The first general conference of the European Realistic Disobedience Front (MeRA25) in Athens has called for Greece and the EU to recognise the State of Palestine and impose sanctions on Israel. The left-wing party's general secretary, Yanis Varoufakis, sent a message of solidarity to the Palestinian people through the Ambassador of the State of Palestine, Marwan Tubasi, who attended the opening session.
"Proposals will be submitted to the conference to be discussed and voted on which will call on Greece and the European Union for the immediate recognition of the State of Palestine and the imposition of sanctions, a comprehensive arms embargo, and a selective trade embargo on the state of Israel," explained Varoufakis. "Moreover, all military defence agreements with Israel should be cancelled until the restoration of the recognised rights of the Palestinians living in Israel and an end to the occupation which, of course, requires the abolition of the apartheid state and the complete lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip." He added that the presence of the Palestinian ambassador in the conference "embodies the essence of our party's support for the struggle of the Palestinian people."
Varoufakis is the former finance minister of Greece and is a serving parliamentarian. He condemned the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the occupation. "We Greeks know very well what occupation and ethnic cleansing mean. For how long will we tolerate the rulers who embrace Netanyahu's policies, laugh so hard at the victims of colonial occupation, and turn a blind eye to the apartheid state established by Israel?"
In response, Ambassador Marwan Tubasi saluted the leadership of the party and its members on behalf of the Palestinian people and the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. "A common history and the values of democracy, justice, and freedom unite the Palestinian and Greek peoples, and we always need to improve bilateral relations in every aspect."
Recounting Zionist crimes against the people of Palestine since the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe), Tubasi pointed out that the occupation state is built upon colonialism, apartheid, and fascism which negate opportunities for peace. With its colonial expansion, annexation, killings, and settlements, he said, Israel is blocking the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinian official described Israel as a rogue state which violates international law and commits war crimes. "Israel should be held accountable, and boycotted until it is."
He called on MeRA25 to cooperate with all political parties in Greece to put pressure on the government and the EU to implement parliament's unanimous decision to recognise the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders, with the capital in East Jerusalem. "Without such recognition, the matter is political hypocrisy. We must end the occupation and bestow full rights upon our people."
At the end of his intervention, Tubasi presented the Medal of Freedom and a traditional Palestinian keffiyeh to Varoufakis.
Progressive thinker Noam Chomsky, musician Roger Waters, and British Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn were among those who sent messages of support to the conference.