December 6, 2022
Doris Strub Epstein
Samidoun, the “ Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network,” is based in Vancouver and has chapters, and affiliates, with links worldwide. Since March 2021, Samidoun has registered as a not-for-profit organization in Canada. The organization advocates for “innocent” prisoners incarcerated in Israel’s jails. However, most of these prisoners are convicted terrorists on the payroll of Palestinian Authority President Abbas’s pay-for-slay program.
Samidoun is affiliated directly with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP, a listed terrorist entity in Canada. It has been staging anti-Israel events in Canada that are demonstrably detrimental to Canadian interests and values.
Samidoun’s Europe Coordinator, Mohammed Khatib said at a demonstration in Brussels in October, “Defeating Israel means defeating the US, defeating Israel means defeating Canada: this settlement that exists based on the Indigenous people and the Black People.” It also raises funds, runs advocacy programs, and organizes events on university campuses.
In February 2021, Israel designated Samidoun as a terrorist organization and identified it as an arm of the PFLP. A press statement adds that Samidoun was founded by “members of the PFLP in 2012 …and serves as a front for the PFLP abroad.”
Here in Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, CIJA, calls it “a security threat” and demands that the Canadian government list it as a terrorist entity. “The links between the PFLP, a listed terrorist entity in Canada, and Samidoun are clear,” CIJA states. We reiterate our calls … to list Samidoun as a terrorist entity.”
Running the organization is Khaled Baraket, a high-ranking member of the PFLP, which among other atrocities, was responsible for the 2014 massacre at a Jerusalem synagogue that left several congregants severely injured and five dead, including Torontonian Rabbi Howie Rothman.
Fifty-one-year-old Baraket has lived in Canada for nearly 20 years and presently resides in Vancouver. His wife, Charlotte, an American citizen, is listed as Samidoun’s Canada resident director. A New York Times article revealed that she was a communist Party member at age 13 and later an anti-Zionist activist who justified suicide bombings and talked about wiping Israel off the map.
Columnist Terry Glavin has written extensively on Baraket in the National Post and doesn’t doubt his leadership role in Samidoun. “His activities identify him as a key operative in the organization,” he writes.
Yet for years, Barakat travelled freely throughout Canada and Europe, speaking at rallies and meetings. In 2019, in Germany, he was deported for his violent, antisemitic rhetoric. Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron disbanded Samidoun’s partner organization in France, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, under its French security law. The law targets groups that “provoke discrimination, hatred or violence based on ethnicity, nationality, race or religion and engage in acts that incite terrorism.”
Barakat was in Madrid last October to help organize the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement conference, bringing together militants who reject the Palestinian Authority’s cooperation with Israel. Their motto is “resistance by any means necessary,” as the PFLP directs.
According to Glavin, the PFLP’s main financial and political backers are Syria’s Bashar Assad, Khomeinist Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
In February last year, Israel designated Samidoun as a terrorist organization and stated that Barakat is central to Samidoun’s operations. “Representatives of the organization are active in many countries in Europe and North America, led by Khaled Barakat, who is part of the leadership of PFLP abroad,” it wrote.
Three days later, on March 3, 2021, Samidoun was formerly registered by Canada as a not-for-profit organization.
Immediately after Glavin’s story appeared online, B’nai Brith Canada delivered a statement: “Canada’s dirty secret is finally out. For over two years, the Government of Canada has allowed a senior member of an antisemitic terror group to roam freely, contrary to Canadian law.”
On January 13, B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn sent a letter to PM Trudeau, declaring that Ottawa’s inattention was “inexcusable” and demanded that Samidoun’s registry be revoked and the organization dissolved.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, CIJA, similarly responded. “The links between the PFLP, a listed terrorist entity in Canada, and Samidoun are clear. We reiterate our calls … to list Samidoun as a terrorist entity.”
A report issued November 15, 2022, The Global Samidoun Network, provides examples of the activities of major Samidoun chapters and activists in Europe and North America. In Canada, it has branches in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Antisemitism is on the upsurge in Canada, becoming mainstream and unapologetically visible. Jews are much more likely to be the target of hate crimes in this country than Aboriginals, Blacks, Muslims, or any other minority group. According to Statistics Canada data. Organizations like Samidoun, operating with impunity, are contributors and a threat to all Canadians. The government must shut it down, strip its leaders of all authority, and expel them all.
Doris Strub Epstein is the co-Chair of CIJR – Toronto