Yanis Varoufakis: My Berlin Speech on Palestine That German Police Entered the Venue to Ban

Yves here. Fascism has arrived in Europe. The crackdown on speech, here in Germany in support of Palestinian rights, is deliberately thuggish and looks set only to get worse.

By Yanis Varoufakis. Originally published at his website

The speech that I could not deliver because German police burst into our Berlin venue to disband our Palestine Congress (1930s style) before I could address the meeting. Judge for yourselves the kind of society Germany is becoming when its police bans the following words:


Congratulations, and heartfelt thanks, for being here, despite the threats, despite the ironclad police outside this venue, despite the panoply of the German press, despite the German state, despite the German political system that demonises you for being here.

“Why a Palestinian Congress, Mr Varoufakis?”, a German journalist asked me recently? Because, as Hanan Ashrawi once said: “We cannot rely on the silenced to tell us about their suffering.”

Today, Ashrawi’s reason has grown depressingly stronger: Because we cannot rely on the silenced who are also massacred and starved to tell us about the massacres and the starvation.

But there is another reason too: Because a proud, a decent people, the people of Germany, are led down a perilous road to a heartless society by being made to associate themselves with another genocide carried out in their name, with their complicity.

I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian. But I am incredibly proud to be here amongst Jews and Palestinians – to blend my voice for Peace and Universal Human Rights with Jewish Voices for Peace and Universal Human Rights – with Palestinian Voices for Peace and Universal Human Rights. Being together, here, today, is proof that Coexistence is Not Only Possible – but that it is here! Already.

“Why not a Jewish Congress, Mr Varoufakis?”, the same German journalist asked me, imagining that he was being smart. I welcomed his question.

For if a single Jew is threatened, anywhere, just because she or he is Jewish, I shall wear the star of David on my lapel and offer my solidarity – whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

So, let’s be clear: If Jews were under attack, anywhere in the world, I would be the first to canvass for a Jewish Congress in which to register our solidarity.

Similarly, when Palestinians are massacred because they are Palestinians – under a dogma that to be dead and Palestinian they must have been… Hamas – I shall wear my keffiyeh and offer my solidarity whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

Universal Human Rights are either universal or they mean nothing.

With this in mind, I answered the German journalist’s question with a few of my own:

  • Are 2 million Israeli Jews, who were thrown out of their homes and into an open air prison 80 years ago, still being kept in that open air prison, without access to the outside world, with minimal food and water, no chance of a normal life, of travelling anywhere, while bombed periodically for these 80 years? No.
  • Are Israeli Jews being starved intentionally by an army of occupation, their children writhing on the floor, screaming from hunger? No.
  • Are there thousands of Jewish injured children no surviving parents crawling through the rubble of what used to be their homes? No.
  • Are Israeli Jews being bombed by the world’s most sophisticated planes and bombs today? No.
  • Are Israeli Jews experiencing complete ecocide of what little land they can still call their own, not one tree left under which to seek shade or whose fruit to taste? No.
  • Are Israeli Jewish children killed by snipers today at the orders of a member-state of the UN? No.
  • Are Israeli Jews driven out of their homes by armed gangs today? No.
  • Is Israel fighting for its existence today? No.

If the answer to any of these questions was yes, I would be participating in a Jewish Solidarity Congress today.


Today, we would have loved to have a decent, democratic, mutually-respectful debate on how to bring Peace and Universal Human Rights for everyone, Jews and Palestinians, Bedouins and Christians, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea with people who think differently to us.

Sadly, the whole of the German political system has decided not to allow this. In a joint statement including not just the CDU-CSU or the FDP but also the SPD, the Greens and, remarkably, two leaders of Die Linke, Germany’s political spectrum joined forces to ensure that such a civilised debate, in which we may disagree agreeably, never takes place in Germany.

I say to them: You want to silence us. To ban us. To demonise us. To accuse us. You, therefore, leave us with no choice but to meet your ridiculous accusations with our own rational accusations. You chose this. Not us.

  • You accuse us of anti-Semitic hatred
    • We accuse you of being the antisemite’s best friend by equating the right of Israel to commit war crimes with the right of Israeli Jews to defend themselves.
  • You accuse us of supporting terrorism
    • We accuse you of equating legitimate resistance to an Apartheid State with atrocities against civilians which I have always and will always condemn, whomever commits them – Palestinians, Jewish Settlers, my own family, whomever.
    • We accuse you of not recognising the duty of the people of Gaza to tear down the Wall of the open prison they have been encased in for 80 years – and of equating this act of tearing down the Wall of Shame – which is no more defensible than the Berlin Wall was – with acts of terror.
  • You accuse us of trivialising Hamas’ October 7th terror
    • We accuse you of trivialising the 80 years of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the erection of an ironclad Apartheid system across Israel-Palestine.
    • We accuse you of trivialising Netanyahu’s long-term support of Hamas as a means of destroying the 2-State Solution that you claim to favour.
    • We accuse you of trivialising the unprecedented terror unleashed by the Israeli army on the people of Gaza, W. Bank and E. Jerusalem.
  • You accuse the organisers of today’s Congress that we are, and I quote, “not interested in talking about possibilities for peaceful coexistence in the Middle East against the background of the war in Gaza”. Are you serious? Have you lost your mind?
    • We accuse you of supporting a German state that is, after the United States, the largest supplier of the weapons that the Netanyahu government uses to massacre Palestinians as part of a Grand Plan to make a 2-State Solution, and peaceful coexistence between Jews and Palestinians, impossible.
    • We accuse you of never answering the pertinent question that every German must answer: How much Palestinian blood must flow before your, justified, guilt over the Holocaust is washed away?

So, let’ s be clear: We are here, in Berlin, with our Palestinian Congress because, unlike the German political system and the German media, we condemn genocide and war crimes regardless of who is perpetrating them. Because we oppose Apartheid in the land of Israel-Palestine no matter who has the upper hand – just as we opposed Apartheid in the American South or in South Africa. Because we stand for universal human rights, freedom and equality among Jews, Palestinians, Bedouins and Christians in the Ancient Land of Palestine.

And so that we are even clearer on the questions, legitimate and malignant, that we must always be ready to answer:

Do I condemn Hamas’ atrocities?

I condemn every single atrocity, whomever is the perpetrator or the victim. What I do not condemn is armed resistance to an Apartheid system designed as part of a slow-burning, but inexorable, ethnic cleansing program. Put differently, I condemn every attack on civilians while, at the same time, I celebrate anyone who risks their life to TEAR DOWN THE WALL.

Is Israel not engaged in a war for its very existence?

No, it is not. Israel is a nuclear-armed state with perhaps the most technologically advanced army in the world and the panoply of the US military machine having its back. There is no symmetry with Hamas, a group which can cause serious damage to Israelis but which has no capacity whatsoever to defeat Israel’s military, or even to prevent Israel from continuing to implement the slow genocide of Palestinians under the system of Apartheid that has been erected with long-standing US and EU support.

Are Israelis not justified to fear that Hamas wants to exterminate them?

Of course they are! Jews have suffered a Holocaust that was preceded with pogroms and a deep-seated antisemitism permeating Europe and the Americas for centuries. It is only natural that Israelis live in fear of a new pogrom if the Israeli army folds. However, by imposing Apartheid on their neighbours, by treating them like sub-humans, the Israeli state is stoking the fires of antisemitism, is strengthening Palestinians and Israelis who just want to annihilate each other and, in the end, contributes to the awful insecurity consuming Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. Apartheid against the Palestinians is the Israelis’ worst self-defence.

What about antisemitism?

It is always a clear and present danger. And it must be eradicated, especially amongst the ranks of the Global Left and the Palestinians fighting for Palestinian civil liberties –around the world.

Why don’t Palestinians pursue their objectives by peaceful means?

They did. The PLO recognised Israel and renounced armed struggle. And what did they get for it? Absolute humiliation and systematic ethnic cleansing. That is what nurtured Hamas and elevated it the eyes of many Palestinians as the only alternative to a slow genocide under Israel’s Apartheid.

What should be done now? What might bring Peace to Israel-Palestine?

  • An immediate ceasefire.
  • The release of all hostages: Hamas’ and the thousands held by Israel.
  • A Peace Process, under the UN, supported by a commitment by the International Community to end Apartheid and to safeguard Equal Civil Liberties for All.
  • As for what must replace Apartheid, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to decide between the 2-state solution and the solution of a Single Federal Secular State.


We are here because vengeance is a lazy form of grief.

We are here to promote not vengeance but Peace and Coexistence across Israel-Palestine.

We are here to tell German democrats, including our former comrades of Die Linke, that they have covered themselves in shame long enough – that two wrongs do not one right make – that allowing Israel to get away with war crimes is not going to ameliorate the legacy of Germany’s crimes against the Jewish People.

Beyond today’s Congress, we have a duty, in Germany, to change the conversation. We have a duty to persuade the vast majority of decent Germans out there that universal human rights is what matters. That Never Again means Never Again. For anyone, Jew, Palestinian, Ukrainian, Russian, Yemeni, Sudanese, Rwandan – for everyone, everywhere.

In this context, I am pleased to announce that DiEM25’s German political party MERA25 will be on the ballot paper in the European Parliament election this coming June – seeking the vote of German humanists who crave a Member of European Parliament representing Germany and calling out the EU’s complicity in genocide – a complicity that is Europe’s greatest gift to the antisemites in Europe and beyond.

I salute you all and suggest we never forget that none of us are free if one of us is in chains.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    This post dovetails nicely with that tweet in Links today-

    ‘In an exclusive interview with Middle East Eye, Ghassan Abu Sittah, a British-Palestinian doctor who has become known for his work in Gaza, detailed how he was detained at an airport in Germany and subsequently denied entry. Abu Sittah wanted to attend a conference where he would present evidence on the war in Gaza and his witness statement as a doctor working in its hospitals.’

    Germany, in attempting to atone for one genocide, is enabling yet another. So I wonder who was behind this move. Scholz – or maybe Habeck.

    1. Susan the other

      It just gets curiouser and curiouser? But it’s not entirely fair to blame Germany when Germany has no sovereignty unless it agrees with the US and the UK. Besides YV doesn’t touch the most immediate issue. IMO it is not apartheid or genocide, they are secondary. It is oil. And it is now complicated by two separate economic blocks that cannot commingle their accounting. I have no idea how that accounting separation will be maintained but I assume it hinges on the West maintaining control of enough oil to carry on.

      1. Objective Ace

        I don’t believe the US is physically removing speakers out of lecture halls. Given that, it’s tough to blame the US for Germany’s actions when they are going above and beyond anything the US is doing

      2. Piotr Berman

        Oil can be secured without any help from Israel, by buying it. And this is precisely how it is done, except for inducing the seller to stash the proceeds in American banks, but that twist, less and less effective, does not require any help from Israel either, to the contrary, Israeli atrocities decrease friendly attitudes even among the absolute monarchs who crave protection.

        Oil is invoked as a benefit to make impression that USA “gains” from supporting Israel, but this is a pro-Zionist illusion.

        1. Uncle Doug

          “Oil can be secured without any help from Israel, by buying it.”

          Indeed. Oil as motive, in this context as in others, e.g., the invasion of Iraq, is largely a red herring.

      3. Susan the other

        In spite of the fact that oil is an available resource, or maybe because of how ubiquitous it currently is, it is also finite. If we went to all the bother to blast Nordstream 2 out of the Baltic, and Germany was totally compliant, that indicates that it is the control of oil which is the key to it all. Hand-in-glove with the control of oil is maintaining political unity with the EU and that unity is fragile and very dependent on oil/natgas, especially for its economic engine, Germany. Last I read, Germany is switching from heavy industry to pharmaceuticals. NATO itself seems to have lost its compass. So just imagining what is required to maintain the Western Block financially, the whole thing could go belly up. It has already gone past the “gradually” phase and could easily tip to “suddenly” and there is no point denying how important control of oil is going to be. And YV has long been the voice of rational and peaceful socialism. Which could accelerate change beyond our tenuous capacity. Rational and peaceful is not our style.

    2. CA

      “Germany, in attempting to atone for one genocide…”

      Germany, in attempting to atone for two genocides, even while covering over and abetting a third genocide…


      December 29, 2016

      Germany Grapples With Its Genocide Past in Africa

      Tens of thousands of Namibians were killed between 1904 and 1908 in events that foreshadowed Nazi ideology and the Holocaust. Germany is finally close to recognizing the killings as genocide.


      May 28, 2021

      A Forgotten Genocide: What Germany Did in Namibia, and What It’s Saying Now
      The German government agreed to recognize the killings of two ethnic groups in Namibia as genocide. What happened more than 100 years ago, why was it forgotten, and what is Germany doing to atone?
      By Norimitsu Onishi and Melissa Eddy

    3. pjay

      Western elites are completely compromised today – brainwashed, bribed, blackmailed, or some combination of the three. One of the most striking features of our decline has been the rapid disappearance of *any* voices of reason or resistance among the political class in the West. As Varoufakis states:

      “Sadly, the whole of the German political system has decided not to allow this. In a joint statement including not just the CDU-CSU or the FDP but also the SPD, the Greens and, remarkably, two leaders of Die Linke, Germany’s political spectrum joined forces to ensure that such a civilised debate, in which we may disagree agreeably, never takes place in Germany.”

      This is an eloquent statement of condemnation. Along with potential economic and political suicide, German leadership threatens moral suicide as well. Again, I think back to German, and general European, resistance to the US invasion of Iraq and wonder how this transformation was accomplished so quickly.

      1. Davey

        Media lives off advertisers. When media is corrupted like mentioned above, one way to get their attention is to make a list of their locally owned advertisers whom you can contact.

        Let them know that you will boycott them and encourage everyone you know to do so if they continue to buy ads in tainted media. They don’t care? They why are they buying ads to begin with?

        We already withdrew a large chunk of cash from a local bank whose president wrote letters supporting Israel’s attack on Palestine. Put the money in a nice non profit credit union.

        1. TimH

          Germany just allowed dual citizenship. Good to track how many Germans add NZ passports to their portfolios.

    4. Fireminer

      “Germany, in attempting to atone for one genocide, is enabling yet another.”

      Did they really atone? I know that Germany used to pay out some sum to Isreal. Can any German reader of NC please enlighten me on this topic?

      From my limited exposure to the Germans, it seems like they aren’t any more law-abiding than other nationalities. It’s just that they like to yell at people who doesn’t follow the law. And the bureaucratic way they handle antisemitism speech in Germany, it seems like jotting down a checklist so that when some point out something unsavory, they can just say: “Well, we did whatever we can.”

  2. Ben Panga

    Not news to most here but bears repeating:

    The adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism has had the (one might think intended) effect of blocking criticism of Israel almost everywhere. It looked that way when Germany adopted it, when the post-Corbyn Labour Party adopted it, and I’d assume in many other places.


    Full text of the IHRA Working Definition:


    It’s easy enough to see how this could be interpreted/twisted to label Varoufakis’s speech as “antisemitic”. Totally flies in the face of logic.

    I would be interested to know if the meeting was banned after Berlin authorities read the proposed speech, or if it was an even more dystopian prophylactic move.

    Very sad to see the German elites learn the wrong lesson from the Shoah. “Never again” should apply to everyone, not just one group.

    1. gk

      > Full text of the IHRA Working Definition:

      “Working definition”. You would think that after all these years they would have a real definition by now….

  3. aj

    Nicaragua is suing Germany in the ICJ for enabling war crimes. Here’s hoping that knocks some sense in to them. To be fair though, I can understand why Germany is very reluctant to be seen opposing Isreal.

  4. Ben Panga


    This was another of the proposed speakers at the same conference. Article includes the dates reason for shutting down the conference

    “A prominent British-Palestinian surgeon who volunteered in Gaza hospitals during the first weeks of the Israel-Hamas war said he was denied entry to Germany Friday to take part in a pro-Palestinian conference — an event that police later ended early.

    Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta said he arrived at Berlin airport on Friday morning before being stopped at passport control, where he was held for several hours and then told he had to return to the U.K.

    Airport police said he was refused entry due to “the safety of the people at the conference and public order,” Abu Sitta told The Associated Press by phone. There was no immediate comment from German federal police.

    Abu Sitta said his ban was to last until Sunday, covering the planned duration of the Berlin conference he was to attend, entitled the Palestine Congress. The gathering was to discuss a range of topics, including German arms shipments to Israel and solidarity with what organizers called the Palestinian struggle.

    Berlin police said later Friday they pulled the plug on the event, attended by up to 250 people, on its first day after a livestream was shown of a person who is banned from political activity in Germany. They wouldn’t identify the person, but said they decided after a legal assessment to end the congress and asked those attending to leave”

    Note, the doctor was refused entry to Germany before the police saw the banned person on the livestream.

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    As for what must replace Apartheid, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to decide between the 2-state solution and the solution of a Single Federal Secular State.

    Yes. Which is why both the Israeli monotheism-addled elites and the U.S. moolah-and-monotheism-addled elites are so determined that nothing will happen except more slaughter that they attempt to manage by press releases.

    Likewise, in the current world war:
    –Only negotiations can solve the dilemma of what Ukraine is to do. Promises from Ursula of entry into the EU and bloviating from Stoltenberg about NATO will not resolve the issue. And because the Ukrainians were bilked by the Anglosphere, Crimea is now off the table. That’s what happens when on takes bad advice. Time to face facts and negotiate.
    –Syria. Let’s not forget the mess that the Anglosphere made / is making there. Again, negotiations are necessary, as is an end to Israeli interference.

  6. JustTheFacts

    I find it interesting that the same exact tactics are being applied in European countries to anyone who disagrees with the mainstream narrative from voicing it, regardless of their position on the “political spectrum”, whether it is activists who resent their cultures being changed by unassimilated immigrants/migrants, or people arguing to stop the dehumanizing treatment & killing of Palestinian human beings by an occupying power.

    * banning people from countries for speech: Ghassan Abu Sitta (banned from Germany), Lauren Southern (from the UK), Martin Sellner (from Germany & Switzerland)

    * Police showing up at a presentation and turning off the electricity (Diem 25’s conference that Ghassan Abu Sitta and Varoufakis were going to/at), Martin Sellner’s presentation about his best selling German language book.

    * Police arresting people there (people at the Diem 25 conference, and Martin Sellner at his book presentation in Switzerland).

    It seems rather counterproductive, in that simply ignoring these events and people would bring less attention to them in this day of social media where the Barbara Streisand effect is so easy to trigger. One wonders why governments are doing this.

    1. Monosynapsis

      Although it hurts me deep to my bones to see that you put Yannis Varoufakis and Diem25 in the same categorie of victims as Sellner – who is an open and outspoken racist – I get your point and would have to agree.

      Mark Fishers Vampire Castle (a critique of cancel culture from 20 years ago from a radical leftist) becomes more prophetic every day: the tools used to repress fascists are turned towards any dissent whatsoever in a truly totalitarian manner.

      I also have to think of poor Hannah Arendt: here whole life she fought hard and well to get us to understand exactly these mechanisms in mass society; vergeblich.

  7. JonnyJames

    Very sad. Janis Varoufakis simply wanted to state the basic facts, but not in Germany. I don’t believe Germany has anything like the 1st amendment freedom of speech laws (not that it is much better in the US in practice).

    Historical irony in spades: After slaughtering millions of Russians and Jews and others during WWII, now Germany supports slaughtering Russians again and Palestinians and enabling far-right Zionist ideologues in Israel to do the genocide. German Panzers are on the Russian Front again, Operation NATO Barbarossa 2.0 will fail just like the original. Maybe they decided don’t need to read no stinkin history books, they can just believe their own lies.

    Max Blumenthal also had run-ins with German authorities over stating facts about Palestine. Roger Waters had troubles with German authorities last year as well. The truth causes offense.

    Germany is still an authoritarian vassal state that supports war and genocide, but this time they do it in the service of their imperial overlords in the USA. They know damn well that Israel does not speak for Jews around the world (outnumbering Jews in Israel). They know damn well that stopping genocide is not “anti-Semitic” – it’s just a lame, worn out, anti-intellectual, dishonest excuse.

    Recall that Ed Snowden, Wikileaks/Julian Assange pointed to primary evidence that the NSA tapped then-Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s phones for years. The German BND KNEW about it and did not tell her. Another example the lack of sovereignty of Germany

  8. Arkady Bogdanov

    This is good, except for the standard sop to “Hamas atrocities”. I am not saying that no atrocities have happened- I would assume they have on the level of individual Hamas members, here and there (it’s war, sadly), but I have seen absolutely no evidence whatsoever of organized atrocities committed by Hamas, or Al Qassam- or any of the other resistance groups. To the contrary, they appear to be going out of their way to only target Israeli military members actively engaging in attack – Israeli helicopters that are performing medevacs are not marked as such, and are therefore legal targets which could easily be shot down during LZ ingress/egress, but the Palestinian militants have refrained from this. You can bet your (family-blog) those helicopters are dual-use, meaning they are inserting troops for missions (I’d be hitting them if I were a Palestinian militant). Anyway, this goes to show that the resistance groups, with one exception, appear to be doing everything they can to adhere to the rules of war, as defined by treaties that I will note they are not signatories to. The only war crime they are guilty of is hostage-taking (which I believe to be an exceptional circumstance given Israel’s taking of hostages), and there are some anecdotes that it was not Hamas/Al-Qassam that initially took the hostages, although it seems they may have since gathered them under their protection after they were taken by other groups/individuals- not sure on this yet, but I assume we will eventually find out the whole truth on that.

    1. Uncle Doug

      “This is good, except for the standard sop to ‘Hamas atrocities’”.

      No such “sop” appears in Varoufakis’ speech. The only time those two words appear together is as part of one of the standard, accusatory, “questions” he answers. And the answer clearly constitutes nothing at all like a sop.

      1. Arkady Bogdanov

        I’m late to reply, but that is not what he does. He states that he supports armed resistance, but then we get this: “I condemn every attack on civilians”- That is most certainly a sop. He never makes a specific attribution regarding attacks on civilians, and with the fact that he does not point a finger, he is making space for the idea that Hamas did commit atrocities. There is ZERO evidence for this, yet he still performs that little dance. I am sick and tired of people doing this to create plausible deniability for themselves, whether it is a standard sop against Putin, Hamas, Iranian mullahs, or any Korean Kims, and what have you. This behavior is foolish in any case, because the genocidal imperialists attack ANY that attempt criticism, no matter what concessions are made for the imperialists. There is no logic in doing this, so there is no point in conceding any part of their narrative that they do not have hard evidence for.

    2. plurabelle

      I wrote about the hostage-taking:

      Before October 7, Israelis abducted and were holding a total of 5,200 Palestinians in their prisons, including 170 children (figures from B’Tselem). They routinely torture, rape and deny food and medical care to these prisoners. They keep children like Ahmad Manasra in solitary confinement for long periods of time. Many of these abductees are “administrative detainees”, which is their euphemism for keeping Palestinians detained without charge or trial indefinitely.

      The reason why the Palestinian resistance uses the tactic of capturing Israelis (“hostage taking” or “kidnapping”) is because it has been an effective tactic to get Palestinian abductees held by Israel released. Specifically, they captured young Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held for 6 years in Gaza and treated like a guest.

      Israeli society saw him as their own son and pressured the government to meet the demands of the resistance, leading to the release of 1,027 Palestinian abductees. This is a very important point to note, that the IDF is made of conscripts, so literally all Jewish Israelis are required to serve (with some religious exemptions). After their required two years of military service, they then become reservists, who can be called up at any time (and are being called up now to commit the final stage of genocide of Palestinians in Gaza). The minuscule minority of “refuseniks” who refuse to serve are jailed for two years.

      So it is the “innocent civilians” that the Western feminists are crying for who are now dropping the bombs on actual innocent civilians in Gaza. When the resistance fighters target soldiers, as they have done, Israeli society erupts in huge displays of outrage and mourning because it is their sons and daughters who are being targeted. They do not make a distinction between soldier and civilian. I have seen one family member of an Israeli captive claim that his cousin is a “civilian”, despite being a young, fit man who is almost certainly a reservist in the IDF and certainly served in the army oppressing Palestinians at one point in his life.

      Since October 7, the Israelis have doubled the number of Palestinian hostages to 10,000, and two have died in the last week – one was denied food, water and medical care despite being sick, and other hostages report that they can hear screams and that the Israelis break their hands and beat them on their heads, so they are literally torturing prisoners to death. Contrast that with Hamas’ treatment of Gilad Shalit and Yocheved Lifshitz.

      Norman Finkelstein puts it best, regarding Western condemnation of hostage-taking by Palestinians:

      “The crocodile tears have begun over Israeli hostages taken by Gaza militants. But Israel has held the 2.1 million people of Gaza, including one million children, hostage in one of the most densely populated areas on the planet for nearly 20 years. In fact, Israel was the only country in the world to have legalized hostage taking. Revered President of the Israeli High Court Aharon Barak held in 1997 that “a detention is legal if it is designed to promote State security, even if the danger to State Security does not emanate from the detainees themselves,” and that “detention … for the purpose of release of … captured and missing soldiers is a vital interest to the State.” (The decision wasn’t reversed until 2000.) If the past is any guide, Gaza’s leadership will swap the Israelis for some of the 4,500 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons on alleged “security grounds.” Gaza is only playing by the book written by Israel.”


      As every resistance leader notes: the rules of engagement are determined by the oppressor. Israel wrote the playbook that Palestinians are forced to abide by. They take Palestinians hostage, even children, and hold them captive indefinitely under “administrative detention”, imprisonment without charge or trial. What are Palestinians supposed to do about this? Let their people languish in prison? Humbly petition the Zionists to release their people and accept their refusal? Use the judicial process, appealing in unjust occupation and secret military courts? The only tactic that has ever worked is taking Israeli soldiers captive to exchange for Palestinian hostages in Israeli dungeons. It is not only right and justified, but their duty, to use any means necessary to rescue their people from torture and unjust captivity.


  9. David in Friday Harbor

    I have several acquaintances who grew up in Germany during the war and its aftermath. They are (or were) appalled by the arrogance of this current generation of Germans, who seem to have no understanding of anything that happened in the world before 1989. The generation whose parents perpetrated the Shoah and who grew up in a divided and occupied country were mostly humbled by the experience.

    However, the Germans also carry a burden of guilt for the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, which bears remarkable parallels to the events of October 7 2023. The Palestinians of Black September were attempting to take hostages. However, it was the amateurish German military/police response and ensuing shoot-out that led to the deaths of the hostages. I still firmly believe, based on evidence, that October 7 was also intended as a hostage-taking. Those blown-up kibbutzes and twisted-and-burned automobiles cannot have been caused by a bunch of young men on motorbikes toting Kalashnikovs. They appear to be the product of Merkava tanks and Apache helicopters.

    History is repeating itself. There is something missing from the psyche of the current German leadership as a result of how they were taught of the events of the Shoah and Munich during the period of Reunification. They’re just as clueless when it comes to Russia and how the Americans have convinced them that they should dismantle their economy. My older German acquaintances just shake their heads…

    1. JonnyJames

      That reminds me: Arrogance and denial in Germany. I would agree: I used to work for a university in the Netherlands, and we had faculty from all over, including Germany of course. I had an informal debate with a German international politics professor who was abrasive, arrogant and in deep denial. This was about 15 years ago and he was in his late 30s at the time. He claimed that Germany (and the EU) had become more independent from the US and that the EU’s economic power rivals that of the US and that Germany/EU would become more and more of an independent actor in its own affairs as well as on the world stage.

      I argued that while that sounded plausible on the surface, I saw no hard evidence of it. The scandal about Merkel’s phone taps by the NSA were public, and Germany’s subservient role unchanged. I have visited US and NATO military bases all over Europe, and I told him that Germany was still under occupation, as well as supporting US-led military adventures (some say war crimes) in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. I told him that although from the US, I did not speak from a nationalist or imperialist mindset, I was trying to be as objective as possible, focusing on basic facts. He could not accept any of that.

      Now, of course, Germany is arguably even more ostentatiously subservient to US interests than 15 years ago.

      Because the guy was such an unfriendly, arrogant asshole, I have recently felt like contacting him to rub his nose in it and ridicule his claims, with recent evidence to back it up. I thought better of it, although he deserves to be publicly humiliated.

    2. Alan Roxdale

      The present censorship wave is by no means an exclusively German phenomenon. It’s an affliction of the present governing class as it teeters on top of the collapsing wreck of the societies it has mismanaged.

  10. Michael Fiorillo

    My mother toured Europe, including Germany, in August and September of 1945,entertaining the troops. She was of Russian ancestry and I have a snapshot of her meeting with Red Army soldiers.

    Though not Jewish, I grew up in one of those postwar NYC households that swore to never buy a Germany product, and to the end of her life my mom repeated certain tropes: she could recognize a German tree, they were so straight and “disciplined:” the rank and file Germans would inappropriately go out of their way in conversation to claim they knew nothing of the Shoah, and she never believed a word they said: while almost every Italian child was shoeless and hungry, every German child was well-shod and seemingly well-fed.

    She always said, we’ve kicked their asses twice already, and someday we’ll have to do it again.

      1. MFB

        No, it’s the “MLF Lullaby”, about when Johnson was planning to give the West Germans nukes.;

        “Heil — hail — the Wehrmacht — I mean the Bundeswehr —
        Hail to our loyal ally;
        M – L – F (MultiLateralForce)
        Will scare Brezh-nev
        I hope he is half as scared as I”

  11. Rubicon

    As expected all along, only a small population of German citizens showed up at the rally. Germans willingly abide by their government’s “rules based orders.”

  12. Sub-Boreal

    Varoufakis indicates that this repression of even the mildest anti-Zionist views is supported across the German political spectrum. But he doesn’t mention Sahra Wagenknecht; anyone here able to comment on how she has handled this?

  13. AG

    It´s simple, German level of historic knowledge about the Palestine case is utterly incompetent.
    The higher you get in the hierarchy the worse it becomes.

    And this incompetence and krypto-racism is worse than with RU/UKR.
    Oddly so. Since in Ukraine at least one could argue over things like Art. 51.

    But it could´t be clearer in Gaza.

    For some perverse reason Germans in much higher numbers are incapable of seeing and understanding what is happening in Gaza and what it means if the ICJ says “plausible case of genocide”.

    There you have case in point: So-called occidental traditions of enlightenment and argumentative reasoning are abanonded immediately if they are an obstacle.

    If you call Israel genocidal in public you might end up in prison and your career is ruined.

    1. Revenant

      This blindness to Palestine is very hard to understand given that when I was an exchange student in Hildesheim in 1989, my host family’s elder sons (the sons of a state judge) who were at University all sported the Keffiyeh. I had never seen a Palestinian headscarf, it was not the done thing among the Westcountry county set, but everybody in Germany understood its meaning and seemed to support it.

      No doubt these students are now 55+ year old professionals at the height of their careers. Where is Palestine in their thoughts…?

      1. AG

        Good question!

        The scarves I can only confirm, originating in Bavaria myself, were part of everyday fashion at high school. It gave you an air of political sophistication and mild distinction. I don´t know when this fashion ended.

        However it wouldn´t be at all surprising if your former acquaintances have turned into established personnel sharing what is part of appropriate group think today. And that does root in “decent” scholarship.

        While as a high schooler one will be more willing to digest the more “fringe”-class writings, if you really want to be a “pro” you read and study the serious stuff by academia. That where nothing is certain, only “true” sources from real archives are to be used and you never really question the government´s narrative. That which is already established.

        After all truth is always somewhere in between. Right?
        So at best you take no position or some median one.

        However, if one side of that equation is genocide, where can your median be???
        That´s university today.

        Once, being radical meant thorough scholarly work with an extreme surplus workload because you additionally to your own thesis had to disprove the established wisdom as well. Double work.

        Today due to financial constraints and every work being judged under aspects of investment and peer-reviews scholarly radicalism is equal disinformation or non-professional academic work, no real thing. So it´s outside the system.

        Eventually you got studies by PhDs merely reproducing what their professors taught them. Or what their new sponsors like them to write.

        Well, many words for something most here will know first-hand.

        p.s. as to your Hildesheim people, lets hope I am wrong!

  14. AG

    This came up on NEW LEFT REVIEW, yesterday:

    “End of Innocence”
    by Frédéric Lordon

    It´s about the French psychosis on Gaza but as well applies to Germany.

    The author gets to Germany in the last paragraph, may be quoting me or others on Moon of Alabama.
    (However the original quote was not by “us” but by the deputy PM or FM of Belgium)

  15. caucus99percenter

    And that, meine Damen und Herren, is only one of many ways the current German power elite has made of me, an ole hippie lady of alternative scenes and counterculture eras long past, a backer of the pro-peace faction of Saxony’s AfD.

      1. Irrational

        I understand your dilemma. Considering voting the Communist Party in the European elections because they are the only pro-peace party here – apart from some new party which denies climate change. Tough choices.

  16. John Anthony La Pietra

    Not trying to give out an assignment, but I can’t seem to find the multi-party joint statement Varoufakis mentions. If someone here could point me at that statement (or a translation into English), I would greatly appreciate the help.

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