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The Solidarity Movement is not a legally incorporated entity. It is a fairly loose association of individuals free to unite, to depart, and to call themselves by a different name every day. Indeed, it is often to their advantage to do so because if, as has happened, Charlotte Kates, the leader of the New Jersey Solidarity Movement, gives a ringing endorsement of suicide bombing, other branches of the solidarity movement can say: she does not speak for us.
Solidarity movement is also both a proper noun and a term of art. Supporters of the Solidarity Movement have come out of the International Socialist Organization, a group that has spawned other international solidarity movements. Socialists and radical leftists use this sort of phrasing: we should form an international solidarity movement to help in the people's struggle for X since international solidarity movements have been so useful in past struggles.
This particular International Solidarity Movement is often called the Palestinian Solidarity Movement in the United States. Local chapters have myriad names. Names of groups linked in the "local chapters" section on the International Solidarity Movement web site, include: Boston to Palestine, the Palestine Information Project (Seattle), and the Free Palestine Campaign (Ann Arbor), which has a useful section on its web site labeled "attacks on the ISM" [Ref. 1]. The section contains several excellent articles regarding the nature of the ISM and its activities.
The web sites of local ISM affiliates are indicative of the complexity of the Movement itself. The founders of ISM openly endorse terrorism, and the volunteers on the ground in Israel work to protect terrorists, but in the United States the group also depends upon the support of individuals who believe that they are working for a peaceful solution and who not only are not personally anti-Semitic, but who are often Jewish.
To establish that an organization that aims to destroy the Jewish State is not anti-Semitic requires both intricately convoluted logic and outright untruth. The web site of Seattle's Palestine Information Project, for example, contains a remarkable section explaining why "the right of return for Palestinians does not mean the destruction of Israel." The site explains, for example, that although Jews are not sufficiently culturally distinct in terms of "language, religion, and culture" to merit a nation state of their own, Palestinians do require a nation state because they "are as distinct from Egyptians or Saudis as Poles are distinct from Czechs or Bulgarians." Except, of course, that Bulgaria is Eastern (Russian) Orthodox while Poland is Roman Catholic, and Czechs are secular Catholics very proud of the Hussite movement that swept their tiny Republic during the Reformation. And never mind that Poles speak Polish, Czechs speak Czech, and Bulgarians speak Bulgarian, while all Arabs speak, read, and write Arabic, and the Arabs in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories are Sunni Muslim by an overwhelming majority. This is not to deny that Palestinians do possess that degree of cultural distinctiveness that is a natural part of regional identity (there are regional variations of culture and dialect within every modern Arab state). Nor is it possible to deny that over the course of the last half-century the Palestinians have indeed—and quite deliberately—developed a national consciousness. What we point out here is not only that Poland is not Bulgaria, but that the assertion that there is not as great a difference between Palestinians and Saudis as there is between Poles and Czechs is entirely typical of the use of "historical fact" in ISM literature and rhetoric.
Many of the links in the "local chapters" heading on www.palsolidarity.org do not function, but numerous local chapters do exist. They include the straightforwardly named ISM-Vancouver, the disingenuously named Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace, and others, including New Jersey Solidarity, the group sponsoring the Third National Conference of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement on the Rutgers Campus from October 10-12, 2003.
To illustrate how complex and fluid the organization of the Solidarity Movement is, in July of 2003 New Jersey Solidarity broke with the International Solidarity Movement. NJ Solidarity no longer has a link from the ISM web site. Instead, Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition links its page to NJ Solidarity. New Jersey Solidarity continues to plan to host the National Conference of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement at Rutgers in October. Solidarity groups that link to Al-Awda, such as Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, continue to send volunteer activists to Israel where they work as part of the International Solidarity Movement. Some local Solidarity groups, such as the Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee, link to both the ISM and Al-Awda. Among the groups listed on and linked to the Al-Awda web page is George Rishmawi's Badil Center. Rishmawi is the Palestinian who founded the International Solidarity Movement and who directs the activities of ISM volunteers on the ground in Israel and in the Palestinian controlled territories.
The decision to quit the International Solidarity Movement in favor of Al Awda was taken by New Jersey Solidarity leaders Charlotte Kates and Summer Sharaf, either because they held more radical views than other ISM members or because they wanted to express their views more frankly. The split came over the desire of Kates and Sharaf to invite Hamas to Solidarity Movement meetings (which the International Solidarity Movement in Israel in fact already does) and over their desire to amend the Mission Statement to read "Israel has no right to exist." Again, the Movement already asserts as much by referring to all of Israel as "occupied" land; so it must have been the explicit statement that 'moderates' objected to, not the idea being expressed. The third issue was similarly about language, not substance. Kates and Sharaf "hold tight to the idea that there are no Israeli civilians and when confronted with "even the kids?" the reply was "yes, everyone's fair game". The suicide bombers applauded by the ISM kill children, of course, but it is Movement policy to couch support for the targeting of Israeli children in code words like "armed resistance." [Ref. 2].
Something of the way ISM members think is revealed in the statement regarding 9/11 posted on the web site of the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace and cosigned by the American Friends Service Committee. "We must not repeat the mistakes of the past by targeting those who may look like or share a similar-sounding name, religion or ethnic background with those perceived to be the cause of this suffering." It is difficult to understand how anyone can doubt the identity of the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack, but certainly the ISM is in concert with many in the Arab world when it refers to "those perceived to be the cause of this suffering," as though there were any doubt about the fact that the attack was carried out by 19 Arab Muslim members of Al Qaeda. But the ISM and the American Friends Service Committee are also intending to say that even if this attack was carried out by Islamist terrorists, surely "the cause" must lie elsewhere. The next paragraph tells us where.
It encourages Americans to "ask what it is about our country that generates such hostility and resentment in many parts of the world. We need to understand and address the global poverty and hopelessness on which terrorism feeds. We must in addition take responsibility for the U.S. policies that support or contribute to these conditions." [Ref. 3]
ISM members are part of a political culture that believes that terrorism is the result of U.S. foreign policy and/or of poverty caused by capitalism. This political culture is impervious to the evidence that shows that terrorism is spawned by ideology, not by poverty. It is a culture that leads young Americans, taught by Movement rhetoric to blame their own country for Islamist terrorism, to attempt to save the world by going to the aid of the people that American power is oppressing. On the left side of most American campuses, the received wisdom is that of all the peoples on earth, it is the Palestinians who are the most oppressed, and America and Israel are the world's most oppressive regimes.
A radical-left campus culture that assumes that the United States bears primary responsibility for the atrocity of 9/11 is foreign to most Americans, and when dealing with a foreign culture, it is necessary to learn to understand the local dialect. The radical left speaks in coded language, using words as terms of art. You have to know what the words mean to ISM speakers and members in order to understand what is being said. In this context, the key word is "resistance." When the ISM speaks of resistance, it does not mean what the dictionary says that it means.
According to the New York Times, "Palestinians euphemize terror attacks, calling them 'resistance operations.' More extreme Palestinian elements argue that Israel has no civilians... Palestinians rarely use the word 'terrorism.'" [Ref, 4]
Here in an interview [Ref. 5], an ISM coordinator supports the Palestinian right to choose armed resistance.
Interviewer: So there is strong support for the armed resistance?
ISM coordinator: Surely there is support for the armed resistance. It is one of the rights of the Palestinians to fight back against the occupation.
Interviewer:The ISM supports non violent direct action, not armed struggle...
ISM coordinator: Yes, but also we recognise the right of the Palestinians to choose their way of resistance.
Here Tamara, a 25-year-old mother from the Los Angeles area who belongs to "Los Angeles Jews for a Just Peace" and who traveled to Israel to work as an ISM volunteer, reports on a lecture from a "calm, well-spoken" Hamas representative who told the audience of International Solidarity Movement volunteers that he does not endorse suicide bombings: [Ref. 6]
We had the chance to meet with, Dr. Ghazi Hamed Hamed, a representative from Hammas. He is by far one of the most interesting and suprising people I have met here. Calm, well spoken, and very upfront. He spoke frankly, and gave us a picture of Hammas that we would never imagine in the West. He told is about the organizing they do for those in need, the construction of schools and social service organizations. They also have a women's group, "some people misunderstand us. We do not discriminate against women and there is nothing to prevent them from being leaders." He also said that although he supports the Palestinian right (as detailed in international law) to armed resistance, he does not personally support suicide bombings. However he reminded us that many people feel that is the only way they can fight against the occupation.
ISM leaders Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro wrote in January, 2002: [Ref. 7]
Let us reiterate, we accept that Palestinians have a right to resist with arms, as they are an occupied people upon whom force and violence is being used. The Geneva Conventions accept that armed resistance is legitimate for an occupied people, and there is no doubt that this right cannot be denied.
Ghassan Andoni is one of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement. In an October 2002 interview [Ref. 8] he was asked whether his self-described "non-violent" movement endorses violence:
Interviewer: "Does that mean that you do not think that armed resistance is valid?"
Andoni: "No, we state clearly that Palestinians have the full right to resist the occupation with means that they think are suitable."
If the notion of "resisting the occupation" doesn't sound too far out of order for a movement that claims to be committed to non-violence, it may be that you have not been reading enough radical left-wing propaganda. In radical-left speak, resistance is a code word for terrorism. Read how the leader of Hamas uses the term:
An Arabic satellite TV channel financed by the Qatari government broadcast a live talk show called "Open Dialogue" earlier today, featuring the Pediatrician of Death, Dr. Abd-al-Aziz al-Rantisi, and the Palestinian Authority's Information Minister, Nabil Amr-who once again made it clear that they do not consider the wholesale murder of Jews to be terrorism. At 19:15 GMT, PA Information Minister Nabil Amr joins the discussion via satellite from Ramallah. Asked about Mahmud Abbas' speech in the Al-Aqabah summit, Amr says: "As regards the word terrorism, I do not know why when the Palestinians denounce the word terrorism, certain people think that this means resistance. There is no text anywhere that says that the Palestinian people's resistance is terrorism, which we denounce. President Yasir Arafat said this in Geneva 15 years ago. This is part of our policy. Yes, we denounce terrorism. Anyone who says that denouncing terrorism means denouncing resistance is doing an injustice to legitimate resistance and is in effect labeling it with terrorism. Therefore, the statement that was read in Al-Aqabah is based on a commitment that the PLO made in Geneva, after which the Palestinian-US dialogue started in Tunis." [Ref. 9]
In the Through-the-Looking-Glass rhetoric of Hamas and of the ISM, terrorism is what the American Army does in Afghanistan and Iraq, while resistance is what Hamas does when it straps a suicide bomb to a seventeen-year-old girl and points her toward an Israeli bus. When an ISM spokesman says "resistance" or "armed resistance," it is a term of art meaning the assault on Israeli civilians and soldiers with package bombs, suicide belts, sniper rifles, and AK47's. When ISM members say that they support the Palestinian "resistance" or the Palestinian "right of armed resistance," they are saying that they support terrorism, and we ought to take them at their word.
In an interview with the New York Post [Ref. 10], Charlotte Kates leader of New Jersey Solidarity and organizer of the National Conference scheduled for Rutgers on October 10-12, told the interviewer that "peaceful resistance is the fest's guiding principle." Yet she noted that she, as well as the sponsoring organization, the New Jersey Solidarity Movement—an offshoot of International Solidarity—supports Palestinian homicide bombers. "Palestinian resistance in all its forms has been a very powerful tool of justice," said Kates, 23, a Rutgers law student. "All forms, from armed struggle to mass protest." And does Israel have a right to exist? Kates's answer, "Israel is an apartheid, colonial settler state. I do not believe apartheid, colonial settler states have a right to exist."
In an e-mail sent over an ISM list-serve shortly after the unfortunate death of the tragically misguided ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie, ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf wrote, "Rachel Corrie is one of over a thousand shahids (holy martyrs) from this intifada. Their posters adorn walls all over Palestine. They are the fighters who are killed in battle and the children shot on their way to school. They are the suicide bombers and the boys who throw stones at tanks in a gesture of defiance."
In another email, ISM cofounder George Rishmawi offers his opinions on why terrorism and violence are needed [Ref. 11]:
You are mistaken my friend. I am sorry to tell you this but you are. Well, When did the suicide bombing start? When did the occupation of the west Bank and Gaza started? When did the aggression agaisnt the Palestinian started?
You need to know the source of the conflict and the source of the suffering that bushes people to kill themselves and others.
I do not want to see anybody killed but we need to say that taking people's rights and freedom is the source of the problem and when this stops there should be not need for anymore killing. This is what we should advocate for it right now.
In a recent interview, ISM cofounder Adam Shapiro "justifie(d) the Palestinian armed resistance against Israel as long as it is targeting Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Otherwise, he is not in favor of suicide bombings." [Ref. 12]:
Shapiro does endorse non-violent as well as violent means of destroying Israel. In Penang, Malaysia, recently to give a lecture entitled "Deir Yassin Remembered," organized by Penang-based Citizens International, Shapiro gave an interview to the Star Online, in which he said other boycott measures could include the barring of Israeli academics at international conferences. [Ref. 13]
Less obscure but equally violent is the ISM support for the complete destruction of Israel. Yitzhak Santis, Middle East Affairs Director at the San Francisco based Jewish Community Relations Council, attended the founding First National Conference of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2001. This is his report. [Ref. 14]
Judging by comments made during debates over the conference's final statement, I can say with confidence that the participants were not seeking peace with Israel, but rather "peace" without any Israel. The leader of the Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine—the event's principal organizing group—rose and declared his opposition to any negotiations with Israel and to a two-state solution.
The conference drew up a final statement that said participants: "declare our solidarity with the popular Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid, just as we unequivocally support the right of all people, wherever they may be, to resist oppression. Popular resistance is a legitimate strategy...As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation."
The resolution ignores the hundreds of innocent Israelis murdered by suicide terrorists acting in the name of this "popular resistance." It makes no distinction whatsoever between civilians or soldiers. All, apparently, are "legitimate" targets of this "popular resistance" whose "strategies" and "tactics" the resolution implicitly endorses by failing to oppose suicide-terrorist massacres against Israeli civilians.
Adam Shapiro recently told the Jordan Star newspaper [Ref. 12] that "I am not in a position to tell the refugees what to do, but I think they can all start a march towards the Occupied Territories to return to their homes." According to Shapiro, if enough ISM volunteers could be found to walk in front of the "refugees," they could safely walk in and take over Israel since Israeli soldiers would not shoot internationals. There are two notable uses of language in this scenario. "Refugees" as used by the United Nations everywhere in the world applies to people who fled a place, only among Palestinians is it used to connote descendents of those who fled. The other interesting usage, of course, is "occupied territories" to refer to the entire state of Israel. When ISM leaders say "occupied territories" they are referring to all of Israel, which they intend to replace with a Palestinian Arab state.
At Rutgers in the spring of 2003, the New Jersey Solidarity Movement hung a large banner painted in Palestinian colors in the Student Center that read "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free." [Ref. 15] This is a Hamas slogan popular both among Palestinians and within the ISM. The poetry of the Hamas slogan may come out as mere doggerel in English translation, but the Movement's intention of destroying Israel is made clear, as is—for those who know that this is a Hamas slogan -- the implied endorsement of the Hamas program.
Other local support groups of the ISM are less open about their support for the abolition of Israel. The Boston Committee for Palestinian Rights, for example, demands "Acknowledgement of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees." [Ref. 16] To understand what this means it is necessary to know that since 1948 Palestinian Arabs, who are unique in the world in having had their health care, their children's vaccinations, and their school tuition paid for by the United Nations, have maintained some of the highest birth-rates and the very highest rate of population growth in the world. They have, moreover, lived under firm United Nations control that has worked with great success to block emigration out of the UNRWA refugee camps by Palestinian Arabs. The six hundred thousand refugees of 1948 have swollen to a population that would, in a unified state, very rapidly outnumber the Jews. It is presumed that the Jews would then be driven from Israel, just as over the course of the last half-century ancient Jewish communities have been driven from Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the rest of the Middle East by regimes implacably opposed to living in peace side-by-side with Jews as equals. Among the Muslim nations of the world, only Morocco and Turkey respect the rights of Jews as citizens, and only Morocco, Turkey, and King Abdullah of Jordan fully accept the right of Israel to exist.
Supporting a right of return, as the Boston Committee for Palestinian Rights does, is another way of expressing support for eliminating the Jewish State of Israel. Arafat well understands this, which is why he has often said that his strongest weapon is "the womb of the Arab woman." [Ref. 17]
The Boston groups provide interesting insight in the manner in which these groups attempt to maintain favor both with their more moderate supporters who may be in a position to make donations, and with their radical and terrorist allies. In Boston, the ISM has two local support groups, the Boston Committee for Palestinian Rights pretends to be a somewhat moderate peace group, while Boston to Palestine openly sends activist volunteers to work in Israel and advertises its full support for the ISM. The Boston Committee for Palestinian Rights, states on the first page of its web site that "A just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict necessitates an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip." The reader needs to go to a different page to discover that the group also supports the effective destruction of Israel by endorsing the right of return. But a little further searching will unearth the fact that an apparently separate Boston group, Boston to Palestine, is in fact closely allied with the Boston Committee for Palestinian Rights. [Ref. 18]
Boston to Palestine describes itself as "The Boston Support group for the International Solidarity Movement." [Ref. 19] Its goal is to send volunteers to Israel where they will "assist in the struggle to end the occupation of Palestine." Which, in ISM-speak, means all of Israel.
A representative of the Boston Committee for Palestinian Rights recently told a reporter for the Boston Jewish Advocate (July 18, 2003) that the BCPR is a peace group not affiliated with the ISM. However, a glance at the code for the Boston to Palestine website, as documented above, reveals that Boston to Palestine is hosted by the BCPR website.
ISM volunteers post regular web diaries that are easy to subscribe to on the local chapter web sites. The diaries are carefully censored by ISM "media coordinators" before publication to be certain that they use the language of the movement always, for example, referring to their support for Palestinian resistance, not terrorism and always referring to the Israel Defense forces, IDF, as the Israel Occupation Force, IOF. They do, however, refer to suicide bombers as martyrs or shahid, and they brag about their visits to Yassir Arafat, an individual proven by an ocean of documentation to have spent the ten Oslo years building up and running an infrastructure of terror. [Ref. 20]
7) July 23rd, 2003
Ben, with John in Ramallah
We are here in Ramallah for a couple of days to visit human rights organizations and gather documentation to bring back to the U.S., particularly about the Apartheid Wall. But first we decided to make a visit to the Mukata.
The Mukata, also known as "Arafat's Compound," is still devastated by the Israeli attack of March-May 2002. Arafat himself has remained confined within the last surviving building for more than a year now. In the cool of the evening, we half expected to find him outside with his security forces having tea. We were allowed to enter the compound with surprising ease. It is little exaggeration to say that after we said we were with a peace group, the guards were all smiles and big handshakes. We weren't allowed in the building, but I think it could have been arranged without much problem. After all, last time I was here, in December 2001, Arafat invited us in for pizza after we did an ISM action in front of the tanks down the street (for the whole story see our 2001 delegation's report at the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace's web page: http://ccmep.org/hotnews2/1219mark.htm )
The three messages below are taken from the April 2002 postings on a listserv of a New York City affiliate of the International Solidarity Movement (Independent Media Center) that describes itself thus: [Ref. 21]
This list is for those interested in travelling to Palestine for direct action in support of Palestinian human rights. The next delegation will be from March 29 - April 12. The following delegation is currently planned for June.
Like many e-mail messages, these were typed carelessly. We reproduce them as they appear on the list, only once adding a single letter in parentheses to make the meaning plain.
The messages were posted in the spring of 2002, a period during which hundreds of Israelis were murdered and hundreds more were maimed during the worst onslaught of terror attacks in Israel's history. Israel, which had held its fire during a year and a half of terror attacks that began at Rosh HaShanah 2001, responded in April of 2002 by sending the Israel Defense Force into the UNRWA camps to arrest the terrorists and destroy the bomb factories.
Message 1: [Ref. 22]
Earlier in the day, Arafat called on the international community to put an end to Israeli brutality against the Palestinian people in a message through an International Solidarity team that managed to enter his office and portray his message to the world.
Arafat praised Palestinian determination in the face of Israeli racism and terrorism using all sorts of American weapons to carry out aggression against the Palestinians.
Arafat told his people, "Together until a Palestinian child raises the Palestinian flag over Jerusalem's walls, mosques and churches."
Message 2: [Ref. 23]From: "pcrbs" <email@example.com> Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 14:14:52 -0000 Urgent call for Internationals to come to Palestine. The International Solidarity Movement ISM calls upon who ever can come to Palestine to come. you are all needed now. ISM and GIPP groups in Ramallah and Bethlehem are doing great. They are the only (p)rotection for President Arafat, they are with families in camps, joining ambulances. Your presence makes a difference. if you can find your way into Jerusalem we will do our best to get you in Bethlehem or Ramallah.
Message 3: [Ref. 24]----- Original Message ----- From: <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <AVENESKY@prodigy.net> Cc: <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2002 12:41 AM Subject: US/palestine solidarity...from the camps 4/3 > fwd if you dare.. (do you guys ever get in trouble for this?) > > peace, > kevin > > Dehaishe refugee camp, west bank. 6am > it is storming again, and was much of the night...the thunder competing with the tank fire in the distance. It was the thunder that has a much nicer sound...rich, rolling, you feel it deep in the bones...the sound of the tanks was puny in comparison. > > the weather has probably been a very good thing...it is cold and wet and windy...not good weather for fighting...at least all the israelis are outside in the cold, while the few fighters they chase are holed up at least dry,..if not warm. > > I am not sure what is the latest status of the fighting..in this area it is mostly centered around the other camps (ayda and aza) and in bethlehem itself > there are a lot of casualties reported.. > > none of the resistace here had any opinion that they could actually hold out for long...bethlehem is too easy to take militarily. for the people here anyway, they are saying al aqsa is over... > > al aqsa..this intifada > > they decided that this intifada they would try "any means necessary" & they have tried a lot over 50 yrs of struggle. > > In the last intifada the tried coordinated nonviolence, the participation of all sectors of society -but still the israelis crushed it without international society rising up to support the palestinians. > > over and over you hear this..it is heartbreraking..the people fighting here do not expect to win on their own. many keep expecting the world and especially the US to step in somehow...even though they realize it is the US that has been the major partner in their suffering for all this time. > > This time, this intifada they said, they talked to their grandmothers, and the grandmothers agreed..50 yrs is too much, it is better to die a martyr, to give that for the cause of freedom, than to live this way any longer. > > no matter the cost in palestinian blood, as long as there was enough israeli blood they will eventually win...the israelis will eventually tire of this... > > it is impossible to say if they are right or not, but judging from the israelis latest, massive and unprecedented response many have doubts.. > > they expect the worst from the israelis in the coming weeks (three to four weeks of proposed martial law, with god knows how many casualties and killings) the virtual destruction of the palestinian authority, and all of the infrastructure here- that is already almost accomplished. > > what will take over then? > > so WHAT CAN WE DO? as democracy loving internationalists? and anti authoritarians? > > do everything that is possible...it is a historical moment in this struggle, no one has seen this before, so no one can predict the outcome. > > there are a lot of voices here, really smart ones, eager to see further alignment between this struggle and the face of the struggle represented by seattle/durban/porto allegre..we can build those relationships..learn a lot from each other. > > students can support the local divestment campaigns at their schools with all of the direct action tactics that have been so successful in the past...if there is not a divestment campaign at your school, start one now. > > work with other finacial pressure campaigns like SUSTAIN,- divestment and boycotts were succeful before in the aparthied struggles. > > and more international solidarity trips are extremely welcome by the palestinian people. when this phase of the struggle is over, and martial law is lifted, there is a lot for people to do here..and lot of relationships that can be built. many many europeans are doing it. "we need more americans over here" is what everyone is saying. > > just my opinion.. > > apologies again for the commentary..but this is open publishing after all. > > k
Note that in the message above, the writer, Kevin, appears to be fully cognizant of the whereabouts of the "fighters" the IDF is pursuing. He regrets that the Palestinian fighters will lose unless the international community "rises up" to support them, and he offers the strategic reason given by Palestinian leaders in support of terrorism. "No matter the cost in Palestinian blood, as long as there was enough Israeli blood they will eventually win. The Israelis will eventually tire of this." Then he asks "What can we do?" His answer is that we can "do everything that is possible" and he holds up the "face of the struggle represented by Seattle, Durban, and Porto Alegre."
Seattle, Durban, and Porto Alegre were large-scale riots, during which crowds surged through city streets smashing windows and looting businesses. It is an odd model for a movement that purports to espouse non-violence. But, then, the Durban conference, condemned by the world for the flagrant Jew-hatred on display, is an odd model for any decent person to wish to emulate.
In a widely publicized incident that made many doubt the ISM's claims that it does not collaborate with terrorists, Susan Barclay, an ISM organizer later deported by Israel, attempted to hide Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya in the ISM office in Jenin while the IDF searched the building for him. An ISM spokesman claimed that Barclay had no way of knowing who the man was—although that would hardly justify her attempt to prevent a search of the ISM offices by an officer of the law who was searching for an identified terrorist. The spokesman went on to say that he was not certain how he would behave if he were himself given the opportunity to shelter a known terrorist from the police.
Tom Wallace, 43, who has traveled from Boston to work as the ISM's spokesperson in Jenin, says the ISMers in Jenin had no idea who Sukiya was when they took him in that morning, and that they were only trying to help a man in distress. And if, in the future, someone who the ISM knows to be a terrorist shows up at the office door requesting assistance? "He's still someone who's hurt and needs help," Tom says, adding that ISM members in Jenin are now debating this very question. "Honestly, I don't know the answer." One year earlier, ISM volunteers went to great lengths to enter the Arafat compound for the purpose of acting as human shields for Arafat and for the terrorists that the ISM volunteer writing this journal entry proudly refers to as the "Ze'evi Five" in honor of the Israeli Cabinet minister whom they murdered.
On 21 April, Israeli forces redeployed from areas in Ramallah but maintained their tight besiegement of the presidential compound and the surrounding neighborhoods, which comprise much of El Bireh. Inside the compound, Arafat was confined to less than one building in the compound and was surrounded by security personnel, top advisors, a handful of international solidarity movement personnel, as well as the "Ze'evi Five" (those accused of being involved in the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism, Rehav'am Ze'evi on 18 September 2001).
Numerous international organizations operate in Israel and the Palestinain-controlled territories, including the Red Cross, the Mennonite Church relief workers, and literally dozens of others. Only the ISM has acquired a special status in the eyes of Israel security. In a recent interview, an IDF officer stated the official position plainly. "We have nothing against the internationals," says a senior IDF officer. "But, as far as we are concerned, ISM is not an international organization or a peace organization. It's a pro-Palestinian organization, set up by Palestinians, funded by Palestinians and linked to Palestinian terror."
The International Solidarity Movement prefers to remain an unincorporated, informal movement for many reasons, perhaps the most important of which is that this allows movement leaders to disavow incriminating actions and statements by other movement leaders. For example, when Charlotte Kates, leader of New Jersey Solidarity, gave numerous interviews to the press in the summer of 2003 in which she endorsed suicide bombing, other movement leaders claimed that she was not part of the ISM, and she herself claimed to have left the ISM and joined al Awda instead.
Even as this split was taking place, however, the Solidarity Movement was sponsoring a July 2003 "Wheels of Justice" speaking tour. In announcements advertising the tour, Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, Voices in the Wilderness, and the Middle East Children's Alliance describe themselves as "Affiliates of the International Solidarity Movement." [Ref. 25]
Similarly, in September of 2003, Adam Shapiro, cofounder of the International Solidarity Movement answered telephone inquiries from the AMCHA office in New York regarding the upcoming National Conference of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement by denying that the ISM and the PSM were formally related in any manner. However, at the Second Annual Conference of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, held at the University of Michigan in October 2002 and at which Adam Shapiro was a featured speaker, the delegates to the Palestinian Solidarity conference voted to formalize their support of the International Solidarity Movement. [Ref. 26]
Throughout this period, campus groups affiliated with the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, which functions as the American, campus arm of the ISM, continued to travel to Israel, where they worked as volunteer activists under the auspices of the ISM, calling themselves members of ISM while in Israel and members of PSM upon returning to campus.
The Palestine Solidarity Movement consistently refuses to condemn terrorism. The Freeman Center at Duke set the following statement as a necessary common ground to enable dialogue to take place: "We condemn the murder of innocent civilians, whether by individuals, groups, or nations, anywhere in the world." The Chronicle, the student daily newspaper at Duke, reported as follows: [Ref. 27]
PSM's policy does not allow it to condemn any particular action. Thus, the first statement, "We condemn the murder of innocent civilians, whether by individuals, groups, or nations, anywhere in the world" is inconsistent with PSM's philosophy.
Rann Bar-On, designated spokesman for Hiwar, the PSM-affiliated group at Duke University responsible for hosting the Fourth National Conference, was interviewed by The Herald-Sun in Durham and was quoted as follows: [Ref. 28]
"We don't see it as very useful for us as a solidarity movement to condemn violence. That will not achieve any particular goal."
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