The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-run organization which recruits ‘internationals’ (mostly Europeans and Americans) to take part in demonstrations, interfere with IDF activities, sabotage the security fence, etc. This serves a dual purpose: they can get away with activities for which Israeli citizens or Palestinians would be arrested, and they become passionate advocates of the Palestinian cause in their home countries. Rachel Corrie was an ISM member.
The ISM is committed to a one-state solution, including full right of return for the descendants of Palestinian refugees. The effect of this would simply be the replacement of the Jewish state by an Arab one. Although they claim to be non-violent, they do their best to provoke violent confrontations, and they sometimes act as human shields for Palestinians engaged in violent actions.
In the US, the ISM is known as the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, or PSM. It has connections to other anti-Israel groups such as al-Awda (“the right of return”) and others. It employs a highly effective propaganda approach in which support for the destruction of Israel is linked to themes popular among young people, such as environmentalism, human rights, civil rights, and opposition to the Iraq war. It presents Israel as a racist apartheid state.
ISM/PSM turns the truth upside down, and uses the language of peace, freedom, human rights, anti-racism, justice, and nonviolence to support a project which is being implemented by means of terrorism, which is genocidal in its goals, and whose practitioners are racist, sexist and homophobic.
ISM makes much of its “nonviolence”. But we must keep in mind that what they mean is ‘non-violence in support of terrorism’. In an article entitled “Why Nonviolent Resistance is Important for the Palestinian Intifada“, ISM leaders Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro write,
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…
Recently, the ISM and affiliated groups took credit for causing the One Voice Movement’s simultaneous ‘peace concerts’, supporting a two-state solution, in Jericho and Tel Aviv to be canceled, although the organizers cited threats from terrorist groups. One Voice is an organization whose goal is to put pressure on both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to bring about a two-state solution, and although it says that it does not advocate any particular position, it falls on the left side of the spectrum.
Even this, however, is too much for the ISM, which is uncompromising in its desire to see Israel gone. Here’s an excerpt from an email sent by ISM to supporters, which contains their rationale:
This achievement [the cancellation of the events] is further proof that a clear majority in Palestinian society continues to insist on the full realization of the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine, paramount among which is the right to self-determination and the right of return for the refugees, as guaranteed by international law. A just peace can only be attained by completely ending the occupation with all its manifestations as well as the various forms of Israeli oppression against the Palestinian people, in compliance with international law and the universal principles of justice and human rights.
A perfect example of the truth inversion technique, this argument ignores the reason that the refugees have remained refugees since 1948 (Arab rejectionism), the cause of the occupation (Nasser’s failed attempt at genocide in 1967), the reason that Israel continues the occupation today (see the results of withdrawal in Gaza), the reason for ‘oppressive’ measures such as the security fence and checkpoints (terrorism), and the right of the Jewish people, as well as the Palestinians, to self-determination.
A two-state solution that would actually be a peaceful solution could only come to be if the will existed on both sides. I think a majority of Israelis would support it, if they thought it would bring peace and be more than just a vehicle for Israeli concessions that would come back to bite them when the relationship with the Palestinians deteriorated into conflict.
But the positions of Israelis and Palestinians do not seem to be symmetrical. The ISM/PSM is another expression of the widespread view among Palestinians that a) the only just solution is one that does not include a Jewish state, and b) with persistence and struggle on many fronts, they can succeed in eliminating it.
If the Palestinians have another point of view, they should show it to us.