Terror-designated NGO and Jewish NGO rally to release PFLP terrorist head

PFLP secretary-general Ahmad Sa’adat was sentenced to 30 years for leading the PFLP and masterminding the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.

 Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) celebrate the decision of the Palestinian Authority's High Court, which ordered the release on Monday their leader Ahmed Sa'adat, out side the court in Gaza Strip June 3, 2002. (photo credit:  REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah AJ/CRB)
Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) celebrate the decision of the Palestinian Authority's High Court, which ordered the release on Monday their leader Ahmed Sa'adat, out side the court in Gaza Strip June 3, 2002.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah AJ/CRB)

A rally calling for the release of Popular Front for Palestine (PFLP) secretary-general Ahmad Sa’adat from an Israeli prison is set to be held in New York City on January 22, and is being organized by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Samidoun, a Palestinian NGO designated by Israel as a PFLP affiliate.

"Join our collective call for the freedom of Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners. Take action to escalate the boycott of Israel, end aid and support to Israel, organize for justice in Palestine and resist imperialism and colonialism," Samidoun wrote on a Facebook event page.

The event will be held on 5th avenue, on the street in front of a social center and the offices of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) at 2pm. AAANY says they are not associated with the event.* AAANY says they are not associated with the event. A similar rally will be held in Vancouver, Canada on the following day. The rallies are part of a week-long campaign led by Samidoun to mark the 20th anniversary of Sa'adat's arrest by the Palestinian Authority. 

"Sa’adat is a leader in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and the Palestinian national liberation movement and a Palestinian, Arab and international symbol of resistance to Zionism, capitalism, racism, apartheid and colonization,"

Samidoun wrote on the campaign page, "Targeted for his political role and clarity of vision, he remains unsilenced and unbroken, despite the oppression imposed upon him and 4,650 fellow Palestinian political prisoners."

Sa’adat was sentenced in 2006 to 30 years in prison for leading the PFLP and for masterminding the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001. PFLP has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US Department of State since 1997.

"Ahmed Sa'adat has been unjustly imprisoned by the Zionist entity since 2006 for his crime of never renouncing the struggle against imperialist colonial aggression," tweeted Samidoun's New York and New Jersey chapter.

MEMBERS of Jewish Voice for Peace demonstrate in New York in 2015. (Courtesy) (credit: Courtesy)MEMBERS of Jewish Voice for Peace demonstrate in New York in 2015. (Courtesy) (credit: Courtesy)

The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, which advocates for the release of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, was designated as a part of the PFLP in February 2021.

In January 2020 several credit card companies including Mastercard, Visa and AmEx and online donation platforms including Donorbox, Paypal and Plaid, ceased allowing donations to the NGO through their platform after being presented with evidence of the group's connection to PFLP.

In 2019, Samidoun coordinator and alleged senior PFLP member Khaled Barakat was issued a four-year travel ban by Germany

The issue of NGOs and PFLP affiliation made headlines in October 2021 when Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Union Of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) were classified by Israel as PFLP branches. The move was widely criticized, including the US State Department which demanded more information on the designation. 

JVP's New York chapter and Samidoun will be joined at the rally by Within Our Lifetime (WOL) and the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM).  

WOL is headed in part by Nerdeen Kiswani, who recently expressed support of the attack on a Brooklyn Jew who had been wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with an IDF logo.

PYM has been involved in other events celebrating PFLP members, such as a 9/11 panel in 2021 that featured hijacker Leila Khaled.

JVP — which describes itself as an antizionist, Pro-BDS and left-wing Jewish organization  — also had two chapters that sponsored the 2021 panel with Khaled. 

*Correction: A previous version of this article made it seem that AAANY was hosting and involved in the rally. The rally is being held on the street and is not hosted by AAANY.