When reports emerged that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—a leftist organization with a bloodstained history—had teamed up with the Marxist-Leninist party of Germany to field candidates in upcoming elections, some Israeli and German parliamentarians petitioned the interior minister to ban the group. But the official, Thomas de Maizière, has declined to do so. The editors of the Jerusalem Post comment:
[I]f the PFLP and those who support it do not qualify as terrorists deserving of restrictions on their political activity, we don’t know who does. First led by George Habash, the PFLP has gone from airplane hijackings and attacks on air terminals and buses in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to shootings and suicide bombings in the 2000s. Its most recent large attack took place in a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, on November 8, 2014. Four worshipers and a policeman were killed with axes, knives, and a gun, and seven were wounded.
Anyone actively affiliated with the PFLP should be outed for going beyond the pale of legitimate political activism and not allowed to run for a seat in the German legislature.
We don’t know what explains the very different reactions on the part of the German government to True Religion [an organization that served as a front for fundraising for jihadist groups], which was banned, and the PFLP, which was not. Could it be that de Maizière and others in the German government view violence directed against Israelis through a different lens from similar threats directed at Germans? We hope not.
Even if de Maizière and others in the German government do not have much sympathy for Israelis and contextualize terrorism directed against them within the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they should know that terrorists tend not to sweat such distinctions. PFLP terrorists have no qualms murdering Germans, or anyone else for that matter, to further their goals. Is this the sort of ideology that should be given legitimacy in the Bundestag?