Since fleeing Syria a decade ago, Wafa Mustafa has spoken publicly at the United Nations about political prisoners, organized vigils outside war crimes courts and chanted in solidarity with the Iranians. Her activism has received attention and praise in Germany, the country of her choice, and she even went out to a demonstration in support of the Palestinians. A few days ago.
The American New York Times reported that everything changed for Wafa during that demonstration against the continued Israeli bombing of Gaza, where the police pushed her friend to the ground, and then quickly arrested them both.
The New York Times reported that since the outbreak of war on GazaGovernments across Europe have begun to search for how to contain the repercussions of the conflict in their countries, with some imposing strict restrictions on pro-Palestinian protests in particular or banning them completely citing security concerns, raising concerns about the violation of civil liberties.
Prevent or restrict
Authorities have attempted to ban pro-Palestinian protests in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland, with some cities taking the approach of banning protests of any kind.
In France, a court rejected a blanket ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations, but they could still be banned on a case-by-case basis. Even where protests were not banned, some government officials discouraged or strongly condemned pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
According to the New York Times, the discussion about what constitutes a legal and legitimate expression of dissent has never been as fraught as it was in Germany, where this discussion struck at the heart of how the nation defines itself, and raised questions about which values should take priority over others.
She said that Germany believes that strictly prohibiting criticism of Israel is a necessary part of atonement for the Holocaust, but many in the immigrant communities – Arabs, as well as many Jews and progressive Israelis – say that the restrictions not only violate freedom of expression, but are also discriminatory.
A special taste of Germany
In recent weeks, Hamburg has banned protests, or restricted the number of Palestinian flags that can be waved. In Berlin, officials allowed schools to prevent students from wearing the keffiyeh, the Palestinian flag, or its colors.
Police in Berlin said they prevented more than half of the 41 scheduled solidarity protests with Gaza, sometimes preventing them on the grounds that they “emotionally arouse” residents of Palestinian origin.
This included a children’s demonstration to mourn Palestinian children killed in Israeli raids last month.
The spokesman for the Palestine activist group, who requested anonymity due to concerns about hate messages, was quoted as saying that for more than two decades, he felt at home in Berlin, where he works as a pediatric surgeon, but in recent years, he felt alienated because of what he said was An increasingly hostile attitude towards the Palestinians and any criticism of Israel.
Jews against Israel
He recalled how the city embraced the protests he joined in support of Ukrainian hospitals under Russian bombing. He said the contrast with the way Germany restricts protests over the suffering of Palestinian civilians was painful: “I feel discriminated against, I feel second-class, I feel shocked.”
Wafaa Mustafa stated in her interview with the New York Times, “I feel so stupid that I have to say this all the time, but our battle is not against the Jews.”
Last month, German police arrested a woman standing in a Berlin square after she refused to put up a poster that read, “As a Jew and an Israeli: Stop the genocide in Gaza.”
They also banned a demonstration by the progressive Jewish group. Explaining the reasons for the ban, police told the New York Times that the demonstration was “explicitly open to participants of Palestinian origin,” and Udi Raz, one of the organizers of the protest, said that the police decision was “heartbreaking and anti-democratic in its essence.”
The American newspaper reported that more than 100 Jewish writers, artists and academics signed a letter condemning Germany’s practices, saying, “If this is an attempt to atone for German history, its effect is to risk its repetition.”