In its ongoing assault on Palestinian rights, on June 22, 2019, the German state recently prohibited Palestinian journalist and writer Khaled Barakat from speaking at events in the country, in addition to banning him from engaging in any political activity, either directly (in person) or indirectly (via video). Barakat was scheduled to deliver a speech on President Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” when he was informed by German police that the event was “prohibited.” He and Samidoun international coordinator Charlotte Kates were then taken in a police van to a police station where Barakat was also informed that he is no longer allowed to even attend political events until July 31, and that violations would result in a year in prison.
This is a direct attack on freedom of speech and association, and a dangerous escalation in Germany’s anti-Palestinian repression. It comes amid a heavy-handed clampdown on Palestinian rights and freedom of speech in Germany, which includes the May 17, 2019 anti-BDS resolution passed by the German parliament denouncing BDS as “anti-Semitic,” the political ban of Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh, and the stripping of her visitor visa, the cancellation of invitations to American rapper Talib Kweli and Scottish rappers Young Fathers, and the forced resignation of the director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin for tweeting a link to a statement by Jewish scholars against the German parliament’s anti-BDS resolution.
The attempt to silence Barakat comes amid an ongoing campaign by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to attack Palestinian and solidarity organizations globally. It is illustrative of the lurch into authoritarianism amongst world leaders from Brazil to the US to Germany and India, even as the people become more outraged at Israel’s crimes and the impunity it enjoys, which BDS seeks to end.
USACBI strongly denounces Germany’s anti-Palestinian repression, and its defining of BDS as anti-semitic, and stands in full support of Barakat and all who speak truth to power about Israel’s violations of international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people, in the homeland and the global diaspora.
Khaled Barakat should not be silenced. We will not be silent.