World Jewish News
Leila Khaled, a member of a terrorist group blacklisted by the EU, speaks in the European Parliament
29.09.2017, Israel and the World
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) Transatlantic Institute, the AJC’s EU office, has called on European Parliament President Antonio Tajani to investigate how Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist Leila Khaled was allowed to speak his week in the Parliament despite the fact that the group is on the European Union’s list of terrorist organisations.
Khaled spoke in the EU parliament at a conference titled "The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Struggle" hosted by two Spanish MEPs, Angela Vallina and Javier Couso, of the European united Left group (GUE/NLG), which is composed of MEPs from extreme-left political parties in the EU, with the support of the Unadikum-International Solidarity Association and the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
In her inciteful speech, she glorified terrorism and trivialized the Holocaust. "Don’t you see a similarity between Nazi actions and Zionist actions in Gaza?," she declared. "While the Nazis were tried in Nuremberg, no one has ever tried the Zionists," she said. Other speakers at the conference included Sahar Francis, drector of a Palestinian NGO known as 'Addameer'' which is an affiliate of the PFLP, and Irish extreme-left MEP Martina Anderson, known for her anti-Israel and pro-BDS positions.
Leila Khaled, who is a member of the political bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and lives in Jordan, hijacked two aircraft in 1969 and 1970 on behalf of her terrorist group.
The Marxist-leaning PFLP has been a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization since 1997, and is also considered a terrorist group by Canada, Australia and Israel.
It has claimed responsibility for dozens of terror attacks since the late 1960s, including hijackings, bombings, suicide bombings, shootings and stabbings. More recent PFLP attacks include an axe, knife and gun attack in which four worshipers and a policeman were killed in a Jerusalem synagogue in 2014.
Last August, the EU Council confirmed the decision to put the FPLP on the EU list of terror groups.
In August 1969, Khaled and another PFLP terrorist hijacked a TWA flight en route from Rome to Athens and Tel Aviv, diverting it to Damascus where they blew up the Boeing 707’s nose section.
"It is an outrage that Leila Khaled, who hijacked two commercial airliners and is a member of the PFLP, an EU-designated terror group, was allowed to speak at the EU Parliament," said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute. "It was chilling to see a convicted terrorist be cheered on for her crimes by an elected official - far-left MEP Javier Couso Permuy. The fact that Parliament had only two weeks prior crucially voted to set up a special committee on terrorism makes the incident even more absurd."
"Only a few months after Parliament took the principled step of formally endorsing the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, Leila Khaled was given the opportunity, under the flag of the EU no less, to liken Israel's actions to the Holocaust, a textbook example of anti-Semitism," Schwammenthal added.
"We sincerely hope that the president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani will investigate this incident and take all measures at his disposal to sanction the MEPs involved". He also urged ‘’all democratic lawmakers to condemn her appearance.’’
Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor has recorded Khaled’s statements and sent official complaints. “We have been warning European governments for a long time that their money and resources are reaching radical political groups,” the organization said. “We hope that this event will serve as a milestone for change and will bring European institutions and governments to re-examine the policy of funding such organizations.”
Ironically, the conference which hosted Leila Khaled took place the same day of the presentation in the European Parliament’s premises of a book highlighting the need for the EU to learn on Israel’s experience to fight terrorism. ''Terror in Europe is not different from terrorism in Israel,'' stressed Polish MEP Anna Fotyga from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)Group.
Khaled is also scheduled to speak at two other events in Spain both of which are sponsored by the same far-left political group European United Left–Nordic Green Left. Israeli Knesset Member Yair Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party, has appealed to Spain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ildefonso Castro Lopez in demanding that his country forbid these events from taking place.