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The ISM's Jihad Against Arabs By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, January 08, 2004

You can tell the Middle East is getting really confusing when the vile pro-terror extremist organization ISM, or International Solidarity Movement, decides to go on jihad warpath against a Bedouin Arab patriot. Pressing Israel to investigate the shooting of ISM protester Tom Hurndall, Israel found that the soldier who shot Hurndall -- was a Bedouin Arab serving in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Rather than shame Israel by exposing a bloodthirsty Israeli militarist, they instead harmed an Arab, a member of the group they allegedly support.

The ISM is the group of leftists and “anarchists” who have adopted the Palestinian terrorists as their pet cause. These are the sorts of people usually found posting their scribblings on “Indymedia” websites. They have flocked to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they devote themselves to trying to prevent Israel from taking military action against the terrorists who send suicide bombers and other mass murderers into Israel.  The ISM “peace activists” try to block roads, set up obstacles before tanks, oppose soldiers trying to arrest terrorists or to knock down houses of suicide bombers, and otherwise show how thoroughly they support the Palestinian "militants." In at least one case, they hid arms for Palestinian terrorists and have attempted to hide wanted terrorists in their offices. They make no secret of their desire to see Israel annihilated.  They openly endorse mass murder of Jews. The two terrorists who carried out an atrocity in a Tel Aviv pub were hosted by the ISM the day before they carried out the murders.


However, the very fact that ISM operates in Israel attests to the antithesis of ISM's conclusions:  They are in Israel precisely because Israeli troops tend to regard trouble-makers from the U.S. and Europe with gentleness and timidity. Ever wonder why these people were not in Iraq, guarding Ba'ath offices and bunkers? Ever wonder what would have become of a group of ISM-ers who stood in front of the Tikrit farmhouse to prevent the GIs from extracting Saddam from his flea-infested hole?


Lately, the ISM comrades have taken on a new tactic: attacking segments of the security fence Israel is erecting, a fence designed to make it harder for the Palestinian terrorists to enter Israel and murder civilians. About 1,300 Israelis have been murdered by the PLO and its affiliates since the time when Arafat signed the Oslo Accords and renounced violence for all eternity. Not only Israelis have been the victims of the carnage; Israel’s Maariv (in its January 2, 2004, issue) reports that Arafat himself has now been implicated in the murder of the American diplomats a few weeks back in Gaza.


The ISM-ers who attack the fence wish to vandalize it, so that it will be easier for the murderers to enter Israel. When they attack the fence, they come prepared with gas masks and facial ointments to protect them from tear gas, because they are clearly planning to behave violently. A few have been injured by Israeli troops exercising crowd control. None have been killed. The Israeli troops have exhibited a high degree of restraint in the face of the violent provocateurs without comparison in the democratic world. I bet you that if a crowd of hooligans attacked the fence surrounding Barbara Streisand’s mansion in Beverly Hills and tried to vandalize it, the guards and police would mow them down with no hesitation; when they try to allow suicide bombers into a sovereign nation, the media extend their sympathy.


While several ISM hooligans have been banged up while being brought under control by the Israelis, none have as yet achieved the same status of Stalinist martyrdom as the two best-known ISM terror supporters. Over the past year, two ISM members became Patron Saints for Terrorism. The better known is Rachel Corrie, a rather naïve, American-flag-burning, anti-Israel, college student from Washington state. While trying to prevent Israeli heavy machinery from knocking down terrorists' houses and digging up tunnels used by the Palestinians to smuggle explosives into Israel, she placed herself in a position where the bulldozer driver could not see her.  She was dragged down, crushed, and died.


The other near-martyr of the ISM is less known in the U.S. but is being beatified as we speak in the UK. He is Tom Hurndall. Israeli soldiers were on a mission last April in the Gaza border town of Rafiah, from which all the tunnels used to smuggle arms and explosives enter from Egypt, when they came under PLO fire. Hurndall was there, like all ISM provocateurs, to interfere with Israel's military operations against the terrorists. At the time of the shooting, Hurndall, along with other ISM members and local residents, planned to set up a "peace tent" on one of the nearby roads to prevent IDF tank patrols from using it.


When the firefight began, Hurndall ran out into the street and was hit by a bullet in the crossfire.  His supporters claim he was just trying to shoo some Arab children away from the battle zone.  Given ISM behavior in the past, it is at least as conceivable that he was planning to serve as a human shield for the terrorists doing the shooting. He was hit in the head and has been in a coma ever since.


Hurndall's family and the ISM have gone on a crusade against Israel, claiming son Tom was intentionally shot down in cold blood. The same people have long claimed that Rachel Corrie was injured deliberately out of Israeli malice, rather than as a result of her own recklessness. These folks have never come up with a good reason for why Hurndall was running around in the middle of a firefight in the Gaza Strip in the first place, a firefight started by the very same Palestinian terrorists he came there to support and protect. 


But things have gotten "curiouser and curiouser." The Israel-bashing Left has been organizing pressure, including among U.S. and EU politicians, to lobby for the prosecution of any Israeli troops involved in the injuries of these far-Left “activists.” Now just imagine their frustration! The raison d’etre of the ISM is to protect those who wage attacks on Jews and delegitimize Zionism, but the main victim of their agitprop turns out to be a Bedouin Arab.


Yes, it turns out that Hurndall was in fact shot by a Bedouin Arab soldier serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Of course, you would never know that from reading the various reports in the British press. It turns out that the Israelis who came under fire by the Palestinian terrorists in the incident in which Hurndall was shot were Bedouin Arabs. They returned fire. Hurndall was hit. The original IDF Southern Command inquiry did not identify soldiers responsible for the shooting. Then, facing pressure exerted by Hurndall's family and others, IDF Judge Advocate General Menahem Finkelstein agreed two months ago to open a new inquiry into the shooting. IDF military police investigated a soldier from the desert patrol (Bedouin) battalion. The soldier confirmed that he fired during the incident from behind a concrete barrier. He claimed that he shot in response to heavy Palestinian gunfire, and that he aimed at a Palestinian who had a pistol and wore a uniform.


Many people are not even aware that Arabs and Moslems serve in the Israeli military. In most cases, they are not conscripted, although members of the Druze and Circassian minority groups are. Both those last two are Arabic-speaking minority groups; the Circassians are Moslems and Druze have their own religion. Other Arabs may volunteer to serve their country in the Israeli Defense Forces, border patrol, and police. In particular a large number of Bedouins serve in these units, sometimes as scouts. (See my book about Bedouin scouts, The Scout, from Gefen Publishing House).


Israel seems to have caved in under the international pressure and is going to prosecute the Bedouin soldier involved in the shooting. Hurndall is now apparently brain dead due to his injury. Some wags have suggested that ISM people are brain dead even without getting injured.


How embarrassing for the ISM! They came to demonize the Jews and protect the terrorists. But all they have succeeded in doing is forcing Israel to prosecute a patriotic Bedouin Arab serving his country in the military.  Perhaps they will now go after Iraqi Arabs who opposed Saddam?

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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