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Enemy With A Human Face By: Alyssa A. Lappen
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, September 02, 2003


As a young woman in 1968, I worked briefly with Christian leaders to fight mass starvation inflicted on Biafra’s Ibo people. Joan Baez and Bob Dylan also raised money for the afflicted Biafrans. In this, my family and I followed the late Father Aloisius Dempsey, a Jesuit priest who had spent his life tending to sick and impoverished disaster victims worldwide, may he rest in peace. Never did Father Alo or his peers call on peace activists to engage in “resistance.” Peace activism then consisted of marching and raising funds to feed the starving.

Not that Biafra lacked cause. Nigeria’s so-called “civil war” actually constituted a Muslim jihad genocide that felled one million victims. Biafran Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu explained in his June 1969 Ahiara Declaration, the Ibo were threatened with “total destruction,” and their secession resisted “the Arab-Muslim expansionism which has menaced and ravaged the African continent for twelve centuries.” Nigerian troops in 1966 slaughtered 50,000 “like cattle.” In one village, in 1968 they murdered the entire adult male population. Nigerian Lieut.  Col. Murtala Mohammed declared in September 1967, “My destination is Onitsha, brothers and sisters. Let nobody stand on my way, for anything that stands on my way would be crushed.” Indeed, the Ibo people were crushed. As Karl Maier expertly describes in This House Has Fallen (2000), Nigeria’s Islamization continues today and the Ibos have become its second class citizens.

Now “peace activism” ironically sides with jihad, at least as embodied by the International Solidarity Movement, which claims a Palestinian Arab “right to resist …via legitimate armed struggle,” including murder by suicide. ISM is just ending its six week “Freedom Summer Palestine Campaign.” Ostensibly to “challenge Israel’s brutal occupation policies,” this sought to halt construction of Israel’s security fence, which ISM derisively labels an “apartheid wall.” To Israel, the fence represents a life-saver to keep suicide killers out. ISM wants them to get in. A fence can be removed; lives cannot be replaced.

For such “campaigns of nonviolent direct-action,” ISM relies on “international civilians.” But ISM volunteers look and sound nothing like the peace activists I recall. ISM’s flashy website mimics propagandistic Arab Muslim war-on-Israel lingo. Embedded in its catch phrases lie the same false assertions and demands as those of the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Aksa Martyrs, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, ISM’s apparent big brothers: “Palestinian struggle for freedom,” “end to Israeli occupation,” “illegal Israeli actions,” “resist,” and “the right to return of Palestinian refugees and a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.” Indeed, the similarities may well be intentional.

Transported to combat zones that lack manpower, ISM recruits assume quasi military roles. In March and April 2002, a devastating wave of suicide bombings induced an Israeli West Bank incursion to stem the tide. There, fretted ISMer Jessica McCallen, Israel met only Arab “gunmen [on] the streets, trying to ward of [sic] the fourth biggest army in the world with rifles and homemade explosives. Resisting with Palestinians was out of the question. There were no Palestinians on to resist with.  [ISM] delegates rapidly …transformed into journalists, humanitarian aid workers and siege breakers.”

Nominally, at least, ISM was co-founded in December 2000 by former Brooklyn radical Adam Shapiro, his Arab Palestinian-American wife Huwaida Arraf; [1] and Ghassan Andoni and George Rishmawi, the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement’s respective executive director and coordinator. Andoni, a Bir Zeit University physics instructor, also heads Beit Sahur-based Alternative Tourism, which made arrangements for two British perpetrators of an April 30 suicide bombing, the 89th in the Oslo War’s 33 months. Arafat’s Al Aksa Martyr’s Brigades and Hamas jointly claimed responsibility for the blast that killed two musicians and a waitress and gravely wounded 16 at Tel Aviv’s packed Mike’s Place music bar. [2]

True peace activists would sympathize with such Israeli victims. Not ISM. Rather, the group openly trumpets its activities via official Palestinian Authority websites. It links to PA mouthpiece Palestine Chronicle, where Shapiro and Arraf on January 29, 2002 claimed a Palestinian “right to resist with arms” and advocated against using nonviolence alone or the “methods of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.”

For the record, Palestine Chronicle pipes in news from radical outlets like Qatar’s Islam Online, atop whose governing “committee of major scholars” sits Muslim Brotherhood leader Shaikh Yusuf Al Qaradawa, who in a September 1999 al-Istiqlal (Palestine Times) interview blessed “martyrdom operations” that transform each Muslim fighter “into a human bomb that casts terror in the hearts of the enemy.” He repeated his call for such “operations” in June. Islam Online’s Fatwa Bank includes radical religious rulings, intolerance and hatred for non-Muslims and non-Muslim customs and incites violence and Islamic world domination.

Claiming to stand for “nonviolence,” “humanism” and “peace activism,” however, serves ISM’s recruiting mechanism quite well. This creates an innocent mask that lets ISM scout freely for those willing (wittingly or unwittingly) to operate its apparent radical Islamic front. The group’s “rank and file tend [to] be naive follower type people, like in a cult,” Israel Resource News Agency chief David Bedein tells Canadian Jewish News. But ISM “has crossed all red lines by openly embracing and endorsing the armed struggle.”

However, ISM plans to do much more than attract overseas service volunteers. Shapiro, Arraf, Rishmawi and Andoni apparently have not registered ISM as a U.S. non-profit organization. [3] But ISM works closely with many other counter-culture, church and quasi-academic groups that do claim favored 501(3)c tax status. While providing ISM’s much-needed manpower, these groups efficiently grease radical Islam’s propaganda wheels as well—on college and high school campuses, in fringe literary circles, at seminars and teach-ins and wherever else potential young ideologues may be found.  

On February 3, 2003, ISM coordinator Rebecca Murray appeared at a day-long protest against the impending Iraq war at New York’s St. Marks Poetry Project, itself a non-profit. To a peak, late afternoon crowd of perhaps 300, radical poet Anne Waldman and City University of New York Hebrew literature professor Ammiel Alcalay ceremoniously introduced Murray as a “witness” to inhumanity—and openly sought donations and ISM volunteers.

As others distributed Al Awda fliers seeking a Palestinian “right of return” to overwhelm Israel and boasted of “coups” elsewhere in the literary world, Murray praised Al Aksa Martyr’s Brigade terrorist Ziad Dias, and portrayed Israelis as evil oppressors. Seven months after United Nations investigators concluded otherwise, she baselessly claimed that Israel had committed massacres in Jenin and elsewhere. Murray had herself witnessed none of these alleged atrocities. But she liberally parroted hearsay as fact in a vicious tone that undoubtedly convinced many unsuspecting dupes. [4] In August 2002, Dias was assassinated in Tulkarm.  What Murray didn’t report: he had planned suicide bombings with Tulkarm Fatah officers among other things. ISM claimed his death was a “war crime.” [5]

U.S. churches likewise offer ISM huge development prospects, which it is working overtime to exploit. Churches host these terrorist advocates, reports Jerusalem writer Naomi Ragen, and help them “launder money which may be earmarked for suicide bombers.” ISM’s Kevin Clark recently attracted 47 to a talk at Naperville, Illinois’ Wesley United Methodist Church. He proudly displayed a wallet-sized snapshot he carries next to his heart—picturing Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade terrorist Burak Khelfy—who murdered 23 Israelis in Tel Aviv’s old central station on January 3. Ora Hoshen videotaped his testimonial. [6]

Spreading radical ideology in the U.S., in the way Andoni describes it, closely resembles the Muslim practice of Dawa. In fact, many Christian groups partnering with ISM use precisely the same ideological terminology.

ISM cultivates church affiliations, like that with the supposedly peace-loving Quakers at American Friends Service Committee. AFSC promotes ISM’s Israel-Palestine Peacebuilding Program and features ISM co-founder Andoni on its website. National AFSC coordinator Kathy Bergen also serves on the steering committee of Friends of Sabeel—North America, which is now “building” an “Outreach” program whose guiding principles and ideology closely resemble Islamist dogma.

Jerusalem Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal also welcomes ISM. The Episcopal Diocese refers visitors to several other U.S. and Middle Eastern churches and groups working with ISM, or which parrot the claim of nonviolence while alternately supporting a “right to resist.” “They make us slaves,” claims Jerusalem’s YMCA, echoing Andoni.

The ideological threads tying Christian groups to radical Islam include denial of Israel’s rights to sovereignty and the disgusting equation of Israeli government actions with Nazi policy. “Nazis were as powerful as Israel is now and Jews were as poor and helpless as Palestinians are now,” Andoni wrote in a letter posted by Jerusalem’s United Methodist Church.

The differences should be obvious: the Nazis purposefully starved and mass-murdered Europe’s eminently peaceful, productive and law-abiding Jews. Israel merely defends its citizens against the terrorism of a Palestinian society indoctrinating its children in Nazi and kamikaze dogma. The Pax Christi International Sabeel website duplicates Andoni’s activism and his AFSC “Middle East Program Peacebuilding Unit,” which signed a hate-filled screed blaming the Iraq war on Israel.   

On the ground in Israel, ISM attempts to maintain appearances. ISM spokespeople update foreign consuls and international media daily, a deceit that has nevertheless won over many. Canadian parliament member Sven Robinson, for example, nominated ISM for a Nobel Peace Prize [7] after “activist” Rachel Corrie accidentally died on March 16, 2003. The month before, she was photographed in Gaza burning U.S. flags. [8]

Corrie, a Christian, died trying to halt an Israeli bulldozer from clearing land-minds and arms-smuggling tunnels.[9] Her death generated powerful PA propaganda that prompted Arafat’s Fatah to breach supremacist Islamic tradition to arrange her wake, which Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists attended.

On March 27, coordinator Susan Barcley compromised her “peace activism” by refusing to open ISM’s Jenin office to an Israel Defense Force search. Inside, the IDF found Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukia. [10] Israel deported Barcley for her connections to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in April. [11]

At such a juncture, a peaceful group would presumably revise its strategy. But on April 11, ISM “activist” Tom Hurndall was shot in the head in Rafah, near the smuggling tunnels that Corrie had died trying to protect. He was dressed in military fatigues, and firing at IDF personnel. 

In short, ISM supports the terrorist infrastructure and engages in military action.

ISM plays campus rallies, too—and not with peaceful types. A well-funded “annual” Palestinian Solidarity Movement National Student Conference in February 2002 allied closely with the Islamist Muslim Student Association. The MSA co-sponsored the University of California at Berkeley event, at which it spearheaded a call to divest investments in Israel. Three months later, 60 Solidarity Movement students attended MSA’s Washington, D.C., annual conference to advance divestment strategies. Like several other Islamist groups, MSA featured Corrie on its web page after her death. 

Strangely, Solidarity Movement held its second National Student Conference nine months later in Ann Arbor, Michigan in October. It featured Sami Al-Arian, since imprisoned for financing Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide bombings at the University of South Florida. The Muslim Student Association, a key organizer, was evidently in a hurry to find new student recruits. Indeed, the FBI is investigating MSA donations at the University of Idaho and Washington State University for links to terrorism.

The third, three-day Solidarity Movement National Student Conference, scheduled at Rutgers University on the October 2003 Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, apparently also has big Islamist backing. The New Jersey unit of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee crows ISM delegates will “vote on proposals to shape the movement’s direction, future and goals.” 

Those goals may well have been sealed at Beirut’s terrorist “Jerusalem” convention in January 2001, or nine months later, when former Islamic Association for Palestine president Yasser Bushnaq became president of Solidarity US.

Like ISM, the Islamic Association for Palestine—which ISM’s parent group lists as a “religious organization”—parades as a social action group, a "not-for-profit, public awareness, educational, political, social, and civic, national grassroots organization dedicated to advancing a just, comprehensive, and eternal solution to the cause of Palestine and suffrages of the Palestinians." But the IAP in 1994 spun off the Council on American Islamic Relations, which joined with the Muslim Public Affairs Council, American Muslim Alliance, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim American Society, among others, in sending representatives to the Jerusalem Conference. [12] Not surprisingly, ISM’s Rapprochement parent also links to CAIR, which it likewise deceptively describes as “religious.”

Concurrent to its “peace” activities, ISM runs campaigns to release Marwan Barghouti—accused of masterminding several dozen terrorist attacks that ended the lives of equally many Israeli civilians and raise funds for questionable charities such as Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund and Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. (PCRF founder Stephen Sosebee, according to Joe Kaufman, espouses the lunatic theories of the Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-up, Holocaust deniers David Irving and Roger Garaudy and Saudi professor Umayma Jalahma, who last year claimed Jews use non-Jewish blood to prepare their Purim pastries.)

ISM’s parent, Andoni’s Rapprochement Center, lists among “political parties” the Hamas and Hizb-ut-Tahrir terrorist groups. The latter, founded in Jordan, now sponsors much of the terrorism in Central Asia.

Rapprochement likewise considers Ali AbunimahAmerican-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee acolyte, Electronic Intifada founder and Al Awda devoteea legitimate source of news. It links to a rabid conspiracy site purporting to prove that Israel purposefully bombed the USS Liberty during the Six Day War, despite recent disclosures—and U.S. documents—proving the attack a grievous accident of war. Rapprochement links to several many other groups coyly claiming to support peace and justice that in fact seek only to delegitimize Israel.

New Jersey residents, Rutgers alumni and others urge the university and state officials to suspend current plans to facilitate and fund the October hate-fest, noting ISM’s open espousal of genocide. “Peaceful resistance” principles, insists Rutgers Law student and organizer Charlotte Kates, include supporting Palestinian suicide bombers. “Resistance in all its forms” constitutes a “powerful tool of justice.” Israelis deserve death, Kates says, since they live in “an apartheid colonial settler state. I do not believe apartheid, colonial settler states have a right to exist.”  In July, Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick refused to pull the conference plug and New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey backed him. New Jersey had to protect free speech, they contended.   

In the wake of public protests, however, Rutgers in August announced it would move the Hitlerian gathering from New Brunswick’s Douglass College to Piscataway’s Louis Brown Athletic Center. The Palestine Solidarity Movement consequently seemed to split, creating another venue for a second conference. Rutgers law student Kates claimed ISM would hold the New Jersey meeting as planned. PSM leaders elsewhere it would move would the event to Ohio State in Columbus.

This pathetic state of affairs should give Americans pause.

Whether an official ISM partner or not, radical Islam stands to gain substantially. Disguised as peace activism, ISM is radical all the same. Its ideas often parallel those of radical Islam and are quickly seeping into the North American mainstream. As ISM moves from campuses to American churches, it concomitantly lowers the bar to principles outlined in the Hamas Charter—jihad, death to Jews, delegitimization and destruction of Israel. Evidently, churchgoers don’t realize that Hamas also seeks global Islamic supremacy.

Extremist young “activists” groom for broad political and social participation—and harvest direct and indirect state and federal grants—via public facilities, taxpayer funding and (highly questionable) charitable donations.

Yet Americans are doing precious little to compete ideologically. Time is wasting.

NOTES: 

[1] Levin, Andrea, “National Public Radio’s Predictable Evasions,” Jerusalem Post, Jun. 10, 2003

[2] Tannenbaum, Harvey, Memorial list of victims, May 1, 2003.

[3] see www.GuideStar.org and www.palsolidarity.org

[4] Lappen, Alyssa A., notes, Poetry is News: Operation Counter Intelligence, Feb. 3, 2003

[5] Dudkevitvh, Margot, “Female would-be suicide bomber indicted,” Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2002; “Israeli Militarys [sic] Brutal Executions Continue,” ISM press release, Aug. 7, 2002.

[6] Ragen, Naomi, email communication, Aug. 6, 2003.

[7] Office of Canada member of Parliament Sven Robinson, May 2, 2003; Bedein, David, “Support unit for terror,” Jerusalem Post, Jun. 25, 2003.

[8] Feb. 15, 2003 photo file, LittleGreenFootballs.com

[9] “The Rafah Terror Tunnels: An Underground City of Weaponry,” Israel Defense Forces press release, Feb. 11, 2003; Schechter, Erik, “American woman killed by IDF bulldozer in Gaza,” Jerusalem Post, Mar. 17, 2003.

[10] “Israel army says senior Palestinian militant shielded by foreign activists,” Associated Press, Mar. 27, 2003; Gutman, Matthew, “Tension rises between activists, army after third recent casualty,” JTA News, Apr. 13, 2003; Shadi Soukia, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad in Jenin was arrested in offices of International Solidarity Movement,” Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Mar. 27, 2003.

[11] Kantor, Miles, “Terrorist Martyr, American Style,” FrontPagemag.com, Apr. 2, 2003.

[12] Moore, Art, “Muslims try to quash Bush nominee,” www.WorldNetDaily.com , Apr. 22, 2003; Minaret of Freedom website, ibid.

Alyssa A. Lappen is a former Senior Fellow of the American Center for Democracy, former Senior Editor of Institutional Investor, Working Woman and Corporate Finance, and former Associate Editor of Forbes. Her website is www.AlyssaaLappen.org.





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