Police Raid Berlin Conference as Repression of Palestine Activism Escalates in Germany – Abir Kopty 4/13/24

Source: Mondoweiss.net

Berlin police raided and cut off electricity to the Palestinian Congress conference before banning the three-day event. Organizers say Germany’s antidemocratic authoritarian response to Palestine activism is growing by the day.

In a shocking, yet expected step, Berlin police raided and shut down the “Palestinian Congress”, as it kicked off on Friday, April 12. The Congress was planned to be a three-day event featuring speakers from around the world, including Ghassan Abu-Sittah, Salman Abu Sitta, Noura Erakat, and Ali Abunimah among many others.

The conference, organized by Palestinian, Jewish, and international groups, aimed to discuss the genocide in Gaza, and Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, and serve as a tribunal for Israel and one of its biggest supporters and arms providers: Germany.

“The fact that we managed to be here and hold this conference is by itself an act of resistance,” said Palestinian journalist Hebh Jamal in her opening remarks at the conference.

Jamal did not know that her speech would be the only speech that would be given of the planned three-day schedule.

Government intimidation

Jamal was referring to the charged public atmosphere that preceded the Congress. For weeks, since the event was announced, the German authorities, the police, and the media have been working to prevent this one event from happening.

German media called it, among other things, a “Congress of Israel haters,” a conference of “terror apologists” and ran a smear campaign against the speakers. Politicians called to ban entry to speakers at the conference and the Berlin Senat came very close to banning it.

Regardless, the government took many steps in the weeks ahead of the Congress to pressure and intimidate organizers. Houses of activists involved in the conference were raided and a fundraiser event for the Congress was banned. In addition according to the organizers, two venues canceled hosting the event due to police pressure and threats, and Berlin authorities also froze the bank account of the Jüdische Stimme / Jewish Voice, one of the organizers of the Congress, and where all contributions for the event were collected.

On the day of the conference, the police deployed 2,500 police in the vicinity of the venue and inside the hall.

The police allowed only 250 participants into the event, out of 800 participants who had reserved their tickets in advance. And if that was not enough, Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah was denied entry to Germany and deported back to the UK. He was scheduled to speak at the Congress in the evening about what he witnessed in Gaza. …

Read More…