German police shut down Palestine Congress in Berlin

By Andrew Johnson

An anti-imperialist Palestine Congress “against German complicity in the genocide in Gaza” was planned for Berlin from April 12-14. (junge Welt, April 15).  Before police shut it down, the congress discussed the recent charges in the International Court of Justice, including South Africa’s charges accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza and Nicaragua’s case against Germany for facilitating the genocide through arms sales to the Zionist occupation forces.

Protest banning of Palestine Congress. Berlin, April 13. Credit: junge Welt

Presently, Germany provides Israel with 30% of its weapons. (, April 14) Despite German claims that the arms are being used for training purposes, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz found that the “training ammunition” had been used in Gaza. (junge Welt)

The congress found the Federal Republic of Germany complicit in the ongoing genocide and demanded an immediate ceasefire and “cessation of all military, diplomatic and economic support for Israel by the German state.” (junge Welt)

In an escalation of crackdowns and repression against pro-Palestinian activists by the German state, Berlin police raided, cancelled and banned the conference on its first day.  Germany also barred multiple international speakers from entering the country or even participating in the conference online.

Among those barred from the event was Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a British-Palestinian surgeon who has been an eyewitness to the atrocities in Gaza. Abu Sitta was detained and interrogated at the Berlin Airport. He accused the German state of silencing witnesses to genocide and being an accomplice to Zionist crimes.

Two other German-Palestinian eyewitnesses that have been providing medical assistance in Gaza were able to report their accounts at the conference, however. One emphasized the particular despair of children in the Gaza Strip (half of the population are minors), calling it simply “indescribable.” (junge Welt)

Protests erupt against police shutdown

Within minutes, the Berlin police stormed the conference and forced the 250 attendees to disband. The police shut off the building’s electricity and demanded that the organizers stop livestreaming on their phones. Protests erupted in the surrounding streets, and riot police blocked and encircled the protest with vehicles. Many demonstrators were arrested.

The German state’s actions in suppressing this event and the subsequent protests have a precedent and represent an alarming trend in Germany and indeed in many imperialist states which use various instruments of state power to quash pro-Palestinian voices.

German authorities, as a pretext to justify their overreach, accuse activists like those connected with the Palestine Congress of being “antisemitic.” While German history dating from the Nazi Third Reich and prior antisemitism justifies the existence of laws against Nazi-type hate speech, the German state has distorted this justification and turned it into repression directed at anyone criticizing the repressive actions of the Israeli state, even when these actions reach the level of genocide.

In the current confrontation, the Berlin police claimed that their raid on the Palestine Congress was due to such concerns of antisemitism. (Middle East Monitor)

German media resolutely parroted the state’s narrative. The truth is, as Dr. Abu Sitta said, that Germany is complicit in the genocide in Gaza and will not hesitate to obfuscate the truth and dispel dissidents to protect its interests as a capitalist imperialist regime that unwaveringly supports the Israeli occupation.

For another report on the Palestine Congress, see

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