Controversy in Canada over resident's alleged Palestinian terrorism ties

Khalid Barakat, who lives in Vancouver, has been named by Israeli intelligence services as a leader of PFLP and is connected to the PFLP-affiliated NGO Samidoun.

 Palestinian militants from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) take part in a military show to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the group's founding, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 11, 2014.  (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Palestinian militants from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) take part in a military show to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the group's founding, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 11, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

The status of a man living in Canada alleged to be a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organization has become the topic of concern for the Canadian Jewish community and the subject of debate in the Canadian Senate after an exposé by The National Post.

Khalid Barakat, who resides in Vancouver, has been named by Israeli intelligence services as a leader of the PFLP, the Post’s Terry Glavin reported. Barakat has also been described as such by Palestinian news outlets, and at times, on the PFLP website. Supporters assert that he is a maligned Palestinian rights activist.

Debate in Canada's senate

“Khalid Barakat has been barred from the United States, he has been barred from Germany, yet the Trudeau government still allows this individual to remain in Canada, despite a Canadian law that forbids any individual with connections to terrorist organizations from entering our country or receiving Canadian Citizenship,” said Sen. Leo Housakos in a debate with Sen. Marc Gold, the representative of the government in the Senate. “Why does your government allow him to remain in the country?”

According to Glavin, Barakat has been banned from Germany.

“I’m very aware of the person you described and the story that appeared in the press,” said Gold, who is Jewish and heavily involved in Jewish and Israeli Canadian affairs. “I cannot comment on specific cases such as the one you identified. But everyone who may be ordered to be removed remains entitled under our system of justice to due process before the law and are subject to many levels of review and appeal.”

Police officers stand in line to separate protesters supporting Palestine from a small group of Israel supporters in front of city hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 15, 2021. (credit: CHRIS HELGREN/REUTERS)Police officers stand in line to separate protesters supporting Palestine from a small group of Israel supporters in front of city hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 15, 2021. (credit: CHRIS HELGREN/REUTERS)

Housakos, a member of the opposition Conservative Party, said: “I’m aware of this individual, you’re aware of this individual, I think it is high time that we make the government aware of the inherent dangers of this individual. Bnai Brith Canada has been raising this issue with your government for some time. They’ve provided intelligence about Barakat’s whereabouts in Canada as well as his involvement with this designated terrorist organization.

While in Canada, Barakat has published articles in which he calls for targeted terrorist attacks to be carried out against Israel and other Zionist targets beyond the Middle East,” he added. 

Bnai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn said in a statement following the Senate discussion: “We have provided the government with credible and convincing information, yet we have had no response. The recent National Post story has made the situation even more critical and more alarming. The government needs to act immediately and deport Khaled Barakat.”

“How is the Jewish community in Canada supposed to take seriously your government’s claim to be committed to fighting antisemitism if it allows this man to remain in Canada? Will your government do the right thing and order Barakat out of Canada? It’s not right, we have laws. Individuals of this nature should not be admitted into our country.”

Canadian Sen. Leo Housakos

Gold assured the public that the government takes the issue of antisemitism and allegations of this kind seriously.

Connection to Samidoun

The National Post also highlighted Barakat’s connection to the NGO Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, which is listed by Israel as an affiliate of the PFLP. Despite the ostensible connections to the PFLP, Samidoun is a registered not-for-profit corporation in Canada. Barakat’s wife is listed as one of Samidoun’s Canadian directors, Glavin reported, but Samidoun insisted that Barakat was not a member.

Canadian flag (credit: PIXABAY)Canadian flag (credit: PIXABAY)

Following the exposé, Samidoun released a statement saying it “condemns in the strongest terms the smear campaign targeting Palestinian Canadian leftist writer and community organizer Khaled Barakat as well as the work of Samidoun, by the right-wing National Post, intentionally forwarding the agenda of pro-Israel lobby organizations in Canada.”

The Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs said in a statement, “The links between the PFLP, a listed terrorist entity in Canada, and Samidoun are clear. We reiterate our calls for Public Safety Canada to list Samidoun as a terrorist entity.”

Mostyn said, “Samidoun also needs to be decertified as a corporation immediately, and it should never have been certified in the first place.”

Glavin reported that Samidoun’s partner organization in France, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, was disbanded by a government decree.

A history of violence

Samidoun was affiliated with the April 25 rally in Toronto in which protesters cheered breaking news of rocket attacks on Israel and praised the deadly terrorism wave that recently gripped the Jewish state. Speakers expressed a desire to destroy the state and claimed that Jews had no connection to the Temple Mount.

The PFLP is a Marxist Palestinian terrorist organization founded in 1967. Notable members include Rasmea Odeh and Leila Khaled. In October, several NGOs besides Samidoun were listed as affiliates of the organization. The National Post noted that a 2014 PFLP terrorist attack in Jerusalem killed a Toronto-born rabbi, Howie Rothman.