Not itself a formal organization, the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel (BDS) consists of a loose network of groups that support its cause. A number of these, write Jonathan Schanzer and Kate Havard, have close ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), officially considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department since 1997:
Rasmea Odeh, a now-infamous PFLP terrorist who was involved in the bombing of an Israeli supermarket in 1969 . . . is now a cause célèbre for BDS activists in the United States. Boycott advocates have rallied to her defense, raising funds for her while she faces prosecution in the U.S. for immigration fraud (for lying about her time in prison). Odeh’s boosters include BDS-supporting groups like Palestine Legal, Jewish Voice for Peace, and American Muslims for Palestine. . . .
The BDS campaign in the United States broadly identifies itself as a nonviolent social-justice movement. But, its connections to the PFLP, a decidedly violent group, are troubling. Founded in 1967 as a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary organization by George Habash, the PFLP was known for a series of plane hijackings in the late 1960s and 70s. [Its members also] gunned down civilians and hired assassins to massacre passengers at Israel’s Lod airport in 1970. . . .
In 2011, two PFLP members carried out the murder of a family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar (including a three-month-old infant). They were responsible for a 2014 shooting in west Jerusalem that killed five and wounded eight. . . .
Recently, the PFLP sent its most famous member, the first woman hijacker in history, Leila Khaled, on speaking tours worldwide. In April 2016, she visited the German organization Falestin Beytona, the offices of the Communist party of Sweden in Gothenburg, and the Austrian-Arab Cultural Center in Vienna—all organizations that support BDS. Khaled was also the guest of the BDS movement of South Africa in 2015.