Even after the debacle of the Gaza flotilla, the media continues to refer to terrorist sympathizers and anti-Israel provocateurs as “humanitarian organizations.” The media often presents these organizations as idealistic and charitable, concerned solely with providing humanitarian assistance to innocent Palestinians. Such is the Associated Press’s profile of the International Solidarity Movement, an organization that was also intimately involved with the Gaza flotilla.
According to the AP, “The ISM was launched in 2001 for sympathetic foreigners to help Palestinians throw off Israeli rule” and is portrayed as an idealistic mix of Jews and Arabs, noting that “The chance to participate in a compelling conflict is popular with college-age students on summer breaks.”
The ISM participants are described as mainly “peaceful, but provocative buffers between Palestinians and Israeli forces, mostly at protests.” Aside from concerns that the ISM volunteers are sometimes unwittingly placing themselves in harm’s way, the AP fails to dig any deeper. Had the AP’s journalist bothered to look behind the image of a peaceful organization of youthful idealists, a far more sinister agenda would have been revealed.
Had the AP been more concerned with balance and providing relevant context and information, it would have mentioned the following about the ISM:
ISM founders Adam Shapiro and his wife, Huwaida Arraf are anything but peace activists. They wrote in 2002 in a Palestine Chronicle manifesto on the use of both violence and non-violence against Israel:
While we do not advocate adopting the methods of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr., we do believe that learning from their experience… can be quite valuable and of great utility. 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. …
[W]e 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.
In another 2002 article, Shapiro and Arraf wrote: “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent…Yes, people will get killed and injured,” but these deaths are “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation. And we are certain that if these men were killed during such an action, they would be considered shaheed Allah.”
Indeed, support for terrorists went beyond the involvement of ISM activists serving as human shields to protect Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah compound from the IDF in 2002. In 2003, ISM’s extreme ideology was underscored when terrorists, originating from the UK, used ISM as a cover to attack Mike’s Place bar in Tel Aviv, murdering three people.
An official Israeli report showed how the terrorists covered their tracks “by forging links with foreign left wing activists and members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).” According to this report, “ISM members take an active part in illegal and violent actions against IDF soldiers. At times, their activity….is under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations.”
In March 2003, senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya was arrested while he was hiding in ISM’s Jenin office and being assisted by two ISM activists.
More Resources on the ISM