We, the undersigned organizations, declare our rejection and outrage at the Berlin police’s ban on commemorations of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on the weekend, 15 – 17 April. This ban is an attack not only on the Palestinian and Arab community in Berlin and supporters of Palestine, it is a threat targeting all of our freedom of expression. Beyond this, it is an attempt to silence support for the 4800 Palestinian prisoners themselves, struggling from beyond colonial bars for their freedom.
This police ban is a reflection of anti-Palestinian racism and repression. Rather than opposing anti-Semitism, the rationale for the ban actually embraces the anti-Semitic equation that Zionism and Judaism are identical and that the Israeli occupation regime is the representative of Jews. Furthermore, it is clear that the government has no regard for the public safety of the Palestinian and Arab community in Berlin – the largest such community in Europe – and does not hesitate to instrumentalize racism and smear campaigns in order to impose a form of collective punishment on the community.
We view this ban as an attack first and foremost on the Palestinian prisoners and on the Palestinian community in Berlin as well as an attempt to silence the rising support for Palestine in Germany and around the world. Many people are increasingly aware of and appalled by the crimes of the Israeli occupation regime in Palestine and are raising their voices against it, and this is what the ban aims to stop.
Further, we view this as a repeat of the May 2022 ban on commemorations of al-Nakba, and warn against another such ban in 2023, the 75th commemoration of the Nakba. These bans are an expression of state-sponsored anti-Palestinian racism and a full identification with Israeli colonization of occupied Palestine. This is particularly important as the vast majority of the Palestinian community in Berlin are refugees denied their right to return home for the past 75 years.
We reject these bans on demonstrations for Palestinian prisoners’ day and declare that our voices will not be silenced. We must shout, louder than ever, for the release of all Palestinian prisoners locked in Israeli regime jails, and for the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. And we declare, clearly and firmly, that this form of state repression will not succeed in silencing our support for the Palestinian people, their resistance and their prisoners’ movement struggling to end colonialism and racism.
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free! Free all Palestinian prisoners! Down with state repression; long live international solidarity!