Houston funds showing of film ‘lauding’ terrorist jailed for American death

Georges Abdallah was convicted of the murder of an American military attaché and an Israeli diplomat.

 Relatives of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah protest on airport road calling on France's President Nicolas Sarkozy to release him, upon Sarkozy's arrival in Beirut June 7, 2008.  (photo credit: REUTERS/JAMAL SAIDI)
Relatives of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah protest on airport road calling on France's President Nicolas Sarkozy to release him, upon Sarkozy's arrival in Beirut June 7, 2008.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JAMAL SAIDI)

The city of Houston funded the screening of a documentary film critics say glorifies terrorist Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, convicted of the murder of an American military attaché and Israeli diplomat, at the 15th annual Houston Palestine Film Festival on Saturday.

Funded by the Houston municipality through the Houston Arts Alliance, the festival screened Fedayin, le combat de Georges Abdallah (Fedayin, Georges Abdallah’s fight), which details his life.

“Promotional clips for the film make clear that its goal is to glorify Abdallah and his acts of terror, lauding him as a ‘prisoner of the Palestinian liberation movement’ who refused to ‘sell his principles,’” Bnai Brith Canada said of the documentary in 2021 when the film was set to be screened at the University of British Columbia.

According to the film’s official synopsis, it is not meant to be a “hagiography of Georges Abdallah, but rather aims to be a tool for better understanding of the political and social context in which Georges’ fight takes place.”

 Houston City Hall (credit: FLICKR) Houston City Hall (credit: FLICKR)

"[The movie] aims to be a tool for better understanding the political and social context in which Georges's fight takes place."

Film synopsis

Terrorists interviewed in the film

The film features interviews with violent political actors – convicted Action Directe terrorist Jean-Marc Rouillan, Combatant Communist Cells Belgian terrorist group leader Bertrand Sassoye and Abdallah’s brother Maurice, whom the film’s website describes as a “communist militant and an unwavering supporter of his brother’s cause.”

Activists with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organization, of which Abdallah was a member, were also interviewed in the documentary. Khaled Barakat has been named as a leader of the PFLP by Israeli intelligence services, is a leader of Masar Badil – the Alternative Palestinian Revolutionary Path Movement, and is allegedly a leader of the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, which was designated a PFLP arm by Israel in 2021.

His wife, Samidoun international coordinator Charlotte Kates, and the group’s European coordinator Mohammad Khatib were also interviewed.

Who is Georges Abdallah?

A PFLP member, Abdallah co-founded the Lebanese Revolutionary Armed Factions in 1980. He was sentenced to life in prison for the 1982 assassinations of US military attaché Lt.-Col. Charles R. Ray and Israeli diplomat Yaakov Bar-Simantov, which the film festival refers to as “political executions.”

The PFLP is designated a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department.

The film festival was also supported by the BIPOC Arts Network and Fund (BANF).

The Houston Palestine Film Festival, BANF and the City of Houston did not immediately respond to requests for comment.