Yanis Varoufakis 400 x 400Press release of the International Munich Peace Conference of April 19, 2024

The entry ban against Yanis Varoufakis must be lifted immediately

We do not fully share Yanis Varoufakis’ views on the war in Israel/Palestine. As pacifists, we particularly disagree with his advocacy of armed resistance against the injustice of the Israeli occupation.

However, we do not accept the assertion reported from “security circles” as justification for the entry ban and thus the ban on political activity: Varoufakis’ positions amount to “anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda” and as such should not be proclaimed in Germany. Yanis Varoufakis regularly and empathetically speaks out against anti-Semitism, for the protection of Jewish life and for the preservation of universal human rights.

Our solidarity with Yanis Varoufakis does not extend to the entirety of the “Palestine Congress”, as we do not have a complete overview of the statements made there. We find the statement made in January 2024 by the speaker Salman Abu Sitta, who was invited to the “Palestine Congress”, disturbing: he could have been one of those who broke through the fence on October 7, 2023. All while denying the serious crimes committed in the course of the terrorist attack on October 7, 2023.

In contrast to Mr. Varoufakis’ statements, this can certainly be seen as “anti-Semitic propaganda”. However, this assessment requires a more detailed explanation, which is not possible here.

We condemn the German authorities’ handling of the “Palestine Conference”. The procedure lacked any proportionality, particularly with regard to the appropriateness and necessity of the means used.

The measures were not suitable for preventing the dissemination of “anti-Semitic propaganda”.

The authorities’ actions were obviously inappropriate solely because Mr. Abu Sitta’s statements on 7 October 2023 attracted considerable attention due to the foreseeable media frenzy surrounding the Berlin police operation.

There is a great need for information and discussion on the war in Israel and Palestine in Germany. This applies both to the massacre of October 7, 2023 and to Germany’s co-responsibility for the current massacre of the civilian population in Gaza, where there is an initial suspicion of genocide.

We expect the federal and state governments and the relevant authorities to fulfill their responsibility to uphold fundamental rights. The current disproportionate restriction of the discourse space regarding the war in Israel and Palestine promotes rejection and hatred.

Press release as pdf for printing HERE