In a world increasingly polarized by the Israel-Palestine conflict, a trio of scholars has staged a powerful protest against what they perceive as Germany's attempts to silence Palestinian voices. Srećko Horvat, Paul Stubbs, and Dubravka Sekulić withdrew from a program at Berlin's Maxim Gorki Theatre after the institution cancelled a play titled 'The Situation', a theatrical exploration of the Israel-Palestine situation. The scholars argue that such institutions should be fostering dialogues around history and policy, rather than stifling Palestinian perspectives.
The Power of Non-Alignment
The scholars were invited to speak on the relevance of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at the Gorki Theatre. Born out of the bipolar world of the Cold War, the NAM united countries and struggles against imperialism, colonialism, racism, and occupation. Its founding principles embraced peaceful coexistence and self-determination. The authors argue that in our current global climate, where nuclear catastrophe or a new world war seem chillingly possible, the relevance of non-alignment and the NAM is more vital than ever.
Silencing Palestinian Voices
Following a Hamas attack on Israel, various German institutions, including the Gorki Theatre, began to cancel Palestinian speech and advocacy. The authors argue that this response is shortsighted, suggesting that institutions should instead be bringing people together to discuss history, critique policy, and work towards a more equitable world.
They highlight the NAM's support for the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people and its condemnation of Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. They believe that a discussion on the relevance of the NAM today is crucial, especially in Germany where voices supporting the Palestinians are increasingly silenced. They argue that the Gorki Theatre's decision to cancel The Situation and silence Palestinian voices is a reflection of a current episode of Denkverbot, or the prohibition to think. They warn that if this Denkverbot is not contested urgently, it will lead to more anti-Semitism, more terror, and a continued inability to achieve peace in the Middle East.
Learning from History
The authors also draw attention to the historical stance of socialist Yugoslavia and the NAM on the Israel-Palestine issue. They note that Yugoslavia supported the right of the Jewish people to their own state and expressed unanimous support for the full restoration of all rights of the Arab people of Palestine. They argue that this stance demonstrates how one can be against Zionism while still supporting the existence of the state of Israel and the fight against racism, colonialism, and apartheid.
In conclusion, the scholars' critique of Germany's attempts to silence Palestinian voices serves as a reminder that open dialogue and understanding are crucial to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. They warn that the current episode of Denkverbot, if not contested urgently, will lead to more anti-Semitism, more terror, and a continued inability to achieve peace in the Middle East.