Members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) in the Gaza Strip, November 15, 2003. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)
Anyone who believes that anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel are exclusive to the extreme right would do well to observe the campaign for the September 9 elections in Sweden, in which politicians belonging to the Marxist-Leninist organization the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) are running for office on the increasingly popular socialist-feminist Left Party ticket.
The most prominent of these candidates is Said Hadrous, number 7 on the Left Party list. Hadrous, who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, is a member of the DFLP Central Committee and chairs the Palestinian lobby organization, Group 194, which is closely linked to the DFLP. On his Facebook page, in a post from 2013, Said Hadrous praises the DFLP terrorist Samer Issawi, convicted in Israel of possession of explosives and attempted murder. After being confronted recently by the Swedish newspaper, Världen Idag, about a 2016 photo on Facebook in which he appears dressed as a militant brandishing a weapon, Hadrous responded by referring to the paper as part of the "extremist racist Zionist media."
Another Left Party candidate in the upcoming elections, Dr. Ali Hadrous -- who is running for the Landskrona City Council -- is also a member of Group 194. On his Facebook page, he often shares posts showing sympathy with jailed Palestinian terrorists.
Then there is Osama Tamim, who was a high-ranking member of the DFLP in Syria and is now running for the Åmål City Council on the Left Party list. In November 2016, the Left Party branch in Åmål, together with Tamim and his organization, Amal Palestina, held a "day for integration," arranged partly to commemorate the UN's annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. At the event, held at an old church that was converted into a hall for political events, the chairman of the Left Party's Åmål branch, Peter Sund, told attendees that "it is global Zionism depleting the land [of Palestine]." Sund, too, is running in the upcoming municipal election in Åmål.
During the self-described "cultural event," children were taught to scream in Arabic that they will sacrifice themselves with their blood and souls "to liberate Palestine." They also sang a song in Swedish about "launching rockets at their enemies" and "throwing stones at soldiers and police" as well as "smashing Zionism." Tamim delivered a speech in which he praised the "intifada youths of Palestine, the young people confronting the occupation with their bare chests and household knives."
On his Facebook page -- under the name of Abofras Ta -- Tamim praises the Hamas terrorist, Abdul Hamid Srour, who in 2016 carried out a bus bombing in Jerusalem, wounding 20 Israelis. Two other terrorists praised on Facebook by Tamim are Fadi Aloon, who stabbed an Israeli youth during the so-called "knife intifada" of 2015, and Muhanad Halabi, who murdered two civilians and wounded two others, including a small child. According to Tamim, Aloon and Halabi are "correcting the compass," and their actions are "the path for our people until their rights have been restored."
Tamim also praised the Arab-Israeli terrorists who killed two border policemen, and wounded two others, in a July 2017 shooting attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem -- the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque.
In 2015, Tamim's organization, Amal Palestina, distributed to children in Åmål a booklet in Arabic -- called "I belong to Palestine" -- in which youngsters are portrayed favorably as instigators of violent activities; a child attacking Israeli soldiers with rocks is described as brave, for example. In addition, the booklet includes a map replacing the entire state of Israel with "Palestine," and in a chapter on the history of the land, only Muslim ties are mentioned, while the Jewish connection is omitted.
The Left Party is open about its connection to the DFLP, which it considers its sister party; and one member of the Left Party's local board in Malmö, Hussein Shobash, revealed in the Left Party magazine, Folkviljan, that he has a background in both the DFLP and in Group 194.
In 2015, Group 194 held an event during which children performed terror monologues and dialogues calling for stabbing attacks against Israelis, and expressing a desire to become "martyrs" through terrorist activities.
As recently as 2016, members of Group 194 and the DFLP – at an event at the Left Party headquarters in Malmö -- celebrated the 1974 Ma'alot Massacre, an attack committed by DFLP terrorists who entered Israel from Lebanon, murdering 27 people, including 23 children. In a Facebook post with photos of the event, Group 194 refers to the massacre as "the heroic operation of the heroes of the revolutionary armed forces of the DFLP in Ma'alot-Tarshiha."
Nima Gholam Ali Pour, a member of the Malmö Board of Education who is running for parliament on the Sweden Democrats list recently revealed in a piece for Gatestone:
"Group 194 was also given an award by the municipality of Malmö at a gala it organized, and has received contributions from various municipalities in Sweden for several years, including Sundsvall and Landskrona, where the municipality has a close cooperation with Group 194. When Landskrona had its official summer party, one of its organizers was Group 194."
As for the DFLP, which until 1999 was on the US State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, still operates as a terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, through its military wing, the Palestinian National Resistance Brigades (PNRB). On August 27, the Israel Defense Forces foiled an attack -- one of whose perpetrators was a PNRB operative -- in which terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israel and attack soldiers and civilians.
In a February 22 statement commemorating the 49th anniversary of its establishment, the DFLP declared on its website:
"Our path to unseat the occupation, dismember colonization, bring down 'The Deal of the Century' of a US Brand, and to provide our people with the possibilities of resistance and firmness in their struggle for their legitimate and inalienable national rights, is the path of the encompassing and coalitional common-goal national unity, it is the path of the unified and unifying national program, it is the path of the Intifada, resistance and the internationalization of the cause of Palestinian national rights."
In a post on Facebook on August 29, Lars Adaktusson, a Swedish member of the European Parliament for the Christian Democrats, said that the EU should designate the DFLP as a terrorist organization. He also wrote that the way in which the Left Party deals with anti-Semitism is "a betrayal of the Jews who have been persecuted and murdered for the sole reason that they were Jews." (A request for a comment from Left Party Secretary Aron Etzler so far has met with no response.)
According to a recent poll, the Left Party -- which reportedly has increased its national membership by 100% and its Åmål membership by 300% since 2012 -- now enjoys the support of 10.1% of Sweden's voters. It is therefore highly likely that members of an extremist anti-democratic group, which should be illegal in the EU, will gain seats in the Swedish parliament and on city councils. If so, another dark chapter in Sweden's failure to keep at bay anti-Semitism and violent extremism is about to be written.
Tobias Petersson is a Swedish freelance journalist.