Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism! No to the attempt to muzzle criticism of Israeli politics!

MPPM – the Portuguese Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and for Peace in the Middle East – expresses deep concern about the news that the European Union is promoting, on the quiet and in haste, the approval of a document that aims to equate criticism of Zionism and Israel with anti-Semitism. According to news (EUobserver, 29.11.2018), published on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the document could be adopted this week, on December 6, at the meeting of the Ministers of Internal Affairs of the EU countries.

If true, we are confronted with an extremely serious fact. The doors are opened to censorship, persecution and possible criminalization of the just denunciation of Israel’s numerous crimes  and the just solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable national rights. It is not surprising that a prominent role in the preparation of this document has been played by the Austrian government, one of the extreme right-wing governments which, in the EU, has most ridden the wave of, and promoted, xenophobia.

The crimes of Israel are numerous, blatant and shameless, so much so that they ultimately penetrate the curtains of connivant silence. Perhaps that is why some now hope to continue ensuring Israel's impunity by persecuting those who expose these crimes.

But it is impossible to conceal the fact that successive Israeli governments consistently violate all relevant UN resolutions — even though Israel owes its very existence to a UN General Assembly Resolution.

It is impossible to silence Israel's successive wars against countries in the region, and against the Palestinian population over seven decades, of which recent examples are the bombings against the besieged population of the Gaza Strip.

It is impossible to silence the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people for 70 years. It is impossible to silence the repeated massacres of Palestinian civilians, such as that which, in the face of the EU’s indifference, Israel has been committing since March 30 in Gaza against the peaceful demonstrations of the Great March of Return, mowed down at a distance by the snipers of the armed forces, who act as true firing squads.

It is impossible to silence the continued illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territories

It is impossible to silence that Israel continues to build settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, despite numerous UN Security Council resolutions classifying them as a blatant violation of international law — most recently Resolution 2334 of December 2016.

It is impossible to deny that Israel continues to build the Apartheid Wall, even though it was found to be contrary to international law by the International Court of Justice almost 15 years ago.

It is impossible to silence the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, who in many cases are detained under administrative detention, in other words, held without charge, without trial, with the possibility of indefinite extension of their arbitrary detention.

It is impossible to deny the practice of torture in Israeli prisons, which was also legitimized on  November 26 by the Supreme Court of Israel.

It is impossible to deny the discriminatory nature of the so-called Nation-State Law passed by Israel in July of this year.

It is impossible to deny the fascist drift of the Israeli political situation and government, denounced even by a former Prime Minister (Barak) and a former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Israeli Armed Forces (Golan).

The denunciation of these crimes of Israel, and many others, has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. On the contrary, exposing these facts corresponds to an ethical imperative stemming from the founding principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which demand a firm stance in defense of all those who are victims of discrimination and persecution based on their national or religious origin, as is clearly the case with the Palestinian people.

No European Union document or decision can curtail freedom of expression or silence the solidarity and action of citizens and movements that support the just struggle of the Palestinian people.

MPPM warns of the great seriousness of what is at stake and of the consequences and implications of Portugal's possible involvement in such a decision. It demands that the Portuguese Government embodies its constitutional obligations and the sentiments of the Portuguese people, and fully opposes the approval of any censorial move that may serve as a pretext to persecute and criminalize the unrenounceable exposure of the crimes of Israel, or the solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people. A solidarity that was reaffirmed as recently as November 29 by the Portuguese parliament. The involvement of the Portuguese State in such a maneuver would impose on the foreign policy of the Portuguese Government an indelible mark of indignity and would stain the noblest democratic and progressive feelings of solidarity of the Portuguese people.

What is at stake is not just the struggle for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. What is at stake is the defense of democratic freedoms, which are all the more urgently needed in the current context of the ascent of fascist intolerance.

MPPM governs its action by the principles of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and takes as its reference the Charter of the United Nations, the applicable norms of International Law, the International Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as International Humanitarian Law. It is in the name of these principles that it reaffirms its commitment to the national cause of the Palestinian people and to strengthen in Portugal the movement of solidarity with that heroic people and their struggle. It is also in the name of these principles and of their intransigent defense that we will never give in to threats, blackmail, and attempts at conditioning or limiting our action, whatever they may be.

December 3, 2018
The MPPM National Directorate

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