Clare Daly: With Yanis Varoufakis in the European Parliament, our voice will be stronger

The event held by the joint initiative between MERA25 and the Subversive Ecological Left highlighted the EU’s role in the Palestinian genocide

With a massive turnout combined with powerful messages for freedom and solidarity in Palestine, the event by the joint initiative between MERA25 and the Subversive Ecological Left took place at the Trianon Cinema, Athens, on Wednesday May 15, on Nakba Day, 76 years since the start of the persecution against the Palestinian people.

This was preceded by a massive rally and protest march outside the Israeli and American embassies, in which the aforementioned groups participated along with the event’s guests.

Opening the debate, Mariana Tsichli, co-secretary of Popular Unity stressed the importance of the timing, in a period in which a genocide is taking place and a global student and popular movement is culminating in the condemnation of the US and EU policies that foster Israel’s crimes. “Our voices are causing a disturbance because they go against this policy [of genocide] and we are here to distrupt,” she said.

Faisal Zachariah El Masri, the Palestinian MEP candidate of the MERA25-Subversive Ecological Left initiative, sent a message of his own, stressing that the leadership of the EU is dominated by forces subservient to US and NATO interests. “The genocide of our people is the latest in a series of bloody sacrifices by the West to serve its interests in the Middle East,” he said.

Taking to the podium, Iris Hefets, a German-Jewish activist who has been repeatedly arrested in Berlin for her opposition to the genocide, pointed out the absolute absurdity of the situation in Germany, where even Jews like herself are accused of anti-Semitism.

“When they arrested me, they knew they were breaking the law, when they banned Yanis Varoufakis from entering [Germany] they knew they were breaking the German constitution but they didn’t care,” she said. “They themselves are violating the principles of the European Union, thereby opening the door wide open to the far right.”

On behalf of MERA25 Italy, Federico Dolce spoke about the authoritarianism experienced by those who speak out for Palestine, but he attributed the cruelty of the repressive mechanisms to the fact that they are increasingly losing battles, not winning the hearts and minds of people whose voices are becoming louder and louder.

Elettra Stamboulis, also a candidate for the European Parliament for MERA25 Italy, described the horrific images she has seen on her visits to Gaza, while she also pointed out that the time has come for this people to start counting the small victories being gained along the way.

Karin de Rigo, head of the MERA25 Germany European election campaign, described the unprecedented conditions of repression experienced by the organisers of the Palestine Congress in Berlin, describing Germany as a country with a serious lack of democracy: “If I say in Germany the slogan I shouted today in Athens (From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free) I will be arrested by the police,” he said.

Clare Daly stressed that the genocide continues despite opposition at the International Criminal Court and despite condemnation by the UN and other international organisations. She believes this is only happening because of the support of the US and the EU.

“They all say that Israel has the right to self-defence. No it doesn’t, Israel is a country that illegally occupies Palestinian territories – it is an invading country,” she said, stressing that “when [Ursula] von der Leyen stated that Israel has a duty to react, she knew what was going to follow. The EU is arming and giving Israel wings to continue and we have reached the point where the European Council is holding a conference against racism and inviting the Israeli foreign minister as a keynote speaker, that’s the point they have reached.”

Daly stressed that this is not just about Gaza. “Gaza is a test. Israel is the main weapon for attacking international conventions that have been in place since World War II. It is a test for militarisation, for hard borders, for attacking the rights of ordinary people. In essence, with Israel as a vehicle, the European Union is reverting to its old values, which are none other than the principles of colonialism.”

Finally, she stressed that, as was the case under apartheid in South Africa, even at enormous cost to the Palestinians, reason will eventually prevail, but a daily struggle is needed.

“Let our voices be heard. Going to every neighbourhood with this message, supporting the BDS movement for boycotting Israel and in view of the European elections it will be a very important step to elect Yanis Varoufakis to the European Parliament. Imagine how much stronger our voice would be if Yanis is also in the European Parliament,” she said.

In his speech, Yanis Varoufakis took apart, one by one, the arguments of the propaganda of the West, presenting and answering the questions he is usually asked in the mainstream media on the issue of Palestine. He spoke about whether Israel has the right to self-defence, whether the Palestinians have tried by peaceful means to gain their autonomy, whether he condemns Hamas and how the term “genocide” is documented.

He also described why Europe is responsible for this genocide, whether it would similarly defend the rights of the Israeli victims and whether anti-Semitism is being revived worldwide.  “How many rivers of Palestinian blood do you need to wash away the guilt of the Holocaust? “he asked, addressing mainly the German state, pointing out that the genocide is not committed by the Jewish people but by the state of Israel.


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