ICYMI | #145

Berlin Senate IHRA clause | South Africa launches ICJ case | Free Humanitarians back on trial

By Staff

Our weekly roundup of stories you may have missed.

New antisemitism clause for Berlin state funding programs

The Berlin Senate has announced that recipients of public funding will now have to sign a pledge against anti-semitism. More specifically, the new ruling announced by CDU Senator Joe Chialo invokes the controversial and ambiguous IHRA definition of antisemitism. This definition was adopted by the German government in 2017, and critics say it has often been politically instrumentalised to crack down on support for Palestine by implying that any criticism of the Israeli state is antisemitic.

Following the defunding and closure of Oyoun in Neukölln for what Chialo called ‘hidden antisemitism’, the ruling represents a worrying new development in the German state’s cultural repression of Palestinian solidarity.

South Africa launches genocide case against Israel

The UN’s International Court of Justice will hold hearings this week on a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of genocide. In a new 84-page report compiling the views of international experts, the case is made that Israel is trying ‘to bring about the physical destruction’ of the Palestinian population in Gaza, pointing to the deliberate targeting of civilians, genocidal rhetoric from Israeli politicians, and the blocking of access to necessities.

Since October 7, over 23,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including nearly 10,000 children.

Free Humanitarians return to trial

On Tuesday, 16 humanitarian workers will stand trial on the Greek island of Lesvos after being arrested for search and rescue work in 2018 – criminalised for saving the lives of people crossing the Mediterranean. The Free Humanitarians campaign is trying to raise €100,000 euros to support the defendants through their long legal process. To learn more about the campaign, click here to read an interview with activist Seán Binder, or follow Free Humanitarians for more updates.

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Bangladesh election boycotted by opposition

Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina is set to win a fourth straight term in office after the opposition boycotted Sunday’s general elections. Huge protests have marked the run-up to elections in Bangladesh, as well as widespread police violence and the arrest of tens of thousands of opposition activists after Hasina declared the main opposition party to be a terrorist organisation. Voter turnout in the election was as low as 28% according to some sources.

Historian finds slave trade went on for years after 1867

New research by Historian Hannah Durkin shows that the slave trade may have continued for years after Spain announced it was officially abolished in 1867. Durkin’s new book includes evidence of ships arriving in Cuba and Benin carrying hundreds of people as late as 1873, fresh evidence that supports similar claims made earlier by Cuban historians, and apparently ignored in the English-speaking world until now.

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