BDS groups in Europe and North America took part in an event with the Iranian regime, leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups earlier this year.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh praised the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions organizations in his address at the Tehran event, saying: “We see good results to the work of our diaspora in raising awareness, cutting relations with the occupation and delegitimizing it.”
Two related events were broadcast simultaneously from Gaza and Tehran, on January 18, with the Gaza event called “Year to Confront Normalization” and the Iranian event called “Together Against Normalization.” Both Gazans and Iranians reiterated their opposition to the four Arab states,– the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, – which normalized relations with Israel last year.
One of the organizers of the Gaza event, Sheikh Yusuf Abbas, declared that their campaign “mainly aims to make everyone understand that normalization is treason.”
More than 60 organizations took part in the Gaza event, organized by The Global Campaign to Return to Palestine, a broad network including many BDS groups. Among the participants were Western groups, such as the US Palestinian Community Network, Malcolm X Grassroots effort in the US, Collectif Palestine Vaincra, in France, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sardegna Palestina in Italy, Palestinian Community in Belgium and Luxembourg, and International League of Peoples’ Struggles, based in Australia.
Haniyeh and Ziyad Nakhala, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, addressed the Tehran event, as did Speaker of the Iranian Islamic Consultive Assembly Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf, speakers of the parliaments of Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and the deputy speaker of Yemen’s legislature.
The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity organization, which is active in Europe and the US, also took part. Israel designated Samidoun a terrorist group this year, as it is a branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist group in the US, Canada, the EU and Australia.
One speaker at the Gaza event was Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia, who is noted for his antisemitic remarks, such as Jews are “hook-nosed” and “control the world by proxy.” Other participants included Aleida Guevara March, Che Guevara’s daughter, Tuhsar Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s great grandson, and Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson.
The Tehran event was aired on the pro-Hezbollah, Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen network, while the simultaneous Gaza event was partly on Facebook Live and partly on Al-Mayadeen, in a split screen with the Iranian event.