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Jewish Grps In 10 Countries Join Germans & NZers To Protest The Suppression Of Palestinians’ Right To Public Expression

Jewish groups in Germany and New Zealand protested alongside Palestinians when mayors of Berlin and Wellington banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations. 

Justice for Palestine staged a guerilla projection in defiance of the Wellington ban. Photo supplied by J4P

May 15 marked the 74th anniversary of the Nakba (Israel’s expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their lands and homes). Public events took place throughout the world - almost. The capital cities of Germany and New Zealand suppressed the democratic rights of Palestinian citizens and their neighbours to peaceful public expression. The Berlin Senate banned all pro-Palestinian gatherings and the mayor of Wellington revoked the city’s approval to display the national colours of Palestine.

In Berlin, the Senate, headed by Mayor Franziska Giffey, used the example of a demonstration in April that had seen anti-Semitic behaviour by a small number of individuals to argue that there was a concrete danger of hate crimes, conjuring the spectre of mass rampages targeting Jewish citizens. This pretext was used to cancel long-approved demonstrations and prevent any others relating to the Nakba or Palestinian issues in general, such as the shooting of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, for whom a Jewish group tried to hold a vigil. The police enforced the ban so zealously that even a spontaneous gathering with Palestinian symbols was broken up violently and participants were arrested. 

In Wellington, Mayor Andy Foster forbade the (already approved) projection of Palestinian national colours on a public building after New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) warned that “displaying the Palestinian colours could result in complaints from the Israeli ambassador and other Israeli groups.” MFAT has not thus far named the ‘Israeli groups’ whose feelings take precedence over Wellingtonians’ legal right to peaceful expression. 

From our ten countries we, member groups of the International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine, angrily object to the suppression of Palestinians’ rights to individual expression, peaceful public protest and national memory. These 74 years of ongoing Nakba, and the exceptional brutality of the days preceding Nakba Day, both merit public protest. If no one protests, nothing will change.

Mayor Giffey and Mayor Foster, look at the pictures of Israeli police beating, kicking Palestinian mourners. Read the eye-witness testimonies that Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was targeted and killed by a bullet fired from the direction of Israeli occupation forces. Do not neglect the story of 16-year-old Thaer Khalil Mohammed Maslat, killed by the Israeli army on the same day. He was the tenth Palestinian child to be killed by Israeli occupation forces this year. 

Then please explain why you responded to Israel’s violence by limiting the civil rights of Palestinian citizens in your cities. 

Would you ban Jewish commemoration of our historic days? Would you prevent Jews from gathering to mourn the killing of a prominent Jewish person? We think not. 

That which you would not do to us, do not do to our Palestinian neighbours. Our rights as citizens are, and must remain, equal.

Signed by these member groups of the International Jewish Collective for Justice in Palestine:

Jewish Voice for Peace - USA

Jewish Voice for Labour – UK

Boycott from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS) – Israel

French Jewish Peace Union (UJFP) - France

Alternative Jewish Voices – Aotearoa New Zealand

Jewish Network for Palestine (JNP) – UK

South African Jews for a Free Palestine SAJFP – South Africa

Independent Jewish Voices - Canada

Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East – Germany

Jews Say No! – US

Jews against the Occupation – Australia

Jewish Voice for Just Peace – Ireland

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