Carlos the Jackal, and How Palestine Replaced in the USSR in the Mind of the Far Left

August 4, 2022 | Yaron Nisi and Dani Liber
About the author:

Today, the far left across the globe holds opposition to Israel as one of its signature issues. While radical leftists once romanticized, apologized for, or embraced the murderous ideology of Bolshevism, today many do the same for jihadism. No individual embodies this transformation more than Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, known to the world as Carlos the Jackal. After an over-two-decade career in terrorism, Sánchez was arrested in 1994 and remains in a French prison. He recently granted a rare interview to two Israeli film directors, Yaron Nisi and Dani Liber. They write:

Sánchez . . . was born in Venezuela to a wealthy family. His father was a devout Communist who hated the West and—against the objections of his wife—even named his son after the Soviet leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Already from a young age, Carlos was involved in political struggles, and according to his own confession was only fifteen when he first kidnapped and killed someone.

His terror activities led to the deaths of over 1,500 people, mostly while working for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to which he was first exposed after getting expelled from university and joining a training camp for foreign volunteers of the PFLP in Jordan in 1970. He experienced the events of Black September firsthand when King Hussein had thousands of Palestinians, who had set up military training camps in Jordan, massacred.

Carlos fought on the Palestinian side and later joined the PFLP as a member. During this time, he terrorized targets in Israel and Europe.

Sánchez describes himself thus:

I am a Communist, just like my father, a Stalinist Communist. I believe in God. I am a Sunni Muslim. I believe in the goal of Palestine. I was the first non-Arab person to join the Palestinian struggle. I have killed at least 83 people myself, and between 1,500-2,000 have been killed at my command.

The PFLP appears to have expelled Sánchez after he reportedly pocketed millions of dollars in exchange for releasing hostages and refraining from assassinations. As comfortable with entrepreneurship as he is with religion, this self-professed Stalinist then started his own terrorist group that sold its services to the highest bidder.

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