Samidoun Sweden: Response to the anti-Palestinian smear campaigns against Jamal El-Haj

Samidoun Sweden issued the following statement (original in Swedish) in response to an anti-Palestinian smear campaign in Swedish media targeting Palestinians in Sweden, the Palestinians in Europe Conference, and political figures attending the mass event: 

In the past few days, there have been reports of the participation of the Swedish-Palestinian Social Democratic MP Jamal El-Haj in the Palestinians in Europe Conference. The 20th anniversary of this conference gathered many thousands of participants over one weekend. What the reporting makes clear is that there is a clear attempt to silence, criminalize and designate publicly existing Palestinians and Palestinian life as terrorism.

The campaign of attacks, which alludes to the fact that Jamal has met with Palestinians in Europe conference organizer Amin Abu Rashid, that the conference allegedly contributed to divisions among Palestinians as a collective, and that Jamal went against his party’s advice, must be seen as nothing less than an anti-Palestinian smear campaign. This comes at a time when the occupation of Palestine is experiencing a major internal crisis, including an escalating disagreement between factions that usually coalesce in unanimous hostility towards Palestinians. It comes at a time of recurring Zionist military massacres and settler pogroms against the Palestinian people in Palestinian villages, towns and refugee camps. It comes at a time when the Palestinian resistance in Palestine is growing stronger and more capable in the face of reactionary enemies who will stop at nothing. It comes at a time of growing anti-Palestinian repression throughout Europe, not to mention in Germany, with a growing criminalization and terrorist designation of anti-fascists, anti-imperialists and internationalists in general and Palestinians and supporters of Palestine in particular. The aforementioned groups are repeatedly banned from the streets, arrested and fined, and abused by police boots and batons. This comes at a time when international imperialism, a system that Sweden is very much a part of and benefits from, is entangled in extensive and successive crises around the world.

Who are the ones speaking out against Jamal, against Amin and against Palestinian organization? They are the representatives of the Swedish government under Ulf Kristersson and Jimmie Åkesson, the same government which happily cooperates with one of the main coordinators and financiers of reactionary political violence in West Asia and perhaps the world, the state of Turkey under President Erdogan, which, with funds from Europe and North America, supports groups such as the Grey Wolves and Daesh. They are representatives of the Sweden Democrats, the political home of Swedish white supremacist violence. They are so-called “terrorism researchers” who have made careers out of smearing Swedish Muslims and anti-racists. And it is the Social Democrats, whose government led Sweden’s participation in NATO’s war against Libya and approved Swedish support for Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen, the same Social Democrats whose only response to over 75 years of ethnic cleansing in Palestine, that is still ongoing today, is empty words and thus a green light for the violence to continue, the same Social Democrats who are now prepared to sacrifice a loyal party servant because he was a visible, open and public Swedish-Palestinian for a weekend and spoke for the Palestinian right of return.

The smear against Jamal El-Haj, against Amin Abu Rashid and the Palestinians in Europe Conference and by extension against Palestinian existence and organization in Sweden is a desperate attempt from Swedish business and the Swedish state to defend their ongoing support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. A desperate attempt to exonerate Swedish authorities from complicity in reactionary violence against the peoples of Palestine, West Asia and the entire world, including Sweden.

We in Samidoun condemn this smear as an attack on the Palestinian diaspora in Sweden, one of the largest in Europe, an attack on refugees’ organizing for their rights in Sweden, and an attack on Palestinians’ international right of return. We know that we only have the organized resistance of the oppressed and exploited masses in solidarity to rely on against imperialism, colonialism and fascism, for the liberation of the whole of Palestine, from the river to the sea.