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Palestine advocate barred from Germany over anti-Semitism claims

March 12, 2020 at 1:17 pm

Palestinian-Canadian journalist Khaled Barakat, 16 May 2018 [Twitter]

Palestinian-Canadian journalist Khaled Barakat has been barred from entering Germany for four years over concerns his Palestinian advocacy is anti-Semitic.

Barakat has been denied a renewal of his residency permit, though he has not been living in the country since August 2019.

In a 24-page statement, German police said Barakat “constitutes a security risk” because “his beliefs and continuous talking about liberating Palestine from the river to the sea… working on a strategy to liberate Palestine” and “insisting that ‘Israel’ has no right to exist” is anti-Semitic.

The German authorities have added that the decision was taken because Barakat’s rhetoric influences the beliefs of Arabs within the country and the rest of Europe.

The activist and his lawyer are expected to challenge the order in an appeal.

Barakat has previously faced prosecution over his support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS), which the German authorities have deemed is anti-Semitic.

The Palestinian advocate was also detained in June when he entered the country to participate in an Arab community event in Berlin on 22 June to discuss Palestinian liberation and its implications for other Arab communities.

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Barakat was intending to speak on US President Trump’s “deal of the century” and the plan’s implications for Arab and Palestinian populations.

Barakat told the Electronic Intifada in July that he and his wife were “approached by a group of police and one officer spoke to me. He said: ‘You have an event here tonight and you are the speaker… you cannot speak.”

Six weeks after his detention, Barakat received a notice of deportation from Germany and was barred from engaging in political activities and events in Germany until 31 July, whether directly or over video.

The activist was reportedly told that violations of these restrictions were punishable by up to a year in prison.

Under German law, non-citizens can be barred from political activity if their words are considered harmful to the “security and stability” of the country.

In recent years, German music festivals have banned or cancelled international artists who refuse to denounce the BDS campaign.

While, the director of the Jewish Museum Berlin was forced to resign in June 2019 after the organisation tweeted an article about a petition opposing the German parliament’s condemnation of the BDS movement, signed by 240 Israeli and Jewish scholars.

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