger with its fascist positions, Habeck argues that it is the international “Fridays for Future” movement which is using Anticolonialism as an excuse for Antisemitism.
Just yesterday the Minister President of the state of Bavaria declared that those who are convicted of “Antisemitism” should have their German nationality stripped from them. With “Antisemitism” Söder does not mean the Bavarian Minister of Economics Hubert Aiwanger, who infamously spread Antisemitic leaflets mocking the victims of the Holocaust in the 1980s. Just about a month ago, Söder stood behind Aiwanger and said that he would keep his position as Minister of Economics.
The narrative of “imported Antisemitism” is being utilized by the German government to ramp up its already highly restrictive Asylum system as well as deportations. The Government has now come out with a new plan to criminalize migration further. The ruling coalition government of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens (Grüne) and Liberals (FDP) have agreed that they want to increase border controls to neighboring nations like Poland and the Czech Republic to be able to be sent back immediately.
The new plan also includes measures to deport Asylum seekers quicker:
“Asylum procedures for nationals of countries for which the recognition rate is less than five percent should be completed more quickly than before. The aim is to complete their asylum and subsequent court proceedings within three months. In all other cases, the asylum procedures should generally be completed after six months.”
Simultaneously there will be a cut to the monthly payments Asylum seekers receive as well as the implementation of non-monetary payments:
“The federal and state governments want to introduce payment cards for refugees with which they can purchase everyday goods without cash. This would limit the ability of asylum seekers to transfer money back to their home countries, which is sometimes seen as an incentive to flee to Germany.”
Furthermore, the German government plans on implementing more “Migration deals” with other countries to be able to deport people faster, while at the same time wanting to force refugees to apply for Asylum in “third nations”. These new plans by the German government to further restrict migration can only be seen in the context of the month-long campaign by German media and German politics of painting Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims as a threat to German democracy that must be dealt with
With headlines like “the Barbarians are amongst us” depicting the “unwillingness to integrate” of Arab neighborhoods in Berlin, German media has been able to create the picture of a common enemy: the uncivilized, antisemitic Arab man, who must be deported.
While the German state and media are spreading racist propaganda against Palestinians and the pro-Palestine solidarity movement, vast swaths of the German Left have also sided with Israeli settler colonialism and with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The Left reformist party, DIE LINKE for example voted for the banning of Samidoun and Hamas together with the fascist AfD in parliament last month.
As Gaza is being bombed, DIE LINKE called for and participated in a pro-Zionist rally end of October in Berlin, calling on the full force of criminal law to “take care” of Antisemitism in Germany.
The German-specific phenomenon of “Antideutsche” (Zionist self-described Leftists) has also played its fair share ramping up hate speech against Palestinians and Palestine-Solidarity in Germany. Only last month, pro-ethnic cleansing Zionist Pseudo-Leftists attacked a migrant housing project, smashed its windows and threw in jars of pigs grease inside because of its pro-Palestinian position. Shortly after, a mass demo that took place in Berlin on November 4 was smeared ahead of time by the Zionist Pseudo-Leftist journalist Amina Aziz arguing that a demonstration in solidarity with Palestine should not be affiliated with the Palestinian resistance, since Hamas and PFLP are supposedly “Muslim Fascists”. According to this logic, only an abstract positionality that does not engage in any way with the actual resistance against settler-colonialism on the ground in Palestine, is one that could perhaps be condoned. Yet even vigils where candles have been placed on the ground for those killed in Gaza have been vilified and attacked by the police.
Although pro-Palestine demonstrations have been allowed again in Germany in the last couple days, after weeks of bans, these are also smeared as “Islamofascist”, “Antisemitic” and “Pro-Violence” by the media and the political establishment. The same goes for the demonstration in Berlin on the 4th of November which the Jüdische Stimme für Gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for Peace) co-organized and which mobilised thousands of participants.
In this context, Wieland Hoban, member of the Revolutionäre Linke (Revolutionary Left) and the head of the Jüdische Stimme für Gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for Peace) recently said in a speech: “We and especially our Palestinian companions are repeatedly attacked and defamed, but together we are strong and can help not only ourselves, but also others. Let’s hold on to this no matter how dark it gets. It’s one of those hours when the masks come off and we see who stands for humanity and who doesn’t. “Never again” is now.”