Countering radicalisation and hatred spread by extremist organisations active in the European Union: THE SPANISH CASE
Spain has been historically a hotbed for anti-Israel, antisemitic extremism, with local branches and representatives of Palestinian terrorist groups active in the country.
The local fringe political groups in Spain, that operated in university circles and provided coverage to that extremist ideology and their agenda, gained prominence in 2014-15 with the formation of Podemos, a far left coalition based on Venezuela’s Chaves ideology. Most of its leaders had political and economic backing, as well as hands-on violent revolutionary experience, provided by Venezuela.
Even more concerning, as proven by police reports submitted to the courts, and subsequently admitted by the party itself, the emergence of Podemos was funded with millions of Euros provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As this political group obtained electoral representation and power through leftish coalitions in municipalities and regional governments in Spain, we experienced a wave of discriminatory motions being promoted by local authorities throughout the country. Those initiatives, passed on over a hundred cases, including large cities and whole regions, called to exclude Israeli citizens and companies, but also Spanish citizens with public proximity to the Jewish state, from any public contract, generally, preventing their engagement in the cultural, sports of civic life in those territories.
So far, ACOM has won almost 90 cases in Spanish Tribunals (and lost none) over that extreme form of discrimination exercised from the state against a minority, and even the Supreme Court sentenced that BDS declarations made by local governments with the support of Podemos, Socialists, and Catalan and Basque separatists, were unconstitutional and discriminatory.
As Podemos now forms part of the national government in Spain, its extreme form of antisemitic activism permeates the government actions. We must remember that Podemos’ leader and former Vice-President in Spain’s Socialist-led government, Pablo Iglesias, worked for years in Hispan Tv, the Iranian Broadcasting corporation channel in Spanish, until the day he was sworn in as number two in PM’s Pedro Sanchez administration. In those programs he anchored, the traditional cliches of Jewish world domination were perfectly common.
Through this period, this governing party has kept tight relationships with Palestinian terrorist organisations. Laila Khaled, famous airplane hijacker and member of the directorate of the PFLP, in the list of terrorist organizations of the EU and Spain, was invited by Podemos’ Ada Colau’s Barcelona City council, and her terrorist activity glorified.
As we succeeded countering the BDS movement applying the constitutional rule of law in Spain, we have noticed a radicalisation of that movement. The control has moved from the original university activists to a much more violent group of individuals associated with the Samidoun movement. Their leaders have very close ties with active terrorist groups, their rhetoric exudes armed struggle terminology, and their most recent actions speak to an escalation that looks to import Middle East conflicts to Europe.
The Spanish branch of Samidoun is one of the most active internationally and, as mentioned, it enjoys close proximity and support from Unidas Podemos, partners in PM Sanchez’s coalition government. That branch was founded by Jaldía Abubakra in 2020.
Among Samidoun Spain‘s branch recurring supporters with known terrorist links we find Majed Dibsi (European representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – PFLP that, in spite of being a prominent member of a declared terrorist organization, moves around freely in Spain); Liliana Córdova (allegedly interrogated by the Israeli police in 1974 for hosting in Haifa her boyfriend, Nashi Darwish, wanted for terrorism); Mussa ‘ab Bashir (arrested in 2007 in Israel for his relationship with the PFLP and for attempted murder); or Baha Alkhateeb (who participated in the 2014 Gaza operation fighting in the tunnels). Some openly, and others keeping a low profile, these individuals inspire some of its most extreme tactics to the promoters of this movement.
We should also mention the trip that the so-called Ghassan Kanafani Brigade, an “elite” group within Samidoun, made to Lebanon in July 2021, where its members established links with terrorist leaders of the PFLP and Hezbollah, in preparation for the launch of the so-called Palestine Alternative Route Masar Badil, an increasingly fanatical Samidoun offspring.
This “Palestinian Alternative Route Masar Badil” emerged in Madrid in 2021. It opposes the Oslo agreements, as well as the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority. It aims to resume the “armed struggle” by unifying all the Palestinian “resistance” groups, as well as engaging the Palestinians who live in the diaspora in a “global intifada”. The leaders and activists of Masar Badil are the same as those of Samidoun.
In recent marches in Madrid, its activists chanted slogans in Arabic like “That’s how Ghassan [Kanafani] taught us, the target is everywhere!”. Ghassan Kanafani was a relevant member of the PFLP, and the idea that “the target is everywhere” is aligned with the goals of the Masar Badil group associated to Samidoun: extending the so called “resistance” in all its forms (including the armed resistance) to Europe and all around the world.
Other relevant members of Samidoun Spain are Daniel Lobato (co-founder of Unadikum -an organization at the core of the BDS movement that receives every year hundreds of thousands of Euros in public subsidies from the central and local governments in Spain-. He is the coordinator of the international brigades to Palestine and works as an international analyst and correspondent of the Iranian TV network in Spanish, HispanTV); or the infamous Manuel Pineda (member of the European Parliament for Unidas Podemos, co-founder of Unadikum, and brigadist in Gaza in 2014 with links with terrorist leaders of Hamas). Among other leaders of Samidoun Spain, many of Palestinian extract, we have detected close links with the PFLP and Lion’s Den terrorist groups. These individuals have also adopted the “armed struggle“ rhetoric, as well as taken advantage of means facilitated by the Unidas Podemos party in Spain to indoctrinate young Palestinians living in the country.
A recent evidence of the radicalisation of the BDS movement under the leadership of Samidoun is the violent action organized only a few weeks ago at the Complutense University of Madrid on the occasion of the presence of the Israeli ambassador for a conference. Samidoun known activists such as Jaldía Abubakra, Daniel Lobato, Judit Rodríguez and Sami Khalaf, among others, participated, displaying prominently flags of that group. As a result of that action, the Ambassador suffered an attempted physical assault, which led to clashes with her security detail and the Police.
In summary, our conclusion is that Samidoun is part of the Palestinian terrorist group PFLP and have links with other terrorist groups such as Lion’s Den and Hezbollah. Supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran, its goal is to import is fanatical methods to Europe and elevate several notches of violence to the activities of the BDS and other Palestinian movements in our continent. That makes Samidoun a clear and evident threat to public security. The links of its leaders to members of the Spanish government and the support provided to them from national and local government institutions is most concerning for the well-being and security of the Spanish Jewish minority.