Banned pro-Palestine group to hold ‘congress’ in Berlin

Samidoun was outlawed by Germany along with Hamas for disseminating ‘anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda’


Screenshot shows the still active Facebook page of Samidoun Deutschland (Photo: Getty)

An outlawed German pro-Palestine group is planning to hold a three day "Palestine Congress" in Berlin next month.

The organisers are the banned group Samidoun, which was declared illegal last November by the German government at the same time as Hamas.

Announcing the ban, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said: “Samidoun is an international network which disseminates anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda while claiming to promote solidarity with prisoners in different countries. Samidoun also supported and glorified various foreign terrorist organisations, including Hamas.

“With its spontaneous ‘celebrations’ here in Germany following the horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel, Samidoun revealed its antisemitism and absolute lack of regard for human life in an especially abhorrent way.”

The Berlin event has sparked concerns over its legality and potential radicalisation effects. Samidoun, whose full name is the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, says its principal focus is campaigning for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Its congress is demanding an “end to the Zionist settler colonialism that has lasted for over 76 years”.

And instead of the banned call for the annihilation of the Israeli state — “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — the congress is demanding an end to the “apartheid policy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean”. It also seeks the “immediate opening of all border crossings from Rafah to Allenby”. It refers to these as “apartheid walls.”

Francesca Albanese, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territories, was originally billed as speaking at the event, but her spokesman told the JC this week that she would not now be attending.

One of the speakers in Berlin will be Nadija Samour, a German-Palestinian lawyer who is suing the German government for “aiding and abetting genocide” in Gaza. Samour has represented former Samidoun representatives in the past and spoken at its events.

Other speakers include the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and Irish MP Richard Boyd Barrett, who last week posted on X/Twitter: “The US is up to its neck in Palestinian blood and we should not be sharing our national holiday [St Patrick’s Day] with those who are complicit in genocide.”

Legal experts are urging the authorities to assess the event’s compliance with laws against hate speech and incitement.

Dr Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the JC: “This event is an exhibition of anti-Zionism and will certainly not find any answers to the suffering of the civilian population in Gaza.

“On the contrary: anyone who ignores Hamas’s terror and thus also the organisation’s murderous strategy against its own population is discrediting themselves. It must be examined whether the expected hatred and agitation against Israel can be prevented in advance.

“In any case, the event will be closely monitored by the security authorities. That’s a good thing.”

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