A vigil has been held outside the German Embassy in London in solidarity with three BDS activists who are on trial in Germany accused of interrupting a speech by an Israeli government representative at Humboldt University in Berlin in June in 2017.
The Humboldt 3, as they are known, are Palestinian journalist Majed Abusalama; Jewish human rights defender Ronnie Barkan; and Dr Stavit Sinai, a Jewish scholar of the sociology of knowledge and postcolonial studies.
Knesset member Aliza Lavie, as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, oversaw the 2014 attack on besieged Gaza that resulted in 2,200 Palestinians being killed, including 551 children. At the time Amnesty International said Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza.
She used her speech to depict Israel as a haven for LGBTQ rights, but when the three activists in the audience challenged her speech by quoting from a United Nations report which accused Israel of practicing Apartheid, they were ejected from the meeting. Later they charged with trespassing and one of the activists has also been charged with assault.
During the vigil a letter addressed to the German Ambassador condemning the German states prosecution of the Humboldt 3 was delivered to the embassy.
A cross-section of civil society organisations, ranging from human rights groups to religious groups – both Muslim and Jewish, to academic and journalism rights groups, along with Palestinian solidarity groups, were signatories to the letter.
The protest was organised by Inminds, whose chair Abbas Ali said: “We stand here today in solidarity with our comrades in Germany who are being persecuted by the state for speaking truth to power. Everything about this trial is Orwellian. A war criminal isn’t arrested, but is given the red carpet platform to spew propaganda and lies, whilst truth speakers are silenced.
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“War criminals and thugs that attack peaceful activists, punching a woman in the face, go free. Instead the peaceful activists are charged with ‘assault’.. for being beaten up, and charged with ‘trespass’.. for attending a public meeting.
“Their only ‘crime’ is to dare expose Israeli crimes against humanity. The German state is so supine to Israeli blackmail over fake accusations of antisemitism that it will bend over backwards to appease the Apartheid regime.
“It seems Germany has learnt nothing from its own history of the dangers of turning a blind eye to crimes against humanity and where this leads. A truly shameful state of affairs.”
The trial of the Humboldt 3 starts on August 3 at Moabit Court in Berlin.