What I am about to describe here will no doubt shock many Americans, especially American Jews. It concerns my three days spent undercover at the Palestine Solidarity Movement Conference at Duke University. To attend I had registered twice, once as an individual and once as a reporter, but my name was struck from the registration list as an individual when I arrived. I was told I was limited only to sessions set up for the press. I already knew from past experience with the ISM this was intentional to keep me out of the workshops and strategy sessions especially because of my previous coverage of the same conference last year at Ohio State.
Day One: Friday NIGHT
“We’ve come a long way in four years,” boasted Fayyad Sbaihat on the first night of the PSM Conference as he headed a panel that included Dianna Buttu, a Canadian lawyer who represents the PLO (that’s right, the terrorists have lawyers too) and the Reverend Mark Davidson from the Presbyterian Church. The panel was titled “Divestment: The Weapon of the Global Fight for Justice.” About 250 people attended, although about one third of them were Jews opposed to the Conference’s message this time, unbeknown to the organizers. “Only in the fourth year of the divestment campaign has the idea been endorsed by a mainstream institution,” Sbaihat said.
Davidson was of particular interest according to Sbaihat because during the last four years the PSM has never really succeeded in getting any universities in the United States to divest from the Jewish state with the exception of a few small stocks at the University of Wisconsin, Sbaihat’s base of operations, and at Wayne State University in Michigan which has a large Palestinian population. This has been the result so far despite heavy co-funding with Saudi money through the Muslim Students Association on U.S. campuses.
That is, up until now. Divestment has been a bust, but Sbaihat crowed that the Presbyterian Church was in the process of divesting investments from Israel in its 70 billion dollar portfolio. It was announced also that efforts would be extended soon to do the same within the Episcopalian and Anglican Churches in the near future.
Mark Davidson illustrates the effect the PLO is having on U.S. campuses with its long term propaganda campaign fueled by Saudi funding. He has a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, a touchy-feely major created by Marxist professors who like to teach that America is an imperialist warmonger built on building Empire, the Noam Chomsky narrative. Despite his turned-around collar, Davidson talks up terrorists and murderers as part of his message of “peace and social justice.” The uninitiated might see a reverend expressing his concern for human rights, but the Presbyterian delegates of Davidson’s ilk who infiltrated the Church’s hierarchy have met with Hizbollah, the same terrorist organization that murdered 241 U.S. marines in 1983 in Beirut as well as other Americans in Lebanon and who thinks the Iranian backed terrorist group is a “liberation movement.”
“Love thy enemy” probably has deeper meaning for Davidson also than is understood by most Christians, since his embracing terrorist-supporting movements such as those supported at the PSM Conference probably has some foundation in classical anti-Semitism as well; Davidson said his clique at the archdiocese objected to Biblical interpretations by “Christian Zionism” that “awards Jews exclusive rights to the land.” Why he had no indignation over Muslim exclusive rights to most of the Middle East and North Africa and the Christian persecution that accompanies it (Bethlehem has gone from an 80% Christian population to 5% due to Muslim persecution) was never explained. Davidson theorized that leaders of his church would exert pressure on local businesses and corporations that do business with Israel (Jews) as well, because of their support of Israel. He doubted the boycott by his church would bring peace, yet strangling Jews in the Middle East was still a necessity. The fact that even Adolf Hitler had some church leaders who praised the fueherer’s activities was foremost in my mind as I heard Davidson speak in terms of compassion and human rights as he endorsed a movement that openly works to aid the killing and deportation of Jews from the Holy Land.
Ms. Buttu, a Stanford educated attorney and Canadian resident of Arab descent, however, was another story. She presented maps outlining the building of Israel’s Security Fence. Buttu as an attorney/spokesperson presented a case of Israel “grabbing Palestinian land and resources”.
Displaying her graphs and posters, she dimmed the lights and wove a circuitous trail of lines implying Israel was dividing up the indigenous population into “bantusans” as in the former South Africa. No mention was made that the Security Fence is temporary until final borders negotiations are complete or even that it is there because the Palestinian Authority refuses to arrest terrorists and actually encourages terrorism against Israelis by rewarding money and praising killers as martyrs.
The theme of trying to compare Israel to apartheid South Africa during the 1980’s would later pervade the entire conference.
Buttu also claimed there was plenty of room in tiny Israel to accommodate any Arab who wanted to live inside Israel’s 1948 ceasefire line while avoiding to mention the absolute cleansing of Jews demanded by the Palestinian Authority from the West Bank and Gaza.
A pro-Israel supporter who attended this event asked Ms. Buttu why, given that human rights violations were so much worse in the Sudan, in China and elsewhere in the world, was it considered fair to single out only tiny Israel (whose real human rights record has been exemplary). Buttu replied that while human rights abuses anywhere (she of course did not include the Arafat’s military dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority) were wrong, Israel was “the greatest human rights abuser in the world.” Buttu spoke like a true lawyer for her client, twisting the facts to represent a Palestinian government that conducts public executions, allows the murders of its women for losing their virginity even when raped, promotes child sacrifice and even a death cult that teaches its children in its schools from the earliest age to want to die to kill Jews, as the victim. Overlooked by many I am sure, was Ms. Buttu’s remark, a real whopper, that Israeli schoolbooks incite violence against the Arabs (they do not) when the exact opposite is true of Palestinian textbooks that has been well-documented. Palestinian children are routinely shown maps with all of democratic Israel wiped out showing Palestine instead and given lessons that encourage them to hate Jews and die as martyrs so they can turn Israel into another Arab-Muslim dictatorship.
Encouraging pro-Israel groups to attend this year’s PSM Conference did work though. Last year at Ohio State the open mike period was used considerably longer to bash Israel. The same did happen here, with some people going into long rambling diatribes against the Jewish state. But one or two supporters of Israel did manage to get in some additional questions and comments that conflicted with the dogma of the panel. One speaker told Davidson that his local Presbyterian minister in Los Angeles was ashamed at the actions of the main diocese and predicted to him that in the final end the divestment campaign would not go through.
However, whenever the two or three people who did get to speak out in favor of Israel brought up important points, those PSM leaders on the dais made it a point to take as much time as possible to counter what they said, many times with half-baked analyses: To the question of changing the “core principle #5 of the PSM Conference” (“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”) from a tacit endorsement of suicide bombings and terrorism to a renunciation of such behavior, Buttu used the standard line of the International Solidarity Movement by skirting the question and saying the PSM was a “grassroots” movement and it wasn’t her place to dictate policy (the same doubletalk used by Duke’s administrator Burness in slightly different wording to excuse the event).
On Palestinian corruption and Arafat’s stealing millions in foreign aid money from his people, she admitted that it exists, but it is Israel’s fault according to her; On the Oslo and Taba agreements abandoned by Arafat to continue all the terrorism and murder, she ignored the offer of literally 100% of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel and claimed it was really a plot to take “Palestinian land” hatched by Israel.
Stephen Miller, a Duke student and leader of the Students For Academic Freedom on campus, asked Fayyad Sbaihat if it was true he was a member of the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine, a major terrorist organization, as was uncovered last year by Jerusalem-based investigative journalist David Bedein through senior intelligence sources in Israel. Bedein has stated Sbaihat’s entire family are active members of the group who the U.S. State Department ranks with Hamas and Al Qaeda and that has been responsible for many murders.
Sbaihat quickly denied it and moved on to the next questioner. Many in the audience laughed at the question, because to the majority of Sbaihat’s fellow travelers in the audience, such an affiliation would be something to be praised. Sbaihat, a poor Palestinian refugee from nearby Jenin in the West Bank, has unlimited funds to jet all over the United States and Canada and organize such conferences from his “base” composed of other Palestinian “activists” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, despite being a chemical engineering major on that campus. Two other major players in the Palestine Solidarity Movement, Mohammed Abed and Nasser Abufarha, also operate from Madison as part of the “Alternative Palestinian Agenda”. All were present at the Duke conference leading and lecturing sessions on the need to destroy Israel.
A short review of the vendors’ tables revealed the “Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund” had a table selling Arafat-style keffiyahs. The PCWRF used to have a website that ran pictures of suicide bombers and praised them as heroes.
A reporter from the New York Sun asked me how he could get into the workshops over the weekend because he was informed the press would not be allowed in. I gave him some advice: “Get a disguise.” Then I left.
End of Part One
Day Two: The Workshops
Because the Palestine Solidarity Movement, which also goes frequently under the name, the “International Solidarity Movement”, knows me well due to my earlier infiltrations of their events and training sessions as a member of the press, I disguised myself this time as a Pakistani Muslim. My costume afforded me access to information and interviews I could never have obtained as myself. I was equipped with hidden camera and tape recorders that I smuggled past their metal detectors with ease, part of a security system that Duke had spent nearly $60,000 to provide for the Conference organizers to keep nosy reporters like me out.
The first workshop I attended that Saturday morning was given by the guest of honor at this year’s conference, Mazin Qumsiyeh (a previous guest of honor from the Michigan conference, Sami al Arian, is currently in jail as the U.S. head of Islamic Jihad, a group that has murdered over 100 people in Israel including some American citizens).
Qumsiyeh is the head of Al Awda (“the Return” in Arabic), another part of the International Solidarity Movement that has cells all over the U.S. and Canada. Qumsiyeh co-hosted the first session with Mohammed Abed, who like Sbaihat operates from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a part of the Alternative Palestinian Agenda. U. of Wisconsin- Madison appears to serve as a hub for major ISM activities in the U.S. Last year, Abed also gave a workshop lecture at Ohio State against any two state solution and in favor of the right of return. Here he was pitching the same program along with Qumsiyeh at Duke. Good looking and speaking with an almost Cambridge accent, Abed sounded very educated and rational as he spoke about the impossibility of a two state solution because it would allow Israel to exist.
Qumsiyeh by contrast is an ugly man, but speaks with the authority of a physician, which he is: a Yale geneticist. Both men were articulate. Nevertheless, this workshop was a series of lies and hate against Jews by both of them that was couched in euphemisms and deceptions designed to make it sound like an academic event.
For those unfamiliar with the right of return, it is the PLO tactic and euphemism for dismantling Israel. Basically, it says the ancestors of any Arabs who lived in Israel’s present territory back in 1948, five million people, a number already larger than Israel’s Jewish population, have the right to go back to the very same spots their dead relatives allegedly lived back then. No other solution or compensation will do. Its purpose is to prevent any real settlement in the conflict and overrun Israel’s Jewish population with Muslim Arabs to outvote and outnumber the Jewish population so as to then annihilate and end Israel’s existence forever.
The PLO uses this tactic in the U.S., stating it is a human right for the ancestors of Arabs allegedly displaced in 1948 to live inside Israel while at the same time demanding at conferences such as at Duke that Jews in communities in the West Bank and Gaza, and even East Jerusalem, over 425,000 people, must be deported to inside Israel as a first stage to removing the Jewish state.
Qumsiyeh, a doctor of medicine, during this session officially titled “Streamlining the Theory and Practice of Solidarity Activism around the Right of Return,” said during his lecture that “Zionism is a disease.”
“Zionism” was used interchangeably at this conference for “Jew “all the time. The idea of deporting, exterminating and subjugating Jews in the Middle East as a goal of this conference was no less an act of anti-Semitism simply because the victims are in another part of the world.
Qumsiyeh continually attacked the existence of a Jewish minority state as “not due to the reality of any real threat from the Arab Muslim world,” but as “duplicity by the Jews”. He cited books that he claimed prove “Nazi-Zionist collaboration” during the Holocaust. In other words, Jews “collaborated” in their own destruction of themselves or other Jews to create a Jewish refugee state. He cited the works of Israeli “historian” Lenny Brenner, as having provided “proof” of this.
Most people hearing Qumsiyeh would not know the Palestinian leadership pays off “Israeli historians” who will spread such “history” and some, like Ilan Pappe, have even been proven to fabricate a “history” for the PLO.
Qumsieyh continued, “In Hitler’s Mein Kampf the only good Jews mentioned are Zionists.” The statement was, of course, twisted around because any praise Hitler would have had for Jews leaving Germany for a Jewish state would be because they would leave willingly, the book having been written fifteen years before the Holocaust actually took place. Qumsiyeh had the temerity to imply that Jews who wanted a Jewish state as a refuge were actually Hitler’s supporters. The implication was insulting and absurd. That it was being taught at a major university like Duke was outrageous.
He then went on to claim Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians nothing. The facts are that not only did Barak offer the Palestinians all of the West Bank and Gaza, but half of Jerusalem with authority over the Temple Mount, Israel’s holiest shrine that the Arabs immediately closed off to Jewish worshippers. Barak’s predecessor, Rabin, vowed to never give up any of Jerusalem before he was assassinated. Arafat, instead of negotiating, chose to start the Intifada and began a war. The academic aura of the PSM Conference at Duke aside, Qumsiyeh’s seminar and the entire Conference I would realize later were simply another means of waging war. Qumsiyeh claimed the real reason the Oslo accords and Taba failed were because they did not address human rights. However, his words knew no bounds, because human rights for Jews had no part in his equation when weighed against Arab nationalist goals to destroy the Jewish state. Qumsiyeh had stated aid earlier, “All movements of ethnic nationalism are a disease. I’d say the same about an Islamic state.” Qumsiyeh is a Christian Arab and one might not accuse him of advocating Islamic hegemony over Israel.
But the ratified Palestinian Constitution clearly states that Palestine is an Islamic theocracy just like Iran, the country it was modeled after. So Qumsiyeh’s insistence on a one state solution controlled by an Arab majority really is an Arab nationalist movement that he pretended to condemn.
“The notion of Israel in secure borders without the relations for creating a Palestinian right of return” was the problem in the Middle East, Qumsiyeh said over and over. In other words, unless Israel is overwhelmed by an Arab population in a part of the world where Arabs practice intolerance of all cultures but their own, as well as religious discrimination, especially against Jews, there will always be war. Such a notion completely endorses suicide bombings and terror attacks that Qumsiyeh himself has refused to condemn except through doubletalk.
Qumsiyeh, not yet finished, next began to play International Attorney. The PLO and the PSM/ISM, love to cite “International Law” while murdering Israelis through terror attacks. He insisted that international law guaranteed the unquestionable right of return but that murdering Jews was also acceptable by international law.
“There is the practicality of the two state solution. It is impractical to have to have two states,” he said again like a broken record. In other words, Jews cannot be left alone to live peacefully in a homeland next to a Palestinian homeland.
He began to complain about the population density in Gaza. What he didn’t bother to say was that Gaza’s population density is no worse than that of the city of San Francisco. He continued, “In the West Bank there simply isn’t enough room” for the Palestinian population. Of course he didn’t mention that 76% of the West Bank is unoccupied and ripe for development while he insists the Palestinian Arabs all have to move inside Israel. This is all a ploy, a lie, a fabrication that is so typical of the PLO and its ISM propaganda arm on U.S. campuses, the Palestine Solidarity Movement.
He still would not spare history: “The UN never intended there to be a two state solution” in 1948,which is blatantly false. “There is a peace process, but not peace. Colonization should be prevented until they (the Jews) all leave.”
In other words, Israel is a colony and all the Jews must flee or be deported (or killed).
Qumsiyeh spent the entire session talking out of both sides of his mouth: “There is (sic) no two sides, it’s not an Israeli-Palestinian story, but one of ethno-centered groups against the idea that people should live together,” he said. It all sounded very lovey-dovey about people living in peace and harmony, except Qumsiyeh will never condemn the murders of Jews who he characterizes as a disease in the way of creating Palestine in the place of Israel. He urged those in attendance to try and convince people there was a comparison with South Africa (there isn’t).
I asked him if the Jews did not have a legitimate fear of such a one state solution given the Arab terror attacks even on their children. I also asked why the Palestinians could not first create a viable democracy and foreswear terrorism for five years, as in the original Oslo plan, before proposing a one state solution to replace Israel, instead of heralding suicide bombers and terrorists as heroes in their media.
He immediately called an end to the session at that point. The question was probably just too hot to handle.
At the next session, “Divestment 101: Getting You Started” given by Wendy Ake and Eyad Khalaf. I caught the tail end of the lecture, but managed to snag an interview with Khalaf telling him I was writing a book.
The interview proved one thing to me: the Palestine Solidarity Movement’s program and activists are so replete with lies and misinformation, some of it so ridiculous, that it might be hilarious were it not so deadly to Israelis and their existence as well as Americans who have become their targets from time to time. Khalaf first told me that pro-Palestinian activists on campuses should always try to link Israel to South Africa (unlike South Africa, that did practice apartheid, Israel’s Arab citizens do have equal rights with Jews and even affirmative action programs in that nation’s universities much like the United States has).
I asked Khalaf if Palestinians who are Israeli citizens have the right to vote. He said no (They, in fact, do and even have representatives in Israel’s parliament who openly call for the dismantling of Israel’s democracy).
Khalaf also told me that Israeli Arabs are not allowed to own businesses (Also untrue). He claimed the Israeli settlers in the West Bank were given land for free that belonged to Arabs (Again untrue. They bought their homes built on Jordanian “state lands” after 1967 that had no individual owners, even though he told me the land was taken from individual Arabs). He continued on with the claim that any land owned by Arabs was simply taken by Israelis without compensation.
If Israel ever does take land as part of eminent domain then the owner is compensated at real value. Some Palestinians have even sued in Israeli courts and overturned appropriations. Khalaf complained that Arabs in the West Bank have different colored license plates than Israelis (They do, because the Palestinian Authority requested it be that way to reflect separate sovereignty). He said in the West Bank there were special roads accessible only to Jews (Untrue. There are the security roads for settlers who have been attacked and killed on main roads, but Arabs in the Palestinian Authority can apply for permits to use them).
I asked him if any Jews in Israel had any claim to the Holy Land at all. He replied that they were all settlers from Europe (Untrue, most are indigenous or Jewish refugees from Arab lands).
He then told me a new one that almost made me laugh enough to lose my fake beard: There are special Jewish Arab Palestinians (a fantasy) that resided in the Northern West Bank who were 1% of the Palestinian population. Only those special Jews who lived in the Palestinian Authority had a right to stay, all others had to go, even the Jewish refugees from Arab lands (55% of the Jewish population) and their progeny born in Israel. By “go” he meant forced to leave Israel itself.
He claimed the British brought Jews “illegally” to Palestine (another international lawyer!) and conveniently ignored that the Arabs were immigrants to the region at the same time under the British mandate.
My ultimate impression of Khalef was that he did not know he was lying– or did he? He had been indoctrinated to such a degree that he repeated the falsehoods by rote. This reminded me of Edward Said, the late “academic” of U.S. campuses for the Palestinian Movement. Said once said, “Truth doesn’t matter, only emotions matter,” and he urged Palestinians to “write your own history.” That is, as long as what is said ultimately helps to dismantle Israel, everything will be all right. That such an academic joke denying truth and facts became regarded on U.S. campuses as an innovative intellectual before his death is truly amazing. Khalef was a product of a system of lies now teaching new recruits to be the future liars on campuses all over the United States-just like in the Arab world. All this only keeps the war roiling on and on.
Khalef continued on by claiming the PLO has no religious ideology (it is actually primarily Muslim and the PA constitution established Islam as the official national religion). He claimed Hamas is not part of the PLO (it is per mutual written agreement of all the terrorists groups under the umbrella of the PLO).
When I asked Khalaf if the Palestine Authority has a law condemning any Arab who sells land to a Jew to death, he denied such a law existed (It does, and one Arab who it was learned sold land to Jews over twenty years ago was executed for it). He said that a two state solution was impossible, that there was no contiguous land for Palestine and that all of Israel was to be Palestine. He claimed the West Bank even was apartheid against Arabs despite the fact that the Arabs want to deport all the Jews there! He repeated another canard at the Conference that even Arabs who are Israeli citizens cannot own land in Israel.
He complained about the Security Fence because it incorporated Jewish communities for their safety and claimed it also took “Palestinian land.” He claimed the settlements were for Jews only on “illegally confiscated land” (Arabs who are Israelis can live in the settlements by law) and further insisted inside were only homes for American and European Jews (Untrue. Many residents in these communities are indigenous Jews from the Middle East, most even born in Israel).
Wendy Ake, who had co-lectured earlier with Khalef turned up and eyed me suspiciously. Ake thought I was asking too many questions and became leery after I asked for her name and email address. After snapping both of their photos with my hidden camera, I decided it was time to move on.
Another session that Saturday was the “Palestine Education Project (PEP): Bringing the Palestinian Struggle to School,” led by Ora Wise. I wrote about Ora Wise last year at the previous PSM Conference at Ohio State where she declared “Zionism is racism.” Ora is a Hebrew teacher at a synagogue in Brooklyn, New York, Kolot Chayeinu. Although she is the daughter of a rabbi in Cincinnati, Ohio and teaches Hebrew school to children, she wants Israel dismantled for an Arab majority state. She has become the prize cow for the PSM, a Jewess quisling who works tirelessly to help rid the Middle East of other Jews for the PLO.
This time Ora led a workshop on how to incite young children, particularly minority children in inner city schools in America, to hate Israel. She instructed the attendees to contact teachers all over the country-not principals of the schools, only the teachers directly– with the goal of indoctrinating as many minority kids as possible to believe that Israel is an oppressor of Arabs.
She continued, “Here is how you teach Israeli oppression:”
“Give a kid some water, but give other kids a lot of water. Give some kids toys and other kids no toys. Talk about the comparisons. Tell them the Israeli kids have the toys, the water. The Palestinians have nothing and it is the fault of the Israelis.” She continued by urging attendees to make sure they blamed the Israelis in front of the children.
Another lesson from Ora: “Get children to draw photos of their families in their homes. Then show them all the photos of what a Palestinian child would draw, reflecting oppression.” She explained, “You can order these special pictures.” One more lesson plan: “Get a hula hoop. Get the classroom of kids to stand close together around the hula hoop. Then put a child in the middle of the hula hoop. The child in the hula hoop is the Israeli. He has lots of space. He has all the water. Everyone else is crowded and uncomfortable…”
Ora’s lessons (without the knowledge of principals and on school time) should frighten any parent with children in school.
Now that it is revealed that she teaches small children to hate Israel and fellow Jews under the noses of administrators, particularly to black and ladino children, it should ring in the ears of even the most lefty Jews at the temple where she works in Brooklyn. Since she is teaching American Jewish children Hebrew, and most likely also how to hate Israel, her synagogue’s congregation should be warned to protect their children. This young woman is a menace who teaches hate to inner city school children to grow up and hate Israel and Israelis. This isn’t a “peace activist.” This is a sick and twisted subversive and parents need to be warned.
I asked Rabbi Ellen Lippmann at Kolot Chayeinu synagogue and Asked her for her reaction to Ora’s teaching techniques. No response received Yet. Perhaps other people should ask the Rabbi and tell her about what Ora is doing around children.
Another workshop was run by Mrs. Adam Shapiro, Huwaida Arraf. “Volunteering in Palestine: Role and Value of International Activists” was a recruiting session for the International Solidarity Movement much like the one I infiltrated this summer in San Francisco in my article Solidarity With Terror. Volunteers were sought to “sneak into Israel” under false pretenses to interfere with the anti-terrorist operations however possible against the Israeli army. Arraf freely admitted during the session that the ISM will work with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. “We will work with anybody,” she said. A film was shown alleging Israeli atrocities against Arabs and new “volunteers” for the ISM were actively solicited, an activity that is actually illegal under provisions of the Patriot Act regarding helping terrorist groups overseas.
“From Birthright to the ISM: The Struggle against Roots and Walls,” was led by Jessica Rutter, Vicki Kaplan, a Duke alum, and Ran Bar-On, an ISM activist and one of the main organizers of the Conference. Attendees were also told how they could get a free ticket to Israel courtesy of wealthy Jewish philanthropists who provided money thinking they were supporting the Jewish state by sending young people there, only to have them go to the West Bank and try to disrupt construction of the Security Fence being built to keep out terrorists. Rutter, the leader of Duke Divest, the campus anti-Israel divestment group, had recently used the program with no problems because the administrators at Birthright failed to even do a Google search under her name to see who she really was.
Incredibly, misuse of Birthright by the ISM has been exposed time and again Since the PSM Conference last year at Ohio State.
The discussion also dealt with the PSM infiltration of Hillel, the Jewish social organization found on every major campus in the United States and Canada, based partly on my experiences at UC Berkeley and at the Ohio State conference. I explained how this year’s strategy of the PSM would be to infiltrate Hillel chapters as a fifth column to use Jewish funding and resources to attack Israel. Now the training for this was more refined with a session at Duke devoted specifically on how to form a club within Hillel to help Palestinian groups on campus to destroy the Jewish state, all the time using a Jewish institution to do so.
Radicals of Jewish descent were told that Hillel is very democratic, using something called “the Big Tent” that encompasses all points of view. PSM activists were told to get in posing as Jewish progressives then working from within to encourage divestment and weaken the Jewish state “by any means necessary.” They could also keep tabs on plans for pro-Israel activities so they could counterman or disrupt them. This was done when Daniel Pipes came to speak at U.C. Berkeley. Berkeley Hillel used to have nearly weekly anti-Israel lectures and events until I and some students went in undercover and broadcast one such event live on the Tovia Singer Show on the Israel National News. Instead of fixing the problem, the Hillel director ejected the students who exposed the event from Hillel. This PSM Conference’s workshop at Duke proves Hillel has created a monster, a full-blown national training program for anti-Israel activists to be trained at the national event so as to train more activists locally to do the same thing on our college campuses nationwide. This is insanity.
I entered another workshop that day titled “The One State Solution and Bi-nationalist Politics Impact on Activist Discourse”-a real mouthful. This panel was headed by Fadi Kiblawi, who has expressed his desire to be a suicide bomber and advocated “killing Jews anywhere in the world” to advance the goals of having one Palestinian state. The room was packed and I had to sit on the floor behind the panelists. Some of those present were actually fellow undercover supporters of Israel.
Again there was the usual litany of accusations against Israel as an oppressor of Palestinian Arabs and the need for them all to live inside Israel’s 1948 lines as the new state of Palestine. Buzz words like “apartheid,” “racism,” “genocide,” “justice,” “occupation,” “human rights,” “national liberation,” were used over and over again in verbal attacks on Israel. The message was loud and clear: Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish country; the only national liberation movement that was legitimate was an Arab Palestinian state, not one for the Jews.
At one point a husky young man from the audience raised his hand and spoke out. “One thing we need to discuss,” he said, “is Jewish control of the media.” He continued, “the Jews are everywhere. Look at the governor of New Jersey. He even has a homosexual Jew, an Israeli for his lover.” Kiblawi remarked, “Yeah, isn’t it disgusting?” I got it all on tape.
At no time were suicide bombings or terrorist attacks condemned or even mentioned by the panelists. When Steve Miller, the leader of Students For Academic Freedom at Duke, again posed a question to the panelists about the Palestinian Authority having a death sentence for any Arab who sells land to a Jew and how that squared with claims at this conference that an overwhelmed Jewish minority within a new state of Palestine would be treated equitably, Ora Wise shouted him down from the audience saying the session was just men talking and that women were somehow being excluded. “The land doesn’t belong to them!” she shouted at Miller. She also complained that remarks were made earlier disparaging homosexuals by someone.
A grey-haired man in this late 50’s then chimed in saying he was a revolutionary and expressed the need for a revolution. This session had something for everybody.
I moved to the next session titled “A Palestinian Presence On Campus: How to Start an Organization,” hosted by Aseel Esborno, President of the Middle East North African Student Association at nearby North Carolina State U.
could have lectured to Esborno. She validated everything I have been writing on Front Page Magazine for the last year about the Arab world targeting our universities to push their agenda of hate against the United States and Israel. Esborno started by telling everyone to start a pro-Palestinian group at their college because once the school’s paperwork procedures were met, there would be access to free funds to promote the PLO Palestinian agenda through the use of taxpayer subsidized student activity money and fees all students are forced to pay as part of their tuition.
“The universities have tons of money you can get by requesting funds from student government allocations,” she said. “They never say no.”
She also discussed how campus Hillels could be used as co-sponsors to finance events on campus, even anti-Israel speakers, urging also the co-sponsoring of events and uniting with radical groups on campus associated with the Student Peace Action Network that is based in New York. SPAN is like a national clearing house for radical socialist and anarchist groups on campuses across the U.S. and will frequently work with any movement that is against the establishment.
The Conference was already running 30 minutes behind schedule so I dashed to the next meeting, an “Anarchist Caucus” given by Abe Greenhouse, the former Rutgers student who smashed a pie in the face of Israeli Minister of the Diaspora Natan Sharansky when he visited that campus. Greenhouse explained the purpose of the caucus was to discuss anarchism and its uses in the Palestine Solidarity Movement.
Greenhouse told us he decided he was an anarchist at age 15. When I asked him exactly to define what being an “anarchist” meant, he at first said it was a form of Communism. He later changed his explanation saying it wasn’t a form of Communism, but rather a form of Collectivism that rejects social hierarchy. He seemed unclear on the subject himself for someone guiding his fellow anarchists.
One woman who was a member of Women In Black told us of her early days in New York when anarchists battled the police. “I’m a pacifist,” she said, and told of how she had abandoned anarchism for a while after that only to return to it at the Conference to become involved again. The main raison d’etre of anarchists is to oppose whatever the norm is, any authority, as a rejection of hierarchy. This explains how the ISM recruits some Jews who are really just anarchists of Jewish ancestry into their ranks. Attacking Israel as Jews becomes a total rejection of authority and hierarchy in their minds, the ultimate rejection of the self and one’s family background.
When I wrote down one girl’s name during the session in my notebook she asked me, “Are you an FBI agent?” I replied I was working on a book. Another young Chicano spoke of his association with MECHA and the Azatlan Movement, a Latino organization that advocates taking the Western United States by force if necessary to make a new Latino nation, branding themselves “America’s Palestinians.” In support of the PLO the group is also virulently anti-Semitic. He mentioned he was gay and pointed out that Greenhouse was also, attributing their sexual orientation as having something to do with his solidarity with the Palestinian cause that was totally incomprehensible to me especially since homosexuals are persecuted in the Palestinian Authority, unlike in Israel where they enjoy full civil rights. In fact, many gays in the PA have sought refugee status inside Israel for fear for their lives. Homosexuality as an issue of “oppression” seemed to be a major theme throughout parts of the Conference, despite the persecution of gays in the Palestinian Authority.
Greenhouse further explained the purpose of his caucus was to define what it means to be an anarchist in a national liberation struggle, the struggle to destroy Israel and replace it with Palestine. He described the International Solidarity Movement as the “field operation for the anarchist movement based on its structure using affinity groups” in the Holy Land. In other words, the Palestine Authority has come to use U.S. anarchists and their tactics as another weapon against the Jewish state by rallying them to their cause and giving them something mainstream to oppose. What this also means is the PLO is using young American anarchists as recruiters and activists to go over to the West Bank and Gaza and serve as fodder and human shields for Arafat. Rachel Corrie, the young girl from Olympia, Washington who was accidentally killed by a tractor as she shielded a bomb smuggling tunnel in Gaza was an anarchist.
A young Israeli girl in her early twenties then praised Greenhosue for his pie assault on Minister Sharansky. “It was brilliant,” she said. “They talked about it all over Israel when it happened. You really got your message out.” She couldn’t heap enough praise on him.
Time was running short and Greenhouse had another workshop he had to lead upstairs so I followed him. The last workshop for me was the “Anatomy of the Organized Zionist Community in the United States,” led by Greenhouse and a woman named Rachel Roberts from Jews Against the Occupation. It was a lecture on the history, leadership, methods of operation and finances of every major Jewish organization in the Untied States, being taught by two Jewish radicals so the attendees would know anything and everything about the “enemy”: the Jews of America, here once again always referred to as “Zionists.”
Greenhouse first explained how the Jewish community in America had arrived here mostly as refugees from Europe. He told about the two million Jewish refugees who came in from Russia. What was most telling was when he began referring to any and all Jewish organizations in the U.S. as “Zionist organizations” by saying such things as “One of the first Zionist organizations in the United States was B’nai B’rith.” B’nai B’rith was set up as a fraternal organization for Jews in the U.S. long before the creation of Israel, long before the Zionist movement even began. Greenhouse forgot himself and said openly what the ISM always tries to disclaim: To the Palestine Solidarity Movement and its supporters, Zionism really means Jews.
The Palestine Solidarity Movement has always used people like Greenhouse and Ora Wise, young anarchists and other radicals, to claim they are not anti-Semitic, just “anti-Zionist.” Here now was proof of how they use the term “Zionist” interchangeably with “Jew” to avoid the image of being anti-Semitic in America and trick gentiles and even recruit uninformed young Jews on college campuses to join them. This is part of the ISM/PSM great goal in the U.S. to convince young assimilated Jews that they can still be good Jews and support the destruction of Israel by supporting a false movement that portrays Israel as an apartheid state and violator of human rights. While doing this they claim they are a “peace movement” and “seeking a solution to the Middle east conflict,” when all they are really doing is making war. The true apartheidist and greatest violator of human rights today is the Arab world and by the use of such Jewish “traitors,” they are steadily making headway on college campuses to convince the next generations of college kids to adopt their true goal of destroying Israel and ultimately the United States.
Greenhosue continued the session by discussing the World Zionist Organziation, Theodore Herzl, the Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC (the Israel lobby), the Jewish National Fund, Hillel and all other Jewish groups in America as if they were all part of a grand Jewish conspiracy to control the country.
Greenhosue even discussed in detail major donors to Jewish organizations such as Ron Lauder of Estee Lauder. “Don’t buy Estee Lauder,” he admonished us. He spoke of Menahem Goldman and other Jewish philanthropists such as the owner Seagrams who were active in the World Jewish Congress. “Its powerbase is liberal Jewish elites,” he explained. He discussed the American Jewish Congress, its year of founding, its activities fighting separation of church and state and fighting for women’s rights and then discussed its commitment to the security of Israel.
I wondered what Arab groups would say if American Jews held a similar conference about Arab associations and groups. The hue and cry would be endless with constant accusations of racism and prejudice hurled about.
Greenhouse spent considerable time talking about the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main lobbying arm for Israel in Congress. He stated there was an ongoing investigation into AIPAC and that it was a conduit for the Israeli government to the halls of Washington. “When Israel wants to communicate something to Jewish organizations it does it through AIPAC,” he said. “An investigation is looking into it.” He accused AIPAC of not being registered as an overseas entity. “If a group is disseminating propaganda on behalf of a foreign government it is supposed to register and have all its material scrutinized. AIPAC doesn’t do this,” he said.
I wondered if the Palestine Solidarity Movement in the United States does that? Are they registered as such an organization?
He continued on describing a relationship between AIPAC and the Christian Right. He advised attendees to read a book by Paul Findley, “They Dare to Speak Out,” that talks of the excesses of Jewish participation in government and how “Jews are on all sides of American issues.”
Greenhouse then discussed the American Jewish Committee, that he described as an “international think tank” for Jews and an advocacy organization. He maintained that after an AJC study showed that 51% of Jews in the U.S. were intermarrying, it created a panic that later led to the Birthright program to bring young Jews to Israel to identify with their Judaism. This is the same Birthright program now being promoted as a free means to get to the West Bank to help dismantle Israel as part of the ISM.
He claimed neoconservatives Richard Pearle and Paul Wolfowitz got their starts in Washington with AIPAC implying a Jewish conspiracy in Washington and even in the White House.
No Jewish organization was overlooked during Greenhouse’s lecture. He discussed each one from AIPAC to the Zionist Organization of America. He also discussed finances and the pooling of resources by 500 Jewish federations nationwide that he explained were used for social programs related to Israel and for public relations. One attendee who claimed to be Jewish commented on the “undue influence” of Jews in America. He wore a T-shirt that said “Free Palestine.”
Greenhouse concluded by discussing Hillel. He also told everyone how Hillel was open to many views of college students. He said it is not into “Zionism” and that PSM members should definitely infiltrate Hillels and get into positions of authority on student activity boards where they can push the PLO’s agenda. This would provide much needed funding for anti-Israel activities from a Jewish organization that was not “Zionist,” but mostly religious and social.
The purpose of the entire session was clear. The room was filled with a mixture of Arabs, Jewish anarchists, radicals, anti-Semites and others who wanted information on Jewish groups in America to infiltrate them, to fight them and to use such information about them in any way that could aid to dismantle the Jewish state.
It was chilling.
I was finished for Saturday and left the building to remove my beard and makeup. Only one day remained.
Day Three: Strategy Sessions
Sunday morning I sat down in front of the panel that was there to present the morning program, “What Palestinians Are Up Against: Oppression and Discrimination.”
The program identified the panelists as Brian Avery, who it described as a “human rights advocate,” Rauda Marcos, a Palestinian poet and leader of a lesbian group, and Rania Masri, a local Palestinian writer and filmmaker who was also listed as a “human rights advocate.”
Avery’s face was deformed, the result of some ricocheting bullets that struck him one night when he violated curfew in a combat zone around Jenin. The program guide and Avery himself both blamed the Israeli army. But the IDF maintains the bullets came from Palestinian terrorists firing carelessly in the area. I believe the IDF…
Avery was given free medical care by Israel. He expressed his gratitude by saying the Israelis only did it for public relations purposes because he was a foreign national. It was never clear at this discussion what made Avery a “human rights advocate” other than to be walking around with a deformed face he had earned by being cannon fodder for Yasser Arafat. He also implied that Jews control President Bush by saying, “Bush’s signing of the Global Anti-Semitism Bill was special payback to the Jewish folk,” and maintained “Zionists (Jews) control all the media, all the editors are Jews except for Indy Media and Democracy Now!”
He wrapped up his comments by claiming the Republican Party during its convention tried to put in its platform there would be not be a Palestinian State and that attempts to bring peace by the two state solution were merely a ploy to deprive the Palestinian people of their “rights.” What the platform really said was that terrorism had to stop before there could ever be a Palestinian state.
Avery’s comments typified this entire conference and pointed up why it was a terrorism supporting, anti-Semitic Hate Fest.
Rauda Marcos then took over and gave an endless rambling speech about being a lesbian Palestinian woman and how even though Israel was the place with the reputation for tolerance of gays in the Middle East, it just wasn’t true for her.
She called for “Iraq for the Iraqis” in a condemnation of U.S. presence there. She complained that the Intifada and terrorist attacks were being carried out from a “male perspective” and needed to be handled from other than a “male struggle” point of view (equal opportunity terrorism for women?).
Then Rania Maasri jumped in and declared the cause of the suicide bombings as being the occupation. By “occupation” she meant the entire state of Israel, not just the West Bank and this endorsed suicide bombings at the conference. She urged “people of color” (most Israelis are the same color as the Arabs, but Israel does have Jews who are of racial minorities, even blacks) to boycott Jewish products and businesses. She bemoaned the rise of conservative think tanks in the U.S. and claimed moves were afoot to limit academic freedom by claiming professors are afraid nowadays to use free speech. She was a walking contradiction to everything she said since she was on the dais in front of a couple of hundred people on a college campus doing what she claimed was not allowed. She then she rambled on condemning the war in Iraq as a “violation of the Declaration of Human Rights.”
I wondered if she thought Saddam Hussein was better.
Rauda Marcos then chimed in again: “I would vote for a revolution. When is our revolution going to happen?” She complained, “the Palestinians still have the same problem no matter who they deal with, Barak, Sharon, it was all the same.” She then compared the occupation in Iraq as being the same as the “occupation” by Israel. She insisted both were caused by the same oppressor: America. “Israel is a place for the U.S. to land in,” she announced, then asked rhetorically, “Palestine? Iraq? What’s next? What country will be invaded by the U.S. Army and Israel?”
She rambled on about gays in the U.S. not being free and tried to claim Israel’s gay population is not treated well, by bemoaning that Israel’s Jewish community criticizes gays. She then went on to tell a story, probably fabricated, of two Israeli men kissing in a park in Tel Aviv who were seen and beaten up by some Israeli soldiers. “The best way to free gays is to stop this war,” she said without any logic to her remarks. “I can’t walk! I can’ talk on a bus! I’m not free! As a woman I’m not free! As a gay I’m not free!”
The fact is Israeli-Arabs converse on Israeli buses every day with no problem and her rants had no credibility to them because a moment later she announced that the International Gay Pride Festival has been scheduled to be in Jerusalem in 2006. She then rambled on saying, “Boycott this! We cannot be free as gays at the same time other people are being jailed, killed! Boycott the International Gay Pride Festival in Jerusalem!”
The panel ended and Wendy Ake came on the dais to announce a litany of resolutions passed by committees to the Conference. Numerous resolutions with new ways to promote divestment plans against Israel all passed. A resolution to go after and try to arrange a wider boycott against the Caterpillar Corporation also passed. Then something happened that for me reconfirmed this was indeed a terrorism supporting conference and not the academic event that Duke University’s administration unabashedly tried to claim it was: Two resolutions had been introduced to condemn and reject suicide bombings and terrorism as proscribed by international law by amending principle #5 of the core principles for the Conference that currently give tacit approval to such attacks. When it was announced that these two were the only resolutions that failed, the auditorium erupted into wild cheers and clapping and some people even stood up screaming for joy and applauding loudly. This really was a conference to aid terrorists and murderers pf Israelis overseas as evidenced by the behavior of the crowd. I was reminded of the film, J’accuse, when Dreyfus was announced guilty to the roaring crowd and Emile Zola mumbled to himself, “Cannibals! Cannibals!”
Ran Bar-On, one of the main organizers of the Conference at Duke later was quoted in the local paper, the Herald Sun, as saying, “We don’t see it as very useful for us as a solidarity movement to condemn violence.”
I asked myself, “What has any of this to do with higher education?”
A final resolution was announced as passing designating the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the home turf of the head organizer, Sbaihat, as the next venue for the 2005 PSM Conference.
The resolutions over, the room cleared for the “strategy sessions” where all the groups in attendance were to meet and plan cooperative activities and share ideas for what to do on campuses all over the United States in the coming year. The press was informed they were now banned.
As I gathered my belongings I was approached by Dovid Weiss, a rabbi from the Neteuri Karta, who commented he noticed I was taking notes and asked me if I’d like to interview him. The Neteuri Karta is an obscure sect of Orthodox Chasidic Jews who believe the state of Israel should be destroyed because it came into being before the arrival of the Messiah as foretold in scripture. Arafat has made good use of the Neteuri Karta and pays their leader, Moshe Hirsch, $50,000 a year to be his Minister of Jewish Affairs in name only. For that money, Hirsch lends the NK name to the Palestinian cause.
Professor Menachem Friedman at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan is an expert on the NK sect and says they number less than 1,500 people worldwide, including women and children, most of whom are based in upstate New York, some in the UK and no more than 150 in Jerusalem. Those who live in Jerusalem are very quiet because, as the professor told me, if they openly advocated the destruction of the state of Israel, the rest of the Chasidic community would beat the hell out them.
Weiss thought I was a Pakistani so began his pitch for Arafat. He claimed the NK’s number hundreds of thousands of Jews worldwide who reject the Jewish state’s right to exist-a blatant lie. I asked him how many NK’s were in Jerusalem and he claimed another 100,000. Weiss looks and sounds exactly like Woody Allen. Some other pro-Israel attendees at the Conference afterwards asked me if he was really just an actor playing the role of an Orthodox Jew in order to lend some legitimacy to Palestinian goals. Sadly, I had to tell them he was for real, but as a Jew he actually was an actor; I’d seen him and another NK colleague participating in the Saturday workshops the day before on the Jewish Sabbath, when true Orthodox Jews would not do such things. Dovid Weiss was little more than a whore in Jew’s clothing at the PSM Conference. More on the Neteuri Karta later in this report.
As the room cleared, chairs were rearranged for the “strategy planning session.” Instead of leaving because I was officially not on the list, I sat down and joined in. Representatives from subversive groups and radicals, Palestinian and communist-anarchist or revolutionary groups from all over the U.S. introduced themselves and began discussing their activities from the previous year and what they were planning to do in the coming year. Most were from chapters at U.S. colleges. When my turn came I said I was from Georgetown working on a new project.
Then something happened that amazed me.
John Burness, Duke’s Vice President for Governmental Affairs, actually joined the strategy session! Burness had had several run-ins with the faculty, students and alumni at Duke over this event. Even after receiving a petition signed by 92,000 people asking Duke to cancel this event as an anti-Semitic Hate Fest and not an academic event, even after proof was submitted showing the ISM and PSM were in fact the same entity, no matter what evidence was shown, Burness had always whitewashed the event and claimed it had to run as matter of “freedom of speech.” The organizers after the event boasted it cost them less than $10,000 according to the local town newspaper. Another report claimed they spent less than $2,000. But Duke University had to spend $60,000 on security. Most businesses would fire an executive for such financial incompetence.
Something just didn’t add up with this event. Burness had been almost passionate in seeing the PSM Conference go forward. He consistently whitewashed the conference on the University’s website, still constantly denying any links between the Palestine Solidarity Movement and the International Solidarity Movement even after one of the top organizers, Duke student Ran Bar-On, openly admitted he was a member-organizer from the ISM. Burness also denied that “Kill the Jews!” had been chanted at an earlier PSM Conference on the University’s website and only half-heartedly made a slightly ambiguous correction after I sent him a legal affidavit and other evidence to prove it was true. His presence at the strategy sessions left me wondering if his constant excuses for what went on at this conference, even the cheering at the defeat of an attempt to condemn suicide bombings against Israelis were, according to Burness, just “academic freedom” and “freedom of speech.”
He even put on the website that a major Jewish organization had endorsed the Michigan Conference when it hadn’t, and didn’t remove the endorsement until he was under written pressure from the Jewish organization itself to remove it. I know Burness was seated at the strategy session because he sat just behind me and to my left.
I already started this report with the tale of what happened next, of how when I went to the back of the room to take a cellular call Burness confronted me and said he knew who I was and threatened to call the police. My crime? I was a member of the press. What did I see and hear? Well, for one thing I heard the names of some of the groups in the strategy session like the International Socialist Organization that openly advocates the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. I also saw Burness attending one of the strategy sessions. As a neutral Duke administrator, just what was he doing there at this secret meeting that it was a crime for the press to know about?
Once outside, Burness, after calling me a dirty name, then tried to claim I could have attended the session as a private individual. If that was so, why did he need to call a police officer as a backup to have me leave (I simply walked out, there was no confrontation)? I subsequently have sent some questions about the Conference, suicide bombings and anti-Semitism to Burness whose answers use the same qualifications and doublespeak that the PSM organizers like to use. Even after a blatantly anti-Semitic column appeared in the campus paper after the Conference, Burness refused to completely condemn all of its content. Burness asked campus Jewish groups not to even peacefully protest the Conference. He even accused opponents of the Conference of sending a “hoax” email supporting the Conference in the name of Hamas without even ascertaining if the email was legitimate (Burness accused Front Page Magazine of sending the “hoax” email then denied he made the accusation).
It would seem that the Palestinian Solidarity Movement in the U.S., as well as its Palestinian leadership overseas, has no interest in a settlement with Israel. They will wage war indefinitely until Israel is destroyed, constantly blaming and attacking in any way they can, through suicide bombers, guns, campus conferences like this one at Duke, churches, libraries, film festivals, through false accusations of apartheid or human rights violations, in fact, by any means necessary.
Visit us at www.stoptheISM.com.
We will soon have some of the tapes of the conference on the internet.