Last week we reported on the calls in Parliament and from organizations led by B’nai Brith for the commencement of deportation hearings on Vancouver and Montreal based PFLP operative Khaled Barakat. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian is listed by Canada as a terrorist organization. It has taken responsibility for airplane hijackings, suicide bombings, the 2001 assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi and the 2014 massacre at a Jerusalem synagogue that left five worshippers dead including Toronto-born rabbi Howie Rothman and several severely injured. Yet Barakat, a highly-placed PFLP associate, has resided in Canada for some twenty years and travels in and out with impunity even though he has been deported from Germany and the United States. Last week’s demands related to the fact that the Trudeau government has not answered why there has been no action on Barakat even after B’nai Brith and Israeli intelligence services have briefed the highest levels of the Canadian government and provided extensive documentation on Barakat since January 2020. We encourage you to read last week’s first part of the Barakat story.
As much as we outlined his activities, there is another curious aspect to Barakat. Aside from the PFLP, he is also associated with an organization called the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, an organization Israeli intelligence agencies call a PFLP “proxy” that functions as the terror group’s overseas recruitment, fundraising and propaganda arm. Barakat’s wife, Charlotte Lynne Kates of Vancouver, is one of Samidoun’s three listed directors. On February 28 last year, Israeli Defence Minister Benjamin Gantz signed an order designating Samidoun a terrorist organization. In announcing the order, Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing 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. Barakat is involved with establishing militant cells and motivating terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and abroad.”
Despite this, three days later, on March 3, 2021, the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network was formally registered by the federal Corporations Canada agency under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. Samidoun’s address was listed as a post box on Commercial Drive, in East Vancouver. By then, the Israeli foreign ministry and B’nai Brith stated that the PFLP has “inexplicably been allowed to set up shop in Canada.”
In April 2021, Canadian officials were briefed on Barakat and Samidoun under the information-sharing terms of the 2014 Canada-Israel strategic partnership agreement. The meeting brought together more than 50 Israeli and Canadian officials, including representatives from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency. No,one in the Trudeau administration can say they “didn’t know.” Israeli Ambassador Ronen Hoffman said, “It’s highly alarming that modern terror organizations, in their tactics of concealment and disguise, have methodically adopted pseudonyms from the world of human rights and civil society organizations to hide behind.”
B’nai Brith chief executive officer Michael Mostyn in a January 12, 2022 letter sent directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, declared that Ottawa’s inattention was “inexcusable.” Mostyn says Samidoun’s registry should be revoked and the organization should be dissolved.
Last month, Samidoun’s partner organization in France, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra (CPV), was disbanded by a decree signed by French President Emmanuel Macron. The group’s dissolution was authorized under sections of the French security law banning groups that provoke discrimination, hatred or violence based on ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion and engage in acts that incite terrorism.
Shin Bet obtained PFLP documents during a raid of the PFLP’s offices in Ramallah that demonstrate that the PFLP expects its association with Samidoun to be clandestine. According to those documents, the connections in Canada are so close that that Barakat was reprimanded by the PFLP for insufficiently distancing the PFLP from Samidoun. One of the reasons for that is that in its filings with Corporations Canada, Samidoun listed three directors: Thomas Gerhard Hofland of Amstelveen, the Netherlands, Joe Catron, of Flushing, New York, and Barakat’s wife.
The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy says Kates is Samidoun’s “international coordinator,” and Barakat’s political activism is “functionally indistinguishable” from Samidoun’s campaigns. Indeed, Barakat’s “Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat,” is a Samidoun campaign. Barakat and Kates travel together in Europe, and Kates gives speeches at the same events that Barakat gives speeches.
All attempts at answers to the Barakats’ status have gone unanswered by Ottawa.