German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Thursday that Germany will ban any public support shown for the pro-Palestine group Samidoun as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas. In an address to the Bundestag, the chancellor announced that the Interior Ministry would ban both Hamas and Samidoun in Germany, accusing Samidoun of openly supporting terror against Israelis. Scholz declared that Germany has no tolerance for anti-semitism and stated that anyone who openly supports Hamas, calls for murder or burns the Israeli flag risks prosecution.
Samidoun has attracted negative attention in recent days for its rhetoric surrounding Hamas’s attacks on Israel. Shortly after the attacks began, Samidoun posted a depiction of armed Palestinian fighters on Instagram, saying:
As the morning dawns on 7 October 2023, the resistance is rising throughout occupied Palestine, smashing the siege on Gaza with a comprehensive offensive confronting the occupier by land and air, taking control of Palestinian land, seizing occupation settlers and soldiers and launching thousands of missiles as Palestinian resistance forces fight to advance return and the liberation of Palestine.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) included Samidoun’s post in an article accusing multiple pro-Palestine organizations of expressing “full support for Hamas actions” or “framing Hamas’s terror attacks as part of an anti-colonial struggle in which any and all forms of ‘resistance’ are justified.”
Samidoun released a statement against the German ban in which they harshly condemned the German government, stating their right to assemble and protest was being taken away. They alleged Germany and its allies are “partners not only in the defamation and dehumanization of the Palestinian people but the murderous war crimes and crimes against humanity of the occupation regime.” The group claimed:
If the German Chancellor and his government support the genocidal war on Gaza being carried out as we speak, it can be no surprise that they also seek to criminalize the ability of Palestinians and people of conscience to act against that war, to speak out, to organize, and to express support for the Palestinian people’s drive and struggle for freedom, justice and liberation.
Samidoun, or the Palestine Prisoner Solidarity Network, is an international organization which, it says, “seeks to achieve justice for Palestinian prisoners through events, activities, resources, delegations, research and information-sharing.” Traditionally they have organized a number of protest movements aimed at promoting the interests of Palestine through hunger strikes and other non-violent forms of protest. They have been accused by opponents of being affiliated with the secular leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) militant group.
The proposed ban comes on the heels of major talks between France and Germany in Hamburg, where both nations pledged their support to Israel. It also occurred days after the EU reversed course on a temporary halt to humanitarian funding to Palestine.