New Mexico congregation Nahalat Shalom Congregation, part of the Jewish Renewal movement, agreed to host an event on Tuesday that involves the screening of an anti-Israel film, funded by an organization that Israel has deemed a terrorist organization. The congregation did not respond to queries by The Jerusalem Post as to whether the event happened or not.
A group of anti-Israel and anti-American organizations, including the Israeli-designated terror group Samidoun, publicized they would be hosting a “Nakba” event at Nahalat Shalom Congregation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, featuring the screening of a film made by Qatar’s Al-Jazeera Media Network.
Nakba Day is Palestinians’ commemoration of the “catastrophe” that befell them during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
What is the Israeli-designated terror group Samidoun?
Samidoun is designated by Israel as a terrorist group and a proxy of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terror group designated as such by the US, Canada, EU and Israel. This past week, PFLP terrorists in Gaza were involved in shooting rockets at Israeli civilians during Operation Shield and Arrow.
According to its website, “Nahalat Shalom is a welcoming, inclusive congregation that inspires understanding of the joys, practices and ethics of Judaism and nurtures spiritual growth.” The congregation is part of the Jewish Renewal movement and it sees itself as “a spiritual and cultural center for Jewish Renewal in the Southwest.” The congregation is a member of Aleph: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal.
According to their site, Jewish Renewal “combines the socially progressive values of egalitarianism, the joy of Hassidism, the informed do-it-yourself spirit of the Havurah [a small group of like-minded Jews who assemble for the purposes of facilitating Shabbat and holiday prayer services] movement and the accumulated wisdom of centuries of tradition.”
Several other countries have already addressed Samidoun’s problematic ties to the PFLP, with organizers who were detained and deported from the Netherlands and even barred from entering Germany.
According to NGO Monitor – an Israeli think-tank that tracks NGOs with anti-Israel sentiments – in 2021, the Israeli Defense Ministry designated Samidoun a terrorist organization and “a subsidiary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).” According to the Ministry, Samidoun was founded by “members of the PFLP in 2012,” and Khaled Barakat, identified by the PFLP as “coordinator” of Samidoun, “is involved with establishing militant cells and motivating terrorist activity in Judea & Samaria and abroad.”
Samidoun’s accounts on PayPal, Donorbox and Plaid have all been frozen and credit card companies Mastercard, Visa and American Express have blocked services to Samidoun. Their US fiscal sponsor, Alliance for Global Justice, has been cut off from using the online payment processing and donation platforms of Discover Card and Salsa Labs, all due to Samidoun’s ties with the PFLP.
Congregation to screen Nakba Day film
The Facebook event page for the screening said that the film was supposed to have been shown at Nahalat Shalom Congregation on Tuesday, May 16. “Join us for a screening of parts of the Al Jazeera documentary Al Nakba: The Palestinian Catastrophe followed by a discussion of what happened in Palestine in 1948. Light refreshments will be provided,” the posted notice reads.
Yet the screening wasn’t promoted on any of the social media platforms of the congregation and when the Post reached out in order to receive explanations or a comment, there was no response. The Post has also reached out to board members and employees of Nahalat Shalom, as well, to no response.