Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Solidarity Campaign Launch

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On Wednesday, July 1 at 7pm the Workers Party’s Christchurch branch will be hosting the local launch of our national campaign of material support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The event will be taking place at the WEA, 59 Gloucester St.

The film “Leila Khaled: hi-jacker”, about one of the leading figures of the PFLP, will be shown and there will be a couple of short speeches about the situation in Israel/Palestine and a message from the PFLP will be read.

This film about a Palestinian woman hijacker challenges our assumptions
about those who resort to violent means in response to oppression and gives us access to the politics of one of the most troubled regions of the twentieth century. It also complicates the current discourse on Islam and terrorism by its deliberation on the meanings of terms such as “terrorist”, interrogating and asking if one person’s terrorist could be another’s freedom fighter. Especially relevant in the context of today’s highly polarized conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine

The new solidarity t-shirts which we have produced to raise funds for the PFLP will be on sale. All profits from the t-shirts, which will sell for $30, are going to the PFLP.

The PFLP is a secular socialist movement for the liberation of Palestine. It’s the second-largest component of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation). Unlike Fatah, the largest group in the PLO, the PFLP doesn’t receive funds from western governments to sell out the struggle; unlike the Islamist groups, it doesn’t get funding from right-wing Arab regimes to promote an Islamic republic in place of the existing state of Israel. Instead, the PFLP fights for the emancipation of the Palestinians and a society in which Jewish and Palestinian people can live on an equal basis, advancing to socialism.

We support the PFLP calls for:

1- A demand to the international community for the immediate lifting of the PFLP from the so called “terrorist list “in the EU and North America. This is an important and historical task for all progressive movements, for our resistance and it is a battle that we must win against capitalism and imperialism.

2- The immediate release from an Israeli jail of comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, General Secretary of the PFLP. Sa’adat has been held in Israeli prisons since March 14, 2006 and he was transferred to Al Majdal (Asqlan) prison where he is in solitary confinement.

28 Responses to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Solidarity Campaign Launch

  1. Tim B says:

    An excellent and welcome initiative.

    Unfortunately work committments mean that I will not be able to attend this campaign launch, but I wish the comrades all the best with it.

  2. pfip says:

    Greetings to you from a proud Palestinian from the Gaza Strip, Habib

    Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

    A tribute to you and this party are supporting the great

    Sons of Ahmed Saadat, and George Habash, Abu Ali Mustafa

    Salute you and we will keep on the path

  3. Paul Drake says:

    All the best I hope that it goes well. the NZ public need to hear the palestinian side of the story.

    Next time an event like this is on at the WEA send me an email ekard(at)slingshot.co.nz and I will spread the word.

    Cheere

    PD.

  4. Andrew says:

    This does not recognise the fact that the PFLP have now become a terrorist organisation that has carried out suicide bombings.

  5. Byron says:

    Andrew, if you’re going to make wild accusations without providing proof you will be considered a troll.

  6. Andrew says:

    In 2004 they carried out a suicide bombing in a market place in Tel Aviv which killed 3 Israeli civilians. There are others as well.

    Check it out on the wikipedia page.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PFLP

  7. John Edmundson says:

    Yes, Andrew, the PFLP have launched a small number of suicide attacks, but what does that mean? How many Palestinian civilians have died in market places or on the streets, or in their homes? What exactly defines a terrorist Andrew? Who was being targeted in the tiny number of suicide attacks attributed to the PFLP? It is very easy for people who are not under attack from one of the world’s most powerful armies, who are not seeing their families killed, who are not having to face arrest and detention without trial, who are not faced with watching their children die for want of medicine, in short, it it easy for people who are not suffering a brutal sixty year occupation to cry “terrorist” when a couple of the occupiers die. But go away and look at the numbers of dead in this conflict before you start leveling the accusation of “terrorist” at the PFLP because some people have died, some of whom, given the militarised nature of the occupying Israeli state, were quite possibly off duty soldiers.
    Cheers,
    John

  8. Michael Walker says:

    “In 2004 they carried out a suicide bombing in a market place in Tel Aviv which killed 3 Israeli civilians. There are others as well.”

    The PFLP Leadership have always condemned suicide bombings. There have been instances when younger members more recently have used this tactic but it is certainly not a “PFLP” tactic.

    This was pointed out in a recent court case in Denmark, where activists had been arrested for funding the PFLP, not by the defence but by the prosecutions expert, who had to admit that the PFLP where “one of the only armed organisations in Palestine that refuse to use suicude bombings as a tactic”

    I would also question the validity of Wikipedia as a source Andrew. If you are going to level these sorts of accusations I would think that using google to search for “PFLP” then clicking on the first link, Wikipedia, is not an appropriate way to research or back up your accusations.

  9. joel says:

    Andrew. Umkhonto we Sizwe the armed wing of the ANC (with the full knowledge of the ANC Leadership including Oliver Tambo then ANC President), set off a car bomb in a crowded intersection killing 19 while wounding more over 200. You going to write off the ANC?

  10. Andrew says:

    So what you are saying John, is that resistance should be able to mirror the brutality of the occupier? They do it, we can too.

    Many of the marxist classics have condemned terrorism as futile.

    As for the ANC they were a mass organisation with massive support. Operations against civilians were the exception rather than the rule.
    So they should not have been abandoned.

    They PFLP have been somewhat consistent in their embrace of attacks against civilians.

  11. Alastair Reith says:

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that the suicide bombing tactic is a poor one, but in any conflict between revolutionary organisations of the oppressed (like the PFLP) and the state forces of the oppressor (IDF etc) civilians will be caught in the crossfire and killed. Mistakes will be made and innocents will be killed - in the heat and tension of a militarised struggle mistaken lines can be held. The Bolsheviks killed countless civilians in the course of the Civil War, and the Red Army and it’s commanders operated with absolute ruthlessness. They couldn’t have operated in any other way. Lenin set up the Cheka which probably made mistakes in its overall succesful campaign against counter-revolution. That’s just life. Should we write off the Bolsheviks because of this? I don’t think so, and the same appleis to the PFLP, who represent the most ideologically and practically advanced communist group in occupied Palestine.

    You cannot write off an entire group or movement and everything it represents because of one tiny aspect of it’s operations.

  12. Alastair Reith says:

    “So what you are saying John, is that resistance should be able to mirror the brutality of the occupier? They do it, we can too.”

    It’s not about mirroring the brutality of the occupier. It’s about recognising that violence is an integral and entirely necessary part of revolutionary struggle, particulaarly in so militarized a situation as that of Palestine. Incidentally I have yet to see any reports of the IDF carrying out suicide bombings, so your claims that this represents the PFLP “mirroring” the tactics of the oppressor is somewhat ludicrous. The only way you could argue that the PFLP mirrors the methods of the occupier is through the fact that they both employ violence, and tthe conclusion that follows from this is that in your opinion any form of violent action carried out by revolutionary groups such as the PFLP is them mirroring the ‘brutality of the occupiers’. Perhaps you should explain yourself more clearly.

    “As for the ANC they were a mass organisation with massive support. Operations against civilians were the exception rather than the rule.
    So they should not have been abandoned.”

    The PFLP are by far the largest and most popular Palestinian Marxist organisation.

    “They PFLP have been somewhat consistent in their embrace of attacks against civilians.”

    OK Andrew now your being ridiculous. You can perhaps criticise the PFLP for their use of suicide bombings as an occasional tactic, but you are living in fairy land if you think you can claim that such operations represent the norm for them as an organisation. The majority of their military operations are taken against Israeli military targets, reactionary political figures and Israeli settlers.

  13. John Edmundson says:

    I think you are well aware Andrew that you are putting words into my mouth. But just to be clear, what I am saying is:

    1) that the brutality and violence of the Israelis dwarfs any incident you can cite of a PFLP action you or I may disapprove of.

    2) that it is the right of the Palestinian people to chose the method of their resistance.

    3) that “terrorism” is such a subjective and debased term that it should be used with extreme caution.

    4) that even acts that might superficially fit the definition of “terrorist” are not necessarily so.

    Palestinians have, quite legitimately in my opinion, asked why a suicide bombing is defined as terrorism when an F16 rocket strike is not. There are two issues wrapped up in this, one “moral”, the other political. Firstly, the civilian death toll from suicide bombings is much much lower than that from Israeli air strikes, making the claim of “terrorist” in only the case of the suicide bombing absurd. Secondly, people undergoing oppression/occupation/exploitation have the right to resist. A brutal and violent occupation invites a violent response. Whether that is “terrorist or not is more subjective than objective, but regardless, their right to resort to violence is entirely legitimate - hence the PFLP slogan “Resistance is not terrorism”. The violence of the Israelis is for the purpose of enforcing their will and their domination over the land and people of Palestine. It is completely illegitimate. Both have validity in my opinion but ultimately the political one is the more important. So the idea that Palestinian violence “mirrors” that of the Israelis is a red herring at best, a distortion of the facts and an invalidation of the Palestinian struggle at worst.

    For several years when I was younger, I saw myself as a pacifist. The liberation struggles in Africa and Latin America made me reassess that position. Every one of those struggles was branded terrorist, whether the Sandinistas, one of whose first acts upon gaining power was to abolish capital punishment, or the Mau Mau in Kenya, whose resistance to British colonialism was met with torture and castration. That one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter may be cliche, but it is also fundamentally true. While I may not approve of every action carried out by the Palestinian resistance, and while I may wish they didn’t do certain things because it would make my life, and advocacy for them, easier over here in New Zealand, at least I know, unequivocally, whose side I am on.
    Cheers,
    John

  14. Andrew says:

    First of all a disclaimer that I am not a pacifist.
    I support the right of the palestinians to resist the Israeli state with violence. I oppose the completely counterproductive and insane tactic of suicide bombing.

    There is a difference between civilians being caught in the crossfire and civilians being deliberately targeted.

    The PFLP haven’t renounced suicide bombings against civilians, they have consistently upheld them.

    Organisations with greater tactical sophistication have had greater success such as the Chinese Communist Party during their liberation war.

    The PLA didn’t go around causing more carnage that necessary. But civilians were killed. This I understand. It’s war, as Alastair Reith is so fond of saying.

    I wonder what the Chinese masses would have though if the PLA went around blowing up market places in Nanking.

    One of the appealing characteristics of the PLA was that they were as humane as possible to their people in the liberated areas as well as to their enemies.

  15. John Edmundson says:

    Well I guess “[going] round blowing up market places” strikes me as a pretty inaccurate characterisation. Did you read Michael Walker’s post above? Even the prosecution in the Danish case had to concede that the PFLP maintain a pretty high standard.

    I agree that the PLA set a pretty high standard too but I don’t think you can simply draw that sort of comparison. There are so many differences. The PLA was not fighting it’s war, even at its worst moments, in such an unbalanced struggle. That’s not to take anything away from the PLA’s struggle, which was obviously an inspirational one, but just to say conditions in Israel are very different.
    Cheers,
    John

  16. Joel says:

    //I wonder what the Chinese masses would have though if the PLA went around blowing up market places in Nanking.//

    Good question, who knows? There aren’t many chinese left who were around then to pose that hypothetical question to. But trying to compare and contrast the PFLP and the Japanese army’s rape of Nanking (which I assume is behind the reference to Naking) is actually totally out of context.

    If as a result of what happened in 1937, some Chinese Communists went and blew themselves up at a cafe full of Japanese officers, I wonder what the Chinese masses would have thought.

  17. Mike Walker says:

    “The PFLP haven’t renounced suicide bombings against civilians, they have consistently upheld them.”

    Andrew, one of the sources (Amnesty International Report) for PFLP suicide bombings in the Wikipedia article you reference states

    “However Al-Hayat has reported that a meeting of leaders of Palestinian organizations split over the issue of ‘martyrdom’ operations – the representative of the PFLP and other ‘left-wing organizations’ were said to have opposed such attacks, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives remained committed to ‘continue the resistance in all its forms.’ ”

    I also mentioned the court case in Denmark. Where do you get the idea that the PFLP has upheld suicide bombings as a tactic?

  18. Vidrohi says:

    Greetings from Pakistan.

    I find the solidarity initiative of the WPNZ remarkable. I have a small request, comrades. Can you please let me know if the film is available on-line? If so, we can also show it over in Pakistan.

  19. Andrew says:

    I was actually referring to the Nanking government of Chiang Kai Shek that the communists were fighting against.

    I’ll try to find a better source for the PFLP suicide bombings.

  20. John Edmundson says:

    Andrew wrote:
    “I’ll try to find a better source for the PFLP suicide bombings.”

    Why? Does the report *you* linked to (the Amnesty International report on Wikipedia - hardly partisan in favour of the PFLP) not count as valid anymore? No one has denied that the PFLP has carried out suicide bombings in the past but they have since disavowed the tactic. What exactly are you trying to prove by “try[ing] to find a better source”.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to discourage you from doing research into the PFLP or any other issue, but as someone who is “not a pacifist” and “support[s] the right of the palestinians to resist the Israeli state with violence”, why the determination to attack the PFLP? Is there a Palestinian group out there that you consider more worthy?
    Cheers,
    John

  21. Asher says:

    “some people have died, some of whom, given the militarised nature of the occupying Israeli state, were quite possibly off duty soldiers.”

    That’s a really poor (and politically pathetic) argument to make John - while I certainly have disagreements with the WP’s support for the PFLP, I can understand your position coming from your political perspective - the same does not go for the bit I quoted above however.

    You can say it was a mistake, you can say it was not endorsed by the leadership, you can say it was a poor choice of target, you can even agree with it if you want - but to defend an attack on civilians on the basis that some of them might have been off duty soldiers is a shoddy argument. (Also, FWIW, it’s important to remember the usual argument of class-struggle revolutionaries around conscripts, because that’s what the vast majority of IDF soldiers are. Leftists tend to forget this when talking about Israel.)

  22. John Edmundson says:

    I wasn’t defending the action, I was trying to bring a bit of perspective. I was pointing out that a tiny number of Israelis have died in PFLP suicide bombings. I don’t approve of suicide bombing, but not because it’s “terrorism”, rather because it is a callous waste of the life of the bomber. I don’t approve of attacks targeting civilians but I don’t trust Israeli claims as to who is a civilian. For the record, I don’t agree with the detonating of a suicide bomb amongst civilians in a market in Tel Aviv. But neither do the PFLP. They have made their position clear and independent sources (eg Amnesty International) have recognised this.

    I’d be more interested in hearing more about the “disagreements with the WP’s support for the PFLP” that you “certainly have”.
    Cheers,
    John

  23. Asher says:

    “I’d be more interested in hearing more about the “disagreements with the WP’s support for the PFLP” that you “certainly have”.”

    It’s the standard anarchist-communist internationalist, anti-national liberation argument that I’m sure you’ve heard/read a thousand times before…I don’t really think we need to go over it again, we can agree to disagree.

  24. arab muslim says:

    The Zionist enemy will remain the Zionist enemy, because the existence of this entity in the heart of the treacherous
    The Arab-Muslim world is a big mistake, because this entity is not involved with the Arab world
    Islamic basic characteristics of the Arab-Muslim world (religion, language, customs and traditions)
    Thus the existence of this entity in the Arab world will remain constant tension in the Middle East.
    The only solution to end the problem of the Middle East and the world’s problem is to unite the Arab and Islamic countries
    Ministry of Defence and one common to all Arab and Islamic countries and the expulsion of Jews from Palestine, all of
    Palestine, because Palestine Arab Islamic state and will remain forever, God willing,

  25. AB says:

    You guys can play your little games here in New Zealand while the Israelis deal with the daily reality of living with their Arab neighbours. The above perception is a realness you cannot understand until you live under it. Best of luck with your meeting, hope the scones are fresh and see you in Gaza sometime soon.

  26. John says:

    The people of Israel are going to have to get used to “the daily reality of living with their Arab neighbours” because they are not going to go away. So a durable and genuine peace is what is required. I’m sure we’d both agree on that.

    So what shape can the peace take?

    It could be based on the total domination by Israel of as much territory as it can hold. That “solution” would result in perpetual war or fear of war because entire communities would be under occupation. Essentially that’s the current model. Such basic concepts as justice don’t enter into the picture under this approach.

    It could be based on the current 2-state proposal or a variation on it. This essentially means the Palestinians get about 22% of British Mandate Palestine and the Israelis get 78%. Palestine is comprised of mostly poor discontiguous areas of land. The West bank settlements would probably not be dismantled but even if they were, many Palestinians would be perpetually deprived of the right to return to the homes from which they or their relatives were expelled during the 1948 war. I can’t see this bringing lasting peace either.

    It could be based on the extension of equal rights to all, regardless of race or religion, in one state encompassing all of historic Palestine. There are organisations, such as the PFLP, advocating that approach. Of course it wouldn’t be easy but I know which one I think offers the possibility of lasting peace and justice in the Middle East.
    Cheers,
    John

  27. arab muslim says:

    The existence of the Zionist entity in the heart of the Arab-Muslim is in itself a strange
    Because the Zionist entity is not shared with the Arab world, anything that characteristics such as religion, customs
    Traditions and language. The existence of Israel within the Arab world is a big mistake, and constant tension
    In the Middle East also note since 1948. Such as the entry of foreign objects inside the human body begins
    Body fever, tension and fatigue and to ensure even go out foreign objects.
    To all Arab and Islamic countries to form the Ministry of Defence and one common to all States and the expulsion of the Jews
    From the Middle East. This is the best choice for Arabs and Jews in that one because he Bjrdasiraiil within the Arab world
    Will feel the Arab world would not be true of the world would not be true of the Jewish people will never feel the stability and comfort, but if
    Came out of Palestine, all Palestine greetings to all

  28. arabmuslim says:

    This is the Zionist terrorism
    There is no state called Israel. State of thieves called Israel a basis of the displacement and killing of Innocent nation of thieves basis bloodshed and war And the arrest of people for tens of years to prevent him from claiming The right to life . basis steal the land of the Palestinian people And then steal the land of the Arab-Muslim the entire .State of the thieves do not know the law ….. Does not recognize the law of the United Nations, a state that considers itself above the law . the law is the siege of Gaza And the bloodshed and destruction of houses and killing innocent people and occupying the country This is a country named Israel thieves.This is the Zionist terrorism

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