(photo credit: REUTERS)
Earlier this month, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the murder of border policewoman Hadas Malka, who was killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on June 16.
On Thursday and Friday, a group with alleged ties to the PFLP was hosted at the UN’s headquarters in New York. Al-Haq participated in the “UN Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation.”
Shawan Jabarin, director of Al-Haq, a pro-BDS organization, is said to be active in the PFLP. In 2007, High Court justices were convinced of Jabarin’s ties with the PFLP after seeing confidential intelligence information presented to them by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). Based on that information, the court upheld the IDF’s refusal to grant Jabarin the right to leave Israel.
Then-justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote the court’s decision, noting that Jabarin “is apparently a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, acting some of the time as the CEO of a human rights organization, and at other times as an activist in a terrorist organization which has not shied away from murder and attempted murder, which have nothing to do with rights; rather, they violate the most basic right of them all, the most fundamental right that without which there are no other rights – the right to life.”
It is unthinkable that the UN, a body created to facilitate worldwide peace and solve conflicts through open communication among the nations of the world, would provide a venue to a group with ties to a terrorist organization. While freedom of expression and assembly are integral to open debate, these rights must not be extended to those affiliated with organizations that use violence and murder to intimidate and terrorize.
The best defense against Israel-bashing fests such as the “UN Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation” is a good offense. Organizers of these kangaroo courts must be exposed for what they are: supporters of nihilistic terrorist organizations. In the present atmosphere in UN forums, on college campuses and on social media, outlandish accusations are regularly leveled at Israel, a country compared implicitly or explicitly to Nazi Germany. When Israel is accused of committing ethnic purges or maintaining the Gaza Strip as a huge concentration camp, it is not particularly effective to point out that Israel is the Middle East’s most accommodating country for homosexuals or that Israel’s technologies are among the most demanded in the world or extol Israel’s rescue missions in Haiti.
Rather one must uncover those who make these pernicious claims for what they are: fellow travelers with organizations such as the PFLP, members of which took responsibility for the massacre of the Fogel family in 2011 and the pogrom in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood in 2014.
According to NGO Monitor, Al-Haq is not the only Palestinian nonprofit that has ties to the PFLP. Others include Addameer, the Alternative Information Center, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Health Work Committee, Stop the Wall, the Palestine Center for Human Rights, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
Jewish Voice for Peace, another group that took part together with Al-Haq in the UN forum, organized a 2017 National Member Meeting in April that featured Rasmea Odeh, a PFLP operative convicted of US immigration fraud after concealing her role in two terrorist bombings in Israel.
Slightly more surprising was the participation of former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, Joint List MK Aida Touma- Sliman and executive director of B’Tselem Hagai El-Ad.
How can we take these individuals’ calls for justice seriously when their ideological bedfellows are members of an organization that is willing to use suicide bombings and coldblooded attacks on civilians – including stabbing to death babies and little children as they sleep – to further their goals? The same question must be asked of NGOs that collaborate with Hamas, which like PFLP is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, the EU and Israel.
In April, during a speech to delegates at the World Jewish Congress’s plenary assembly while Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UN secretary-general said that he would be “on the front lines in the fight against antisemitism,” and promised to “make sure the UN is able to conduct all possible actions for antisemitism to be... eradicated from the face of the earth.” Guterres added that “a modern form of antisemitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist.”
It is time for Guterres to keep his promise.