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Archive for the ‘Peace’ Category

The International Solidarity Movement: Champions of Peace?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on April 20, 2008


bilin5

[Note: Much has been written about the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and much of it has been dismissed as merely rumors. The following report shows the true nature of the ISM in its own words and in well-documented incidents. I want to express gratitude to the Jewish Action Task Force for having provided many of the references used in this report. Their site contains cached versions of some of these references, and should be consulted if any of the links become broken.]

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), founded in the spring of 2001, prides itself on being a nonviolent movement for peace. At least this is the image its members present to the world, and they have been extremely successful. News media routinely portray them as “peace activists,” and even one member of the Canadian parliament has nominated the ISM for the Nobel Peace Prize. (1)

The liberal Protestant Church has also embraced the ISM, often inviting its members to speak and offering financial support. One group of missionaries working in the West Bank encourages enlistment in the ISM:

How does your faith prompt you to act? How is God calling you to respond through action? Perhaps you have the courage and faith to go into areas of violence and oppression and send a message of peace and justice as part of a Christian Peacemaker Team or with the International Solidarity Movement. (2)

The ISM is often called “peacemaker.” But do they deserve this designation? The best way to understand what the ISM is all about is to read its own words. And the best place to start is the ISM’s own web site.

A Pro-Palestinian Movement

First, the ISM makes a pretense of being neutral, claiming it is not even “pro-Palestinian”: (3)

Over the course of the past year and a half, the Israeli military and government has used various tactics in efforts to delegitimize our message. Some of you in the media have repeated or suggested the accusations yourselves: that we are “young and naive,” that we are “trouble-makers,” that we are “pro-Palestinian.” As I’ve noted above, the ISM is diverse in age and make up. We’re Palestinian-led, but not pro-Palestinian. We’re not pro or against any group. (4)

This pretense is immediately transparent. It will be seen from the quotations to follow that the ISM is indeed pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. The disingenuousness of the ISM’s claim to neutrality is just a small part of its overall strategy to present a peace-loving image to the media while actually working to enable those who do commit violent acts.

It is true that members of the ISM do not themselves engage in violence. But in word and in deed they support those who do. In fact, they make no secret of their sympathy for the use of violence, even though it is a tactic they personally do not choose. They state that violence is legitimate for those who choose to use it:

The International Solidarity Movement is a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and International activists working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. We utilize nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies.

As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions, we recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle. However, we believe that nonviolence can be a powerful weapon in fighting oppression and we are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance. (5)

This is about as “pro-Palestinian” a statement as one could hope for. It also specifies nonviolence as just one option in the struggle against Israel, with violence being another, equally valid option. (6)

Advocates for Violence

If violence is indeed considered legitimate, then why don’t ISM members choose it for themselves? The answer is based not on morality but on strategy. In a revealing essay that appeared in the Palestine Chronicle for January 29, 2002, Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro, two of the ISM’s founders and senior leaders, write:

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. But that does not mean that this right must be utilized. Regardless of what is a right and what is not, the elements that will make any change in the situation are strategy and tactics. To date, the use of violence as part of the resistance has not evinced a strategy. Not in operations against the military or settlers; not in operations inside the Green Line. The choice of using nonviolence would not be effective either if it was not organized strategically. (5)

This is about as “pro-Palestinian” a statement as one could hope for. It also specifies nonviolence as just one option in the struggle against Israel, with violence being another, equally valid option. (6)

Advocates for Violence

If violence is indeed considered legitimate, then why don’t ISM members choose it for themselves? The answer is based not on morality but on strategy. In a revealing essay that appeared in the Palestine Chronicle for January 29, 2002, Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro, two of the ISM’s founders and senior leaders, write:

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. But that does not mean that this right must be utilized. Regardless of what is a right and what is not, the elements that will make any change in the situation are strategy and tactics. To date, the use of violence as part of the resistance has not evinced a strategy. Not in operations against the military or settlers; not in operations inside the Green Line. The choice of using nonviolence would not be effective either if it was not organized strategically. (5)

In other words, the Palestinians have an undeniable right to use violence, and since Arraf and Shapiro make no qualifications on that use, it can only be assumed that the Palestinians have a right to use violence just as they are doing right now, in the form of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. But the use of this right is not always wise, and so it need not necessarily be exercised. To be effective, the use of violence must follow an organized strategy. The same is true of the use of nonviolence. They are both options to which the Palestinians have a legitimate right, but they are only feasible if they follow an organized strategy.

Lest there be any doubt that this is what the authors mean, and that they do in fact advocate the use of violence if strategically planned, they write further in the same article:

The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics – both nonviolent and violent. But most importantly it must develop a strategy involving both aspects. No other successful nonviolent movement was able to achieve what it did without a concurrent violent movement – in India militants attacked British outposts and interests while Gandhi conducted his campaign, while the Black Panther Movement and its earlier incarnations existed side-by-side with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

What Arraf and Shapiro fail to mention, of course, is that neither Gandhi nor Martin Luther King endorsed the use of violence but were appalled by it, while the ISM clearly approves of “violent movements” acting “side-by-side” with its own nonviolent approach. The ISM sees itself not as a substitute for but as an adjunct to the use of violence against Israelis. It therefore cynically exploits the legacies of those who stood exclusively for nonviolence and passive resistance. The ISM clearly believes in violence – it actually says so – but chooses nonviolent opposition as an additional tactic.

In a message she posted to an ISM mailing list, Arraf went as far as to quote with approval an essay praising suicide bombers as shahids or martyrs. (7)

Other leaders of the ISM have also expressed their support for violence, even though it is not the tactic they personally prefer to use. Ghassan Andoni, another founder of the ISM, said in an interview by Bitterlemons.org that Palestinians have the right to use violence if they choose:

Bitterlemons: 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. We as the Palestinian Solidarity Movement have decided, however, that our tool for resisting the occupation is non-violence. (8)

Saif Abu Keshek is a co-ordinator for the ISM in Nablus. In an interview on the ISM-London web site he says the same thing: that Palestinians are morally justified in using violence if they choose.

So there is strong support for the armed resistance? [Keshek:] Surely there is support for the armed resistance. It is one of the rights of the Palestinians to fight back against the occupation. The ISM supports non violent direct action, not armed struggle… [Keshek:] Yes, but also we recognise the right of the Palestinians to choose their way of resistance. To join our way of resistance or to choose armed struggle. (9) 

From all of these statements by people central to the ISM it is clear that the ISM wants to have it both ways: to claim the moral high ground of nonviolence while keeping the tactical advantage of violence. For Palestinians, “violent resistance” usually takes the form of terrorism, that is, targeted attacks against civilians. Even the ISM, in its support of the right to use violence, makes no distinction between terrorism and other forms of violence. We have heard ISM leaders in their own words: “Palestinians have the full right to resist the occupation with means that they think are suitable”; “We recognize the right of the Palestinians to choose their way of resistance” – with no restrictions. Such statements by ISM members are far from unique.

It is now clear that the ISM is not a pure nonviolent movement but sees itself working together with violent, even terrorist factions of the Palestinian fight against Israel. Nonviolence that accepts violence enables violence. Nonviolent obstruction of Israeli efforts to resist terrorism enables terrorism to continue. For example, members of the ISM, including Rachel Corrie, have tried “nonviolently” to obstruct the movement of Israeli bulldozers whose job it was to expose and destroy tunnels used for illegally smuggling weapons. This is “nonviolence” in name only. These “nonviolent peace activists” were helping to ensure that arms get into the hands of terrorists. If your work helps make violence possible, you are participating in violence. There is little difference between distracting your target while others ready their weapons and wielding the weapon yourself. The type of nonviolence that the ISM espouses supports and aids terrorist violence. (10)

Connections to Terrorist Groups

The ISM has indeed worked together with terrorist groups. An ISM press release dated July 2, 2003 announced a demonstration to block construction of Israel’s security fence (which ISM calls an “apartheid wall”), and invited participants to “Join the ISM, the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces and the Apartheid Wall Defense Committee” in these efforts to disrupt the fence’s construction. (11)

Who are these “National and Islamic Forces”? A virulently anti-Israel statement this group issued on February 10, 2001 contains the names of its members, which include the terrorist organizations Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and several others. (12)

There is some evidence that ISM cooperation with terrorist activity goes beyond signing joint statements and giving verbal support. While not engaging in violence directly, ISM members have come to the aid of others who have.

In the spring of 2002 about 40 senior terrorists wanted by Israel took refuge in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where IDF soldiers had them under siege. About a dozen ISM members snuck past Israeli troops and entered the church to give support to the terrorists. (13) The ISM published on its own web site an account by the British Guardian containing a proud proclamation that these ISM members were to act as “human shields.” (14)

At about the same time, other ISM members were acting as human shields in the Palestinian presidential compound in Ramallah. They were present not only to support Yasser Arafat but to protect the “Ze’evi Five,” terrorists wanted by Israel for the murder of Rehav’am Ze’evi, Israeli Minister of Tourism, on September 18, 2001. (15)

In the spring of 2003 Israeli troops were searching for Shadi Sukiya, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad in Jenin who had been involved in planning suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Jewish communities. They found him hiding in the offices of the International Solidarity Movement.

At first Susan Barclay, the ISM Coordinator, refused the Israeli soldiers permission to search the offices. But the soldiers forced their way in and arrested both Sukiya and Barclay. A handgun was also found. (16)(17)

An ISM spokesperson claimed that Barclay had no way of knowing who Sukiya really was. Nevertheless, this is no excuse for obstructing a legitimate search for a wanted terrorist. And how plausible is the ISM’s proclamation of Barclay’s innocence? Barclay herself told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that “she knowingly worked with representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad – terrorist groups that sponsor suicide bombings and exist, according to their charters, to demolish the Jewish state entirely.” (18)  

Conclusion

While pretending to stand for nonviolence, in both what it says and what it does the ISM aids and abets violent Palestinian extremist movements. The words of the Jewish Action Task Force capture the essence of the ISM:

The ISM is a terrorist protection organization. The goal of the ISM is not to plant bombs and murder civilians. The ISM aims to protect the terrorists who plant bombs and murder civilians. The ISM hopes to keep the IDF out of Palestinian neighborhoods so that terrorists will be free to manufacture explosives, train suicide bombers, smuggle weapons, arm snipers, and fire rockets at residential neighborhoods without interference from the IDF. The ISM calls itself non-violent, and many supporters of the organization in the U.S. may actually believe that this is a non-violent movement following the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The leadership, however, is using the rhetoric of non-violence in a calculated effort to mask the true nature of the ISM, which is organized for the protection of terrorists. (19)

This report has presented the International Solidarity Movement in its own words and actions. I have already documented the ISM’s cynical exploitation of the death of Rachel Corrie, and need not repeat that here. The ISM is not, as it pretends to be, a neutral, peacemaking organization. What it does stand for is abundantly clear. Let us not be fooled.

Source: Peace with Realism

 

Notes:
ISM Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize,” Canadian Dimension, May 2, 2003.
What You Can do.”
International Solidarity Movement, “Statement on Bombings.”
International Solidarity Movement, “About ISM.”
Why Nonviolent Resistance is Important for the Palestinian Intifada: A Response to Ramzy Baroud,” Palestine Chronicle, January 29, 2002.
Is ‘Occupation’ an Excuse for Terrorism?” elsewhere on this web site.
ISM Reports: A Bone from Rafah / Ethnic cleansing,” Palsolidarity Mailing List, March 27, 2003.
Resisting the Tool of Control: An Interview with Ghassan Andoni,” October 7, 2002.
Interview with Saif Abu Keshek,” International Solidarity Movement – London,February 23, 2003.
ISM: July 3 Action to Stop the Wall,” New Zealand Scoop, July 2, 2003.
Statement Issued by the National and Islamic Forces,” Jerusalem Media & Communication Center, February 10, 2001.
Israelis Blame Arafat for Bethlehem Church Fire,” CNN.com, May 3, 2002.
From Bristol to Bethlehem,” The British Guardian, May 16, 2002.
Operation Devastation“, May 2002.
Senior Islamic Jihad Terrorist Arrested While Hiding in the Offices of the International Solidarity Movement in Jenin,” March 27, 2003.
Tension Rises Between Activists, Army After Third Recent Casualty,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 13, 2003.
Activist’s Death Focuses Spotlight on Mideast Struggle,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 20, 2003.
International Solidarity: A Terrorist Protection Movement,” no date.


Comment:

In some time 2005-2006 a poster came into Human Rights Network with posts about “Peaceful Protesters in Bilin” – Ket and I were elated. Finally!
The Palestinians were getting it! We were very happy. This we had been waiting for…

The poster swore that the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were comparable to Gandhi and MLK. Great. So when IDF opened fire on “protesters” we denounced, condemned and agreed with Israel’s detractors that it was really horrible.

What we did not know was that the poster, and all her friends in the Pro-Palestinian Camp were lying through their teeth about what really was happening. The IDF had been responding to gun fire aimed at them from within the ISM Rally. What ISM hoped for was that they then could say “its militants using the gathering to discredit ISM” – all the while those militants were part of ISM. We fell for it (in fact the entire world fell for it) – of course ISM was a modern Peaceful Civil Rights Movement…

Right now I feel that whatever I have ever conceded – despite the fact that I have not heard any Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims or Xians in this group or elsewhere make any concessions, no apologies, nothing that indicates that they think the Palestinians militants are wrong – I have made into a void of mockery, a chasm of indifference and “let the Jews crawl, grovel and humiliate themselves”.

I am sorry, a “thank you Dov” isn’t going to do it – I want more, I want condemnations of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian Terror Organization, and their constant attacks on Israeli border towns from the Arabs and Muslims in this Group.
Dov

Posted in International Solidarity Movement, Israel/Palestine, Peace | Leave a Comment »

Military and Truth

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 31, 2007


The guy in this video is a Xtian – but I can actually respect his message.

http://www.mcc.org/thermostat/videos/military_medium.html

Posted in Peace | Leave a Comment »

Without Justice there can be no Peace

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 30, 2007


 

Justice, justice shall thou pursue!” (Devarim/Deut 16:20 – Parasha Shoftim)”By three things the world is preserved, by Justice, by Truth and by Peace, and these three are one: if Justice has been accomplished, so has Truth and so has Peace” (JT Taanit 4:2, after Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel and Rav Muna)

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said: there is truth, the truth of the truth, and peace. Truth is: a kid stole an apple. The truth of the truth is: the kid was hungry. Peace is: Nobody stole anything; give the kid an apple!” (Heard from Reb Shlomo Carlebach)

Justice – tzedek (righteousness) means that something is right or has been righted.
Truth – emet (truth) means the stability of facts. That the facts are reliable and accurate.
Peace – shalom (perfection), means that nothing is missing, that all is well.

When all that is wrong has been righted and there are no more needs, because all is well, then there is also Peace.

That is why Torah tells us to pursue Justice. We are obligated to seek out that which is wrong, imbalanced, unequal, and make it right, and when we do, we bring Peace.

Jewish Justice is not blind it is said that when G-d had just created the World He had a conversation with Torah:

“Nor is this world inhabited by man the first of things earthly created by G-d. He made several worlds before ours, but He destroyed them all, because He was pleased with none until He created ours. But even this last world would have had no permanence, if G-d had executed His original plan of ruling it according to the principle of strict justice. It was only when He saw that justice [tzedek] by itself would undermine the world that He associated mercy [chessed] with justice, and made them to rule jointly.” (Legends of the Jews – Creation)

Thus tzedek – righteousness was born. When applying Justice, setting things right, we, like G-d, must take into account ALL circumstances present before passing judgement, without consideration to anything but what is right AND compassionate.

When one considers the situation in Israel/Palestine, it becomes clear that both parties must practice Tzedek and Chessed (Righteousness and Mercy) Justice with Compassion.

Both must do away with lawlessness and consider the other with compassion and seek what is right for both. The only way to do that, in my mind, is to look for the Truth [emet] and the Truth of the Truth – i.e honestly state what is happening and acknowledge the causes for those events on both sides. That is hard, because it means putting stop to the blame game – on both sides. It means being responsible and accountable.

It pains me that Israel is failing to heed the words in Shoftim “Justice, justice shall you pursue!”, because by failing that she has failed to live up to Torah’s admonition:

I the L-RD have called thee in righteousness, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations; ” (Yisheyah/Isa 42:6)

Torah True Justice doesn’t mean letting criminals get away – it means making sure that all be brought to court and given an unbiased hearing. It doesn’t mean not defending oneself or those dependent on you from attack, it means going after the criminals AND showing compassion towards those that are not criminals.

Torah clearly teaches that in war, there are certain Laws that must be followed, and I don’t think anyone denies that Israel is in a state of War. Destroying land, trees or peoples’ livelihoods are not permitted. Peace must be offered and clearly be declined before any attack. Also in a war of defense there are Laws that must be followed:

One may not:

1] Kill an innocent third party to save a life;

2] Compel a person to risk his life to save the life of another;

3] Kill the pursuer after his evil act is over as a form of punishment.

4] Use more force than minimally needed.

More on Jewish Law and the matter of War

It doesn’t serve Israel to go after the Palestinian PEOPLE for the criminal actions of Palestinian terrorists – it would be more fruitful to try and get the Palestinian People’s co-operation through aiding them in achieving prosperity and well-being independently from the criminal terrorists, including the Palestinian Governmental branches that actively endorse terrorism.

In the end this would inspire the Palestinians to start policing themselves, because co-operating with Israel in good things, such as not harboring criminals, not accepting and encouraging violent attacks on Israel and not destroying what help they recieve from Israel and the International Community, is more profitable than the opposite.

Will taking out the criminals with one hand and helping the non-criminals with the other achieve Peace? In the end it will – Chicken Soup goes a long way in hungry hearts, minds and stomachs.

It irritates the drek out of me that there are religious Jews that shrug over this and “hide” behind “Moshiach will sort it out…!” The Jewish People have been charged with the task of being a Light to the Gentiles NOW, not shockling for the coming of the Moshiach. Moshiach will come when it is time, but Justice, Truth and Peace is for the now.

It also aggravates me enormously that some Jews seem to regard Gentiles as some sort of lower class of people, and therefore do not practice Tikkun Olam and Tzedakah in relations to non-Jews. Especially since Torah clearly states that the Law is the same for the Jew and the Gentile and that the Stranger must not be wronged. (Vayikra/Lev 24:22; Shemot/Ex. 22:21; 23:9; Vayikra/Lev 19:33 etc…)

It seems that the idea that Gentiles are lesser people, that reside with some, is connected to the idea of Israel’s Chosenness, that somehow, because we are Chosen we are also above the Law – it is the very opposite. We are Chosen because G-d decided to charge us with the obligation of the Law. G-d gave us the Law so we should LIVE it and pass it on in actions. This is our Holy Duty.

It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what the L-RD doth require of thee: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy G-d“. (Mic 6:8)

The fact that others do not live this way, does not free Israel from her Holy Obligation of pursuing Justice nor does it give Israel a mandate to disregard the plight of others, when there is a need or when there is an opportunity to practice Torah. How can Israel be a Light to the Nations if she does not Shine?

Justice, justice shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the L-RD thy G-d giveth thee.” (Deu 16:20)

In fact this pursuit of Justice [tzedek] guarantees that Israel (and Palestine) will eventually live in peace.

Dov

Posted in Jewish Law, Justice, Moshiach, Peace, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Righteousness and Mercy, Torah, Truth, Weekly Parasha | 3 Comments »

The Orange

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 11, 2006


Someone asked me this Question:
“should the palestinian people be erradicated in order for israel to be a state?”
My very simple answer is NO. What saddens me is that the people asking this Question don’t hear the answer, because they are so entrenched in the idea that if you think Israel has a right to exist you must automatically think the Palestinian People doesn’t have that same right.

They don’t see the stream of “cause and effect” – they only see one side, and only half of one side – the don’t see the other half of “their side” and they definitely do not see any of the halves of the “opposite side”.

They don’t see that it takes two to tango, and that for every action there is a re-action. Therefore they do not see that a Palestinian State and a Jewish State is not mutually exclusive. There is only one Orange, so the two brothers will have to share – the Orange was cut 60 years ago – there is no putting the two halves back together, because one of the brothers have already dug out the seeds in his half and have planted the seeds to grow an Orange Grove – it isn’t his fault that the other brother have not done the same.

Nor is it his fault that the other brother has spent these last 60 years protesting that the Orange was cut instead of busying himself with finding the seeds and grow an Orange Grove. Had he busied himself with taking care of his half of the Orange, instead of incessantly burglarize his brother’s Orange Grove and kill the workers, he would have had a beautiful Orange Grove today, just like his brother.

But his lot is empty, and he blames his brother for that, he doesn’t see that he himself is responsible for that. That what damage has been done to his lot when his brother had to chase him out of his Orange Grove, was the result of him not wanting leave his brother’s Orange Grove workers alone, and having to be dragged kicking and screaming of the lot into his own or down to the City Jail.

He doesn’t see, and he never will, if he insists on staring at the shivelled up remains of the half Orange, he was given, refusing to pick up the seeds and use them as his brother has.

No-one is going to do it for him – he has to get rid of the street-thugs he has hired to burglarize his brother and focus on hiring workers that can plant his Orange Seeds and work the Orange Grove that will grow from them.

And if he doesn’t it’s not his brother’s fault.

Shalom!

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Peace | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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