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Myth and Fact: The International Solidarity Movement
Mitchell G. Bard

Myth

"The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a non-violent human rights organization that opposes terrorism and supports a two-state solution."

Fact

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has harbored known terrorists and openly advocated violence and the destruction of Israel. ISM spokesman Raphael Cohen was asked at a May 2003 press conference to define "occupation." His response: "The Zionist presence in Palestine" (David Bedein. "Support unit for terror," Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2003).

When asked to express his view of peace, he answered, "a one state solution," by which he meant the creation of a Palestinian state in place of Israel.

On ISM's web site, the Internet directory is called "traveltopalestine." Their site also located Ben Gurion Airport in "Palestine." It includes an information packet for volunteers that features a country guide to "Palestine." The guide lists the landmass of "Palestine" as "26,323 km2 = 10,162 miles2" – the size of the entire State of Israel, plus the West Bank and Gaza. The country guide describes the geographic boundaries of "Palestine" as extending from Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, and from Lebanon to Aqaba; that is, again incorporating all of Israel.

The ISM does not hide its incitement to violence. Its web site states that it recognizes "the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle." Cohen admits that, on April 25, 2003, he hosted a group of 15 people at his apartment. Included in that group were Asif Mohammad Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, British nationals. They subsequently participated in various activities planned by the ISM. Five days later, the two carried out a suicide bombing in a popular pub next to the American Embassy in Tel Aviv that is frequented by Embassy personnel. Hanif and Sharif entered Israel under the guise of "peace activists" and "alternative tourism" – perhaps a reference to the ISM-precursor "Alternative Tourist Group" (Andrew Friedman, "The ‘Neutral' Partisans," The Review, July 2003). ISM denies responsibility for the actions of the British bombers

On March 27, 2003, ISM was caught harboring Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya. He was arrested by the IDF in ISM's office, where a handgun was also found, after two foreign ISM activists, including American Susan Barclay, helped Sukiya hide. Ms. Barclay tried to bar IDF soldiers from entering ISM offices, knowing that Sukia was there (Leslie Susser, "Israel: The IDF vs. the ISM," The Jerusalem Report, June 13, 2003); "Senior Islamic Jihad terrorist arrested while hiding in the offices of the International Solidarity Movement in Jenin," Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 27, 2003).

In addition, ISM activist Rachel Corrie protected a house utilized for arms smuggling for terror groups. Group members are also reported to provide information on Israeli troop movements to armed Palestinian factions. ISM's web site also links to several web sites devoted to freeing Fatah terrorist Marwan Barghouti. Its web site also has displayed pictures of Palestinian children throwing stones at an IDF vehicle.

The ISM web site instructs its volunteers on how to avoid Israeli security checks. For example, its members are told to lie about their affiliation with ISM and their intention to visit the territories. ISM also acknowledges its members stay in contact with local activists, which includes leaders of terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad, which it considers "resistance groups."

While the International Solidarity Movement claims to be a humanitarian organization dedicated to the principles of nonviolent resistance, it has demonstrated no interest in peace for Israelis. At a minimum, ISM has acted as an apologist for terrorism and, at times, actively abetted militants. ISM is a pro-Palestinian organization, set up by Palestinians, funded by Palestinians, and opposed to the two-state solution envisioned by the parties truly interested in peace.