The Feb. 19 column “Israel Accuses Iowan Over West Bank Protests” leaves the reader feeling outraged at Israel for its seemingly unjust behavior toward Palestinians. Unfortunately, Rekha Basu’s column does not accurately describe the International Solidarity Movement or the situation in Israel.
The International Solidarity Movement, also known as the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, can largely be found on college campuses throughout the country. They claim to be providing “nonviolent support to Palestinians resisting their displacement from homes and lands, and harassment by Israeli security forces.” Is this really what they are doing?
Consider the remarks by one of ISM’s founders, Huwaida Arraf, wife of Adam Shapiro, at the fourth annual National Student Palestine Solidarity Conference at Duke University. She stated that the ISM cooperates and works with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – all organizations recognized by the U.S. State Department as foreign terrorist organizations.
ISM has also expressed support for the efforts of terrorist organizations that target Israel, and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned that its activity “at times” is “under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations.”
The ISM, founded in 2001, has frequently showed up on the Anti-Defamation League’s list of the 10 most active anti-Israel groups in the United States. Members organize mass demonstrations featuring extreme anti-Israel and anti-Zionist messages. Despite its claims of “non-violent” action, protest actions organized by the ISM sometimes escalate into violent confrontation, and ISM has not shied away from putting its volunteers in harm’s way.
The ISM seeks to undermine the Jewish state by spreading malicious propaganda, demonizing Israel and Israelis. The ISM, and similar groups, do the opposite of promoting peace. They spread propaganda to assault Israel’s legitimacy. Their messages are one-sided and fail to take the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into account. They unfairly attack Israel while ignoring Palestinian terrorism and incitement of violence. They apply a different standard to Israel than other countries, condemning it for implementing policies that are necessary to protect its citizens. In a country where more than 7,000 rockets have been fired at them from Gaza since 2005, Israel and its leaders do not have the luxury of making mistakes.
There are arguments for and against the security measures the United States implemented after Sept. 11. However, everyone agrees on our country’s security being of the highest priority. Israel, whose mere existence is threatened every day with new security threats, cannot afford to have people like Jessica Reznicek coming in to their country inciting hatred and possible violence.
These meticulous security measures have paid off multiple times, including Israel’s detention of 21-year-old Wafa al-Biss, who had come into Israel for medical treatment from Gaza only to be carrying a suicide vest under her inconspicuous traditional dress.
Unfortunately, Jessica Reznicek made a mistake in choosing an organization that collaborates with terrorist organizations. We are sure she, like the overwhelming majority of Israelis and Americans, want to see peace in the Middle East, but Jessica’s involvement with the ISM is not the way to accomplish this peace.