Biden urged to outlaw antisemitic Palestinian ‘terrorist’ group banned in Germany, Israel

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JERUSALEM – The Biden administration is facing new calls to sanction Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, which has links to Iran’s regime and the U.S.-designated terrorist movement Hamas. 

Germany outlawed Samidoun in November and Israel classified the Palestinian organization as a terrorist entity in 2021. 

“If the U.S. is going to get serious about the pro-Hamas mobs who’ve wreaked havoc on U.S. campuses, they will have to take action to ban Samidoun and investigate their allies and supporters,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the LA-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, told Fox News Digital.

Samidoun has chapters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Iran, as well as in numerous European states: Sweden, France and Spain. 

Nancy Faeser, German federal minister of the interior, said in a November statement, “Today, I banned all activity in Germany by Hamas, a terrorist organization whose aim is to destroy the State of Israel. Samidoun is an international network which disseminates anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda while claiming to promote solidarity with prisoners in different countries. Samidoun also supported and glorified various foreign terrorist organizations, including Hamas… Banning the activity of Hamas and Samidoun, and dissolving Samidoun Deutschland, will put a stop to such demonstrations of hate in Germany.”

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Samidoun protesters gather in Cologne, Germany. (Ying Tang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

She added, “With its spontaneous ‘celebrations’ here in Germany following the horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel, Samidoun revealed its antisemitism and absolute lack of regard for human life in an especially abhorrent way.”

When approached about the German and Israeli bans of Samidoun, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital, “We are aware that Germany banned Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. We do not comment on deliberations, or potential deliberations, related to the U.S. terrorist designation process.”

The State Department spokesman added, “Unlike many of our foreign partners, the United States, under the First Amendment, cannot designate organizations based solely on hateful speech. As a matter of law, in order to designate any group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization the Secretary of State must determine that it is a foreign organization that engages in terrorist activity that threatens the security of United States nationals or our national security.”

Terrorism experts have, however, noted that Samidoun’s links to U.S.-designated terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) meet the criteria for a ban.

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Nancy Faeser speaking after a meeting.

German Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser gives a talk after a federal cabinet meeting. (Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The role of Samidoun during the pro-Hamas campus protests has drawn greater scrutiny from experts.

On May 16, Steven Stalinsky, the counterterrorism expert and executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), wrote on the Fox News op-ed page, “Also lending its support to U.S. students was a coalition of jihadi Gaza student organizations representing Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and others. Its statement of ‘solidarity’ with the ‘Student Intifada in the United States,’ translated into English and published by the PFLP affiliate Samidoun on April 25, saluted the American students who are ‘rising up to put an end to the Zionist-U.S. genocide’ and lauded their ‘work to transform their universities into ‘Popular Universities for Gaza.'”

MEMRI also posted a video of a speech by the Canadian-based Charlotte Kates, the international coordinator of Samidoun, who glorified Hamas’ mass murder of roughly 1,200 people on October in southern Israel. Hamas murdered over 30 Americans on Oct. 7 and kidnapped more than 250 people.

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Pro-Palestinian protestors raise flags and signs at the University of Toronto.

Anti-Israel agitators protest at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. (Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Kates said on April 26 in Vancouver, British Columbia: “We demand a free Palestine from the River to the Sea. And we stand with the Palestinian resistance and their heroic and brave actions on October 7. As they said, long live October 7th! And we say today: long live October 7th!”

The Canadian authorities arrested Kates for her pro-Hamas terrorism speech. On the other side of the Atlantic, Herbert Reul, the interior minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, dismantled and outlawed on May 16 the NGO Palestine Solidarity Duisburg because it provides support to Hamas and Samidoun. 

Reul said, “This ban comes at the right time and sends the right signal. In many cases, solidarity with Palestine hides nothing other than hatred of Jews – as is the case with the organization that was banned today. We will use all legal options to combat antisemitism and ideological support for terrorism. Today, the state has shown a clear stance against extremism.”

Yet, the ban of Samidoun and its activities in Germany has not been a complete success. Dr. Rafael Korenzecher, the publisher of the German-Jewish newspaper Jewish Review (Jüdische Rundschau in German), told Fox News Digital, “The half-hearted bans on Samidoun and Hamas, which still leave too much leeway for anti-Jewish activities, come far too late and are purely alibi actions by the responsible political actors to divert attention from the fundamental.”

According to the recently released domestic intelligence report from North Rhine-Westphalia, the number of Hamas operatives rose from 150 in 2022 to 175 in 2023. In 2003, Germany along with the EU, formally sanctioned Hamas as a terrorist entity. Germany, however, did not strictly enforce the ban and it became a hotbed of Hamas membership, recruitment and fundraising.

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German police standing guard at a pro-Palestine protest.

German police confront anti-Israel protesters in front of Humboldt University in Berlin. (Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)

The German state of Baden-Württemberg has taken a lax approach to Hamas. The state’s Green Party governor, Winfried Kretschmann, has refused to ban Palestine Committee Stuttgart – an NGO that has raised funds for Samidoun. The capital city of Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, allows the contact information of the Palestine Committee Stuttgart to appear on the municipal webpage.

Professor Michael Wolffsohn, a prominent German-Jewish historian and commentator on modern antisemitism and Islamism, told Fox News Digital that the “structural problem” in Germany can be grounded in former German Chancellor “Angela Merkel’s migration policy. Not just in the years 2015-16. Hundreds of thousands of times, Islamic antisemites were allowed into the country unchecked. Only attention was paid to right-wing extremism, which was also certainly dangerous, and left-wing extremism was downplayed as partners of the Islamists.”

Wolffsohn warned, “It’s not just about this or that federal government. You also have to look at the state governments and municipalities,” while noting that also includes the “the police and judicial authorities.”

The future for Jews in Germany appears bleak based on the massive outbreaks of Jew-hatred since Oct. 7. Just last week, nearly 4,000 German Muslims, leftists and ordinary Germans protested against Israel in front of the main synagogue in Munich, Bavaria.

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“Jewish life in Germany is becoming increasingly impossible,” Korenzecher said. “Illegal migration from predominantly Islamic countries, where hatred of Jews and Israel is partly propagated by the state and is virtually part of the raison d’être there, is an existential threat to Jewish life.” 

Fox News Digital approached Samidoun for a comment.

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