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Germany: Jewish Nakba rally stopped for ‘anti-Semitism’

A rally to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba in the German capital, Berlin, was stopped by police on the basis of 'anti-Semitism', despite the fact that it was organised by Jewish pro-Palestine activists. German courts upheld a ban on all Nakba commemoration events put in place by Berlin Police in May 2023

May 22, 2023 at 2:02 pm

Police in the German capital, Berlin, upheld a ban on demonstrations commemorating the Palestinian Nakba events, enforcing it by cracking down on a spontaneous protest organised by Jewish progressive figures.

Earlier this month, Berlin police ruled that a demonstration marking 75 years since the Nakba – the ‘catastrophe’ which saw violent Zionist militias occupy Palestinian territories and expel hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their native land and homes – was to be banned for the second year in a row.

The police ruling had initially been intended for the demonstrations planned for 13-15 May, the latter day of which saw protestors take to the street and march through Sonnenallee – a prominent street in Berlin’s Arab community – in defiance of the ban.

After police forcefully and brutally shut that spontaneous demonstration down, the ban was also upheld for this recent weekend, specifically Saturday, 20 May. The police cited the alleged danger of “anti-Semitic incitement of the people, glorification of violence, the conveyance of a willingness to use violence and thus to intimidation and violence”, with the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg giving its support to the ban.

READ: Forget its freedom rhetoric, Germany suppresses all who stand in solidarity with Palestine

Despite the Berlin police’s upholding and enforcement of the ban, they did not ban in advance another Nakba memorial organised by Jewish progressives on Saturday. Law enforcement officers’ tone changed, however, when speakers and large banners read slogans such as “Free Palestine”, “Ongoing Nakba, Ongoing Resistance” and “End Apartheid”.

The police then attacked the demonstration and its participants, ordering it to dissolve and arresting both Jewish and Palestinian organisers. Pictures and video footage captured during the incident and published on social media show the officers pushing, beating and grappling with the demonstrators, while detaining its leading figures.

German authorities have, in recent years, been increasingly cracking down on pro-Palestinian activism and expression, targeting it as harmful and maintaining that any criticism of Israel or the Nakba is “anti-Semitic”.

This most recent ban has seemingly been announced and implemented only by the police force in the city of Berlin, and forces in other provinces under the federal government have not publicly targeted such demonstrations.

READ: We will not commemorate the 75th Nakba with tears, but with the strength of resistance