Why the No Borders movement cannot remain silent about Palestine!

BY No Borders Groups in Germany


As no border activists, we stand against borders, deportations and the underlying system of racism and colonialism. We need to speak out in solidarity with Palestine and against any form of racism, apartheid and colonialism!

While it is common sense to some of us to fiercely confront an apartheid regime, in the German left it sadly seems not. Many (usually white-privileged) Germans seem to have been politicised to rate certain forms of racism as more important than other forms of racism. Instead of standing uncompromisingly against ANY racism, a hierarchy of oppression is created that allows the support for an apartheid regime in the name of fighting antisemitism. In a time where it has become illegal in Germany to say “Free Palestine” and solidarity demo’s have been banned: it is essential for the no border movement to speak up, not just against some forms of racism, but against all racism!

Since it has been mostly white-positioned activists who have blocked/delayed our groups from speaking out in solidarity with Palestine or who have remained silent, we as writers perceive it as our responsibility to critically engage with these manifestations of white privilege and continue a shared educational process where we discuss together why to take an explicit stance in this struggle for a free Palestine.

No borders No nations badge


What makes it complicated for you? Standing against apartheid should not be complicated. Do you have a lack of information or are unwilling to let itreach you? Calling what is happening in Palestine a conflict or a war, iterases power relations & a system of oppression and assumes two parties who hold power, but there is currently only one state there: one recognisednation, one governmental apparatus, one military and this is the state ofIsrael. Let’s talk why we call it an apartheid state and why it matters in our no border movement.


The state of Israel has build a border-wall throughout occupied West Bank: this wall doesn’t even follow the route on what maps indicate is the line between the West Bank and Israel, instead the wall snakes through the West Bank and surrounds & cuts off the remaining Palestinian living area’s from the surrounding land and makes this land usable mostly for the half million colonial settlers that have build more than 100 settlements in the West Bank. Is it antisemitic to critique this standard apartheid practice of the state?


Neither West Bank or Gaza is accepted as a state. Palestinians in the WestBank are under active military occupation, with widespread checkpoints anddealing with Israeli border control on all sides. How about Gaza, an urban area of more than 2.2 million people?

Under direct Israeli military occupation until 2005 and since then under total siege by the state ofIsrael, making it the biggest open-air prison in the world. It is notpossible to leave or enter without permission (almost impossible). In otherwords, the state of Israel has completely limited any freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, while actively colonising moreand more land for the free movement of settlers. Is it antisemitic to critique this standard apartheid practice of the state?


Israeli military gives permits whether Palestinians are allowed to move anywhere, or not. Most highways in the West Bank are for exclusive use of colonial settlers and banned for Palestinians, with highly rare exceptions when permits are given. The permit & check point system excludes almost any Palestinian for travel inside the West Bank, which is enforced by widespread military checkpoints, the border-wall splitting the West Bank in half and common racist military-police controls. Of more than 14 million Palestinians, only around 2 million the state of Israel has given some citizenship rights. Most people however either live under occupation without any citizenship rights or are part of a 6 million diaspora outside of Israel or Palestine and are forbidded by the state to return. Is it antisemitic to criticize this standard apartheid practice of the state?


Military orders have made it illegal for anyone in the occupied West Bank to participate or organise protests, print or distribute political material,wave flags or other political symbols; also military courts were created specifically for trials concerning Palestinian resistance. Since 1967, an estimated 1 million Palestinian people have been held in one of Israel’s 19prisons, specifically made to hold Palestinian prisoners. Israeli military courts often use “administrative detention” for Palestinian activists, meaning being held indefinitely in prison without trial or charges and only secret evidence dealt with by military courts. Is it antisemitic to criticize this standard apartheid practice of the state?


But do you condemn Hamas? It is common even in our left movement in Germany that saying anything against racism, colonialism and apartheid in Israel isdependent on the conditionality of first condemming Hamas. This text (https://medium.com/@leilzahra/do-i-condone-the-killing-of-civilians-207e89bd2f6c; must-read, limited summary here) makes the point that the question itself comes from the racist norm that BIPoC communities have the burden to prove innocence under interrogation that “we don’t condone the killing of civilians.” Your entitlement to interrogate, evaluate and judge comes from the assumption that there are grounds for your suspicion that people condone the killing of civilians. Why? Based on what? There are millions of reasons why every European should be interogated whether they condone the killing of civilians before each word said about anything, but do you? Coming from the same text: “I will not submit to your interrogation, and I will not cater to your colonial and racist projections […] If anything, the burden of proof is on you!”


Again and again we see that the state, based on racist, capitalist and geopolitical interests, promotes the rights and solidarity of some people, while criminalizing and hindering the rights and solidarity with others. This became very clear last year, for example, when the “Temporary Protection Directive” made the legal situation of (white) refugees from Ukraine very suddenly and fastly changeable. It is important that the No Borders movement questions and does not reproduce this racist and selective legalization and solidarity with some people. Why are the basic rights of Palestinians and people in solidarity in the struggle for a free Palestine being vehemently restricted by the German state right now? Why is the anger and mourning deligitimized and silenced by the state? It is up to us to dismantle, expose and fight the selective racist solidarity with some people while others are criminalized and dismissed.


We call for any individual, initiative, group to stand up against any form of racism, settler colonialism and apartheid of the Israeli state. It is hypocritical to consider yourself as part of the No Borders Movement and passionately oppose the European border regime while supporting the Israeli state and it’s border regime. The fight against border regimes and the imperialist interests and profiteers is directly interconnected.

The situation in Israel and Palestine also has direct consequences for Germany’s domestic and foreign policy. Any restriction of migration policies is now legitimised with the supposed fight against “imported antisemitism”. We call for the No Borders movement to play an essential role in breaking the prevailing discourse and silence in Germany and also especially in the German left scene about Palestine solidarity and speaking out against Israeli apartheid policies. We have to stand united against the dominant discourse which silences people with the accusation of antisemitism. Jewish life everywhere must be fully protected, but we do not do that by not criticizing the Israeli state (we recommend this video by jüdische Stimmeand Jewish Bund: https://www.instagram.com/p/CyvLMSyM02j/). It is time to act and to break the silence or shiness around this topic!

No to the Israeli apartheid state!

No to the Israeli settler colonialism!

No to any racism, no to antisemitism, no to anti-muslim racism or any other!

To call out apartheid and settler colonialism isn’t antisemitism!

We are watching a genocide and our silence is complicity!

Free Palestine!

We don’t want to underestimate the existing resistance for the liberation of Palestine in the No Borders movement or be ignorant towards our comrades, who have been in solidarity and engaged for decades. But we think we could be much more, be much louder and act with much more clarity and much more unity! Sign this statement if you are in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance against oppression, apartheid and colonialism. Organisations / groups / initiatives / networks:* this text of why Israel is an apartheid state was not written by Palestinian people; maybe it’s ok to not constantly ask Palestinians to explain this and instead base this on the many, many texts Palestinians have written about this over and over again?

Payday has endorsed this statement. You can sign by emailing nosilence@systemli.org