Yanis Varoufakis’ full speech to launch start of European election campaign

On May 15, Nakba Day, an event was held by the joint initiative of MERA25 and the Subversive Ecological Left in Athens, to launch the start of the European Election campaign.

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

Yanis Varoufakis’ full speech

It is a great privilege to take to the podium after Clare Daly who, for five years now, along with our comrade Mick Wallace, has been showing us what responsible disobedient voices in Brussels can achieve.

For the many.

For reason.

For peace.

For all those whom the European Union tramples on in the name of principles that the European Union itself is trampling on.

It is a great pleasure to see in the same room the fellow supporters of our Greek united European candidacy of ‘MERA25 | Subversive Ecological Left’ getting to know each other, becoming one movement, together with the leaders of MERA25 Italy and Germany – with Clare and her team from Ireland – with comrades from Palestine. This is what internationalism-in-action means!

And it is, of course, a huge honour to share this podium with fellow activist Iris Hefets, who last October took to the streets of Berlin alone, with a placard she had made herself that read: “As an Israeli and a Jew, stop the genocide in Gaza.”

It was a message of humanity directed at the German state in a dark maelstrom of hatred, resulting in her being arrested without even understanding the symbolism of German police officers arresting a Jewish woman in Berlin for being against… genocide.

Without realizing that, in doing so, they were stating that in Germany you can only talk about genocide when you support it!

Friends. Fellow travellers,

76 years ago today, more than 800,000 people were expelled from their homes, taking the path of either exile (in Lebanon, Jordan, the ends of the earth) or confinement in the open prison of the Gaza Strip.

76 years later, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who grew up and live behind the wire in the open air prison that is Gaza are being murdered en masse while the catastrophe, the Nakba, continues in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

I am asked by the journalists of a Western power system that backs genocide every day: Well, didn’t Hamas start the war? Doesn’t Israel have the right to self-defence?

We all have the right to self-defence. If someone attacks my people, I have an obligation to use reasonable force to protect them. But, I do not have the right to wipe out the perpetrator’s family, murder his neighbours’ children, raze his neighbourhood, hospital, schools and churches in his town. Anyone who dares to rationalise Israel’s behavior as self-defense is complicit in mass murder.

They ask me: why do the Palestinians not advance their goals by peaceful means?

They did! The Palestine Liberation Organization recognized Israel and renounced armed struggle – without even demanding a commitment from Israel that it too would recognise Palestine, that it would stop the ethnic cleansing. And what did they gain? Total humiliation and systematic ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Thus, Sharon first and then Netanyahu, murdered the peace process so that the Two-State solution would never go forward.

This is how Israel brought Hamas to the forefront in the eyes of many Palestinians as the only alternative to the slow genocide under Israeli apartheid.

They ask me: How is the charge of genocide substantiated? Are you not going too far?

This is a classic case of genocide as defined by the International Criminal Court. Take three articles of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court. Together, these three articles make up the definition of genocide.

Article 6 (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

It captures exactly what has been happening in Gaza for eight months now and in previous decades, from 1948 to the present day.

Article 25(3c): Article 25 3 (c) For the purpose of facilitating the commission of such a crime, aids, abets or otherwise assists in its commission or its attempted commission, including providing the means for its commission.

Isn’t this what the Israeli state did by providing 10,000 weapons to the settlers who are carrying out the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank?

Article 25(3e): Directly and publicly incites others to commit genocide.

How else can the phrase of Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Minister of Defense, “We fight human animals and act accordingly” be interpreted?

Or Israeli Finance Minister Smotrich’s quote when he recently demanded “not half measures” but “total annihilation” of Gaza?

They ask me: If the Palestinians in Gaza are innocent, why don’t they hand over the Hamas men to Israel and get it over with?

Think about what these “reputable” journalists are condemning the people of Gaza for. They tell them the following:

‘Israeli troops killed your grandfather in 1948 after forcibly taking his olive grove and your house, and chased your family to Gaza where, since then, you have been living as prisoners in an open-air prison fenced with barbed wire.

‘Since then, their bombs have murdered your brother, your cousins, your mother and your friends, while in your open-air prison your children grew up before October 7 malnourished, with no prospect of education, no chance of decent work, no possibility to travel, no hope.

‘Every few months, for decades, they dropped bombs and Israeli troops stormed in, firing indiscriminately at you and your neighbours.

‘Your neighbourhood children, with no other way out, join Hamas as nurses, teachers or, yes, gunmen willing to return fire on the Israelis.

‘And, now, we “civilized” Westerners – who all these decades have not lifted a finger to free you from this 80-year nightmare – condemn you for not surrendering these children to your bondage army which aims to exterminate your people, and whose officers and commanders are answerable to governments whose main objective is to ensure that you never have equal civil rights.’

Or as my friend Noam Chomsky said more succinctly long before October 7:

You’re taking my water

You tear down my house

You put me out of work

You steal my field

You imprison my father

You kill my mother

You mutilate my brothers and sisters

You humiliate me every day

But it’s my fault… I threw a stone at you!

They ask me:  All well and good, but do you condemn Hamas?

I condemn any act of violence against civilians as a war crime regardless of who the perpetrator or victim is: Israeli settlers, the Israeli army, Hamas. The Geneva Convention applies to all or none. What I not only not condemn but applaud is resistance to an occupier, to an apartheid system designed as part of a programme of systematic ethnic cleansing.

I am asked by the same journalists: Why not solidarity with the Israelis who are also suffering? I answer them:

If American and German tanks and planes were bombing Haifa killing Jewish children.

If Tel Aviv was under siege and Israeli civilians were starving…

If the West turned a blind eye while a new pogrom against Jews in Palestine was unfolding…

If any of this was happening.

…all of us in this room tonight would be wearing the Star of David on our lapels and marching for our fellow Jews in the streets of Berlin, Rome, Dublin, Athens, everywhere!

I am asked by the same journalists: Is there no anti-Semitism?

Of course. Anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in the West and in the East and must be constantly fought. The question is: Does the genocide of the Palestinians serve or hinder the purpose of fighting anti-Semitism?

I ask my German friends and every European who, because of our justifiable collective guilt over the Holocaust, feel the need to turn a blind eye to Israel’s war crimes: How many rivers of Palestinian blood do you need to wash away your guilt for the Holocaust?

Let’s look at it another way. When the youth in America, in Paris, in Berlin, here in Athens… are demonstrating against the genocide, and the mainstream accuses the youth of insulting the Jews, don’t they understand that this is how anti-Semitism is reinforced? That people will, even if subconsciously, associate Jews, not just Israel, with genocide? Don’t they understand that this is how they become the big sponsors of Anti-Semitism?

We, here, tonight – we are the great enemies of Anti-Semitism!

We, here, tonight, shout that, NO, Jews do not commit genocide. Israel is committing genocide! An Israel that does not represent the entire Jewish people.

That is why it is important that we have Iris Hefets here tonight, here tonight, to remind all who make the mistake of blaming the genocide of the Israeli state on one people, the Jewish people, many of whom are leading the fight for Palestinian rights, of this very fact.

I am asked by the same journalists: Why do you say that Europe is responsible for the tragedy in Palestine?

Because it is! When the colonialist British, French, Germans, Dutch arrived in Kenya, Australia, Algeria, Namibia, South Africa, they christened the land they annexed terra nullius – no man’s land, land without people. Essentially, they were declaring that the indigenous populations were not human but humanoid animals – the first step in justifying their genocide.

What was the motto of the Zionists who arrived in Palestine not just to live there but to set up a state exclusively for Jews? “A Land Without People for People Without Land”. In other words, they adopted the genocidal terra nullius ideology of the European colonialists – who, deeply anti-Semitic, wanting to see the Jews leave Europe, supported and support colonization and genocide.

And so, as in Algeria under the French, in Kenya under the British, in Namibia under the Germans, in South Africa under Dutch Apartheid, so in Palestine, the cycle of inhumanity begins: Having murdered and driven the natives from their land, the settlers feel insecure – thinking correctly that the children of their victims may return in retaliation. So they ruthlessly oppress them, killing them ruthlessly. At some point, some natives decide that only by inhuman violence can they cope against the inhuman violence of the settlers. And then, the settlers say what we hear from Netanyahu and company: Did you see? “We told you they were humanoids, not people.”

This cycle of inhumanity must be closed. We will not tell Palestinians, Israelis, Bedouins, Muslims, Jews, Christians and atheists how to organise their lives.

What we are asserting today, the anniversary of Nakba, is that the only way to close the cycle of inhumanity is with an international mobilisation that imposes EQUAL POLITICAL RIGHTS from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

Friends, fellow travellers, tonight, we have chosen the Nakba anniversary as the ideal starting point for the struggle of the European elections. Why? It is simple.

We have chosen the Nakba anniversary as the ideal starting point for the European elections because

  • the vulgar, brutal behaviour of the Troika towards Greeks and Irish people
  • the exploitation of German, Irish and Italian workers
  • the inhumanity of the European Union to immigrants, either drowning them in the Mediterranean or imprisoning them in the camps of Libya or Tunisia
  • the de-industrialisation of Germany
  • the suffocation caused by the systematic retreat of the rights to freedom of the press, freedom of expression and the rule of law
  • the complete surrender of Europe to a NATO that is waging a permanent war in Ukraine

…all of this has exactly the same root: an exploitative European model in ever deeper crisis.

Have you wondered why no European mainstream politician today has the stature to condemn Israel, to oppose the project of endless carnage in Ukraine, to say NO to Washington? Once there were. Jacques Chirac, for example, right-wing but not afraid to take on Israel. Olof Palme. Bruno Kreisky. Today? No one. Why?

Because of the general decline of Europe that came about because the European Union system worked exactly as it was designed to work. For decades now European exporters have depended on the American trade deficit to fill them with dollars. But unable to spend so many dollars here in Europe, they send them back to Wall Street to lend to the US government, buy stocks, and of course real estate in California and Miami.

This is how America keeps the European capitalists rich. But in order to continue to get rich in dollars, the European capitalists need the euro to loot the poorer Europeans, but they don’t want a euro that undermines the omnipotence of the dollar – since their profits depend on the US trade deficit, the sustainability of which depends entirely on the omnipotence of the dollar.

  • That is why the ruling class of Europe supports every war decided by the US military-industrial complex.
  • That is why the ruling class of Europe tolerates things that harm themselves and their countries. Like the American blowing up of the Nordstream 1 gas pipeline which cost German industry billions.

Why didn’t they say a word? Because America’s deficits are lining the pockets of German industrialists with dollars, which they can basically use to accumulate wealth in the United States.

Simply put, we are ruled by a European ruling class whose wealth is being accumulated on the other side of the Atlantic.

  • That is why their minds and souls are given to the other side of the Atlantic.
  • That’s why they are fomenting war in Ukraine and genocide in Palestine
  • Because, having missed the train of the 4th, the Green, Technological Revolution, Europe is shamelessly turning from the Peace Project it was supposed to be into a New War Union, while it is sliding daily into the pit of t

Their plunge into the abyss of authoritarianism is accelerating more and more.

  • They arrested Iris for… anti-Semitism.
  • They prevented Hassan Abu Sitta, the Rector of Glasgow University, from testifying to the French Senate about what he saw in the hospitals in Gaza.
  • I have been banned from entering Germany even via the Internet! And when I asked them in writing to tell me “Which authority issued the ban? When? On what grounds?”, they replied in writing that they would not answer me for reasons of … “national security”.

Do you realise that? Just before the European elections, they banned a citizen of the European Union from all political activity. They branded a citizen of the European Union as a potential threat to German national security. They abolished my right to freedom of movement, which the European Union is supposed to pride itself on. And all this without an indictment, without even giving me the right of reply.

That is why I took them to the German courts: Because if they are denying inalienable political rights to me, who has an international public platform and therefore some protection, imagine what they are doing to the Palestinians, to the Jews, to our German comrades?

Meanwhile, here in Greece, the government of the creeping domestic totalitarianism seems to have been so thrilled to be rivalled by the German government that it has become speechless!

Mr Mitsotakis, a month has passed since I was banned and you are maintaining silence. I call on you from this platform to take a stand: do you consider my ban by the German authorities to be lawful?  Do you approve of the refusal of the German authorities to formally justify the ban on a citizen of the Hellenic Republic against the rules of the European Union?

Friends, fellow travellers, I am not taking the German state to the German courts for myself. The lawsuit I have filed is nothing but a tool that I put at the disposal of movements, of democrats, to defend together the freedoms of all – to resist their plunge into the abyss of authoritarianism and wars.

We can all see that they have gone completely mad. They have gone off the rails of reason.

  • We are being dragged into a European Union that resembles the Eurovision.
  • With 37 countries.
  • Modelled on Israel – a Europe surrounded by an American-built Missile Dome – a Europe that drowns in the Mediterranean those foreigners it doesn’t imprison in concentration camps in Tunisia or Libya – a Europe where predators roam and Julian Assange rots in Britain’s version of Guantanamo bay.
  • A Europe with a common language, the American dialect spoken in Delaware and Guantanamo.
  • With zero points for culture, humanism, reason, solidarity, progress, the environment or

In this Europe-Eurovision of 37 colonies of Washington, under decadence and fear, everyone will want to ban everyone and everything. But the only ones who will be banned in the end will be us who dare to dream of another Europe.

A Europe that is peaceful, fair, developed and welcoming.

I say we don’t let them, what do you say?

I say let’s spoil their plans, do you agree?

I say we remain disobedient. Let’s disturb them. At a time when we’re protecting people and nature. In Europe North and South, East, Central and West.

In Palestine. In Ukraine. In Yemen. Syria. In Kashmir. In Greece.

  • Against the hyperactive Ursula, the crazed advocate of Palestinian genocide – a failed politician who has never seen a war without loving it.
  • Against the Quislings in Greece, in Italy, in Germany, in Ireland.

That is why we are here tonight. To assert that

– Everything must be different.

– Everything can be different.

– But that nothing will change if with our vote and with our action we don’t build barricades to stop the war mongers, the oligarchs, their minions.

With your vote on Sunday, June 9, for our united initiative ‘MERA25 | Subversive Ecological Left’ you will seize your chance to protect yourself, to be heard, to annoy them.

Because in this Circus of Europe, the hope is you. And it is strong when you take a stand.

With your vote, with us, you take a stand – against them.

For the sake of People, Nature, Reason and Peace

Don’t miss the opportunity to bother them.

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