On May 27, the annual European Palestinian Conference (EPC) was held in Malmo, Sweden, whose sole purpose was to unfairly demonize the State of Israel. Attendance was smaller than the EPC had expected, however, after news of the conference’s links to the EU-designated terrorist organization Hamas spread, prompting several Swedish parliamentarians to quickly withdraw their attendance, rightly reluctant to tarnish his reputation by sharing the stage with terrorists. related persons.
After years of casually spreading Hamas-laden propaganda across Europe, perhaps the danger posed by the EPC will finally be taken seriously. But for that to happen, the truth about the EPC must be revealed.
The most worrying aspect of the EPC is that its president, Amin Abou Rashed, is a former member of the Al-Aqsa Foundation of the Netherlands, a Hamas network that was run by Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qardawi before his death. The foundation was designated by the US Treasury Department as part of a coalition of organizations that raise funds on behalf of Hamas. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Abou Rashed has been photographed multiple times hugging Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh at Hamas events.
For this and other reasons, the Israeli Ministry of Defense designated Abou Rashed as a terrorist in 2013. The Ministry also designated the General Secretary of the EPC, dr. Mazen Kahel, as a terrorist because of his affiliation with Hamas.
The issues of the EPC also extend to the groups that make it up. Since its first annual conference in 2003, the EPC has been repeatedly organized by the UK-based Palestine Return Center (PRC), a staunch advocate of the so-called Palestinian “right of return”, which would effectively lead to the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state. Zaher Biravi, the Center’s former head, has been designated a terrorist by Israel because of his involvement in Hamas, as has its former director general, Majed Khalil Musa Al Zeer. Israel outlawed the PRC in 2010 for acting as the organizing and coordinating arm of Hamas in Europe.
Of course, the content of the conferences themselves is extremely problematic. Among the guest speakers were Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Hassan Khreisheh, a Hamas parliamentarian, and Basem Naim, who is mentioned as the head of Hamas’ political and foreign relations department.
Despite the abundant ties between Hamas and the EPC, European politicians would almost always speak at the annual conference with little pushback. This is likely due to the false image of the EPC as a “humanitarian” organization fighting for human rights, a common tactic used by groups aiming to conceal their links to illegal entities.
However, this time, the widespread condemnation of the conference was so fierce that the EPC and Abou Rashed had to hold a press conference a week after the event, trying to frame the Europeans and claim that it had nothing to do with Hamas.
It was the first time the EPC had ever held a press conference about its problematic activities and ties to the Palestinian terror group, feverishly threatening anyone who would dare bring up its ties to Hamas.
It seems that the European Palestine Conference (EPC) is finally feeling the resistance to their actions.
Now that the issue of Hamas-related activities in Europe has finally come to light, it is time for European authorities to take a closer look at the EPC, expose its ties to Hamas, and ban the event from ever taking place on European soil again.
It is even more urgent, however, that the EU begins to take seriously the threat posed by the network of Hamas-linked organizations such as the EPC and the PRC. At the very least, European politicians should heed the commendable examples set by the Swedish parliamentarians who abandoned the events in Malmo and strongly reject any relationship with these terrorist organizations.
Anders Bjerkhoel is the executive director of MIFF Sweden. MIFF (With Israel for Peace) is a non-partisan, non-religious pro-Israel organization, active in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland.
This article was published in partnership with a coalition of organizations fighting anti-Semitism around the world. Read the previous article by Elena Yacov and Jason Harris.