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State led censorship, suppression of Palestine solidarity across Europe, new report finds

January 5, 2024 at 1:37 pm

Protestors, carrying banners and Palestinian flags, stage a demonstration for Palestinian children killed in the Israeli attacks on Gaza in front of the British Prime Minister’s office, Number 10, in London, England on December 13, 2023 [Raşid Necati Aslım – Anadolu Agency]

European governments are systematically censoring and repressing solidarity for Palestine, a new report by CAGE international has found. The report, titled “European Policy Briefing: Special Edition on Palestine”, analyses state policies from Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK in relation to Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza.

From Vienna to London, European governments have adopted a unified stance in response to the genocidal bombardment of Gaza by Israel. This involves the condemnation of the Palestinian people’s right to resistance and self-determination and the unequivocal support for Israel. As a result there is active repression of support and solidarity movements for Palestine.

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European governments are associating pro-Palestine activism with support for terrorism. This is reflected in the decisions undertaken by the French and German government to ban pro-Palestine demonstrations. Although this ban continues to be enforced in Germany, it was overturned in France by the Supreme Court following a major backlash.

Similar policies have been pursued in Austria, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands where pro-Palestine activism is censored. Right-wing parties are using the issue to attack immigration, threatening the already vulnerable lives of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Despite these concerning trends, political, diplomatic and military backing for Israel persists among these European states, further fuelling the mass murder of innocent Palestinian lives.

Muhammad Rabbani, managing director of CAGE International, said: “Across Europe, a discernible pattern of systematic repression is emerging. Governments have been actively seeking to curb public solidarity with Palestine. This effort has manifested in numerous arrests, prosecutions, and even the outright banning of legitimate civil society organisations. Overall, it appears these policies of intimidation have failed to achieve their intended goal. Public outcry against Israeli actions and sympathy for the Palestinian cause are now at unprecedented levels.”