A report by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs published on Sunday, entitled “Terrorists in Suits” and dealing with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, alleges that numerous self-proclaimed rights groups have long-standing ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas, both US-designated terror organizations.
These ties have received little or no scrutiny from US authorities or the education system, enabling groups mentioned in the report, such as Samidoun and Addameer, to operate unchecked on college US campuses.
In 2016, for example, Samidoun, also known as Samidoun-Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, co-hosted an event at New York University titled “New York reception welcomes prisoner advocacy leaders from Palestine.”
Earlier the same year, the organization co-hosted an event titled “Repression & Resistance: Palestinians in Political Detention" at John Jay College in Manhattan.
In 2017, Samidoun again co-hosted an event at UCLA’s School of Public Affairs titled “A Talk on Palestinian Prisoners Day."
In addition to holding events on campuses, Samidoun regularly co-hosts events and co-sponsors petitions with multiple pro-Palestinian student groups.
The events were able to proceed despite the group’s open support for terrorists and terror organizations, much of which can be found on social media.
In 2015, for example, Joe Catron, Samidoun’s US Coordinator, sent Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah a public Twitter message: “Nasrallah my friend, attack, attack Tel Aviv,” the report says.
“A Samidoun activist was trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as delivered funds he received in Syria and Lebanon to PFLP activists in Belgium,” it added.
The evidence presented in the report raises the question of whether designated terror organizations are gaining a strong foothold inside colleges by using movements campaigning under the banner of human rights as a tool for promoting their own agenda.
Other examples of rights groups given unfettered access to US campuses include Addameer, whose official raison d'être is to advocate for Palestinian prisoners.
According to the Israeli ministry’s report, “Addameer was founded by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, many of whom were convicted of terrorist activity, with the mission to support and advocate on behalf of Palestinian prisoners.”
In August 2018, Barnard College in New York hosted Addameer, a Ramallah-based movement. The organization’s director, Shahar Francis, also travels to the US to speak on various US campuses despite Addameer’s connections to US-designated terror groups.
“The NGO, which promotes the BDS campaign against the State of Israel, continues to maintain significant ties with the PFLP,” the report noted about Addameer.
“These ties include members of the NGO who are simultaneously members of the PFLP, legal representation of PFLP members charged with terrorism offenses (some of whom also hold positions in the NGO), and joint campaigns with the PFLP,” it continued.