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ISM Defends Against Slander - Call for Action


ISM Defends Against Slander - Call for Action

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-peretz23jun23,1,7863547.story?coll

Martin Peretz's June 23 Los Angeles Times Commentary "Travelling with Bad Companions" includes a number of SIGNIFICANT factual distortions relating to THE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT (ISM) that grossly misrepresent ISM activities, goals and volunteers.

1) Peretz writes: On its own Web site, the ISM admits to supporting the Palestinian right to "legitimate armed struggle."

Fact: the ISM website says: "As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions, we recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle. However, we believe that nonviolence can be a powerful weapon in fighting oppression and we are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance."

Peretz uses a fragment of a sentence from the website, omitting ISM's verb "recognize" and substituting his own verb, "supporting", thereby substantially altering and misstating ISM's views. Recognizing that a right exists under international law is different from supporting its implementation. Peretz avoids quoting ISM's following sentence stating its commitment to nonviolence.

2) Peretz writes: "The two British Muslims recruited by Hamas who blew up Mike's Place, a blues pub in Tel Aviv, moved in and out of Israel from the territories with remarkable ease, aided by ISM activists."

Fact: a written June 3rd statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's Media Adviser (http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0nfo0) notes that the bombers moved in and out of Nablus, Ramallah and Gaza with the assistance of an Italian journalist who was unaware of their intentions. The Prime Minister's Media Adviser's statement does not suggest that ISM played a role in helping the bombers move in and out of Israel. Shortly after the bombing, ISM convened a public press conference in Jerusalem acknowledging that the bombers did have a brief social encounter with ISM members in Rafah at a public event. ISM members had no knowledge of the bombers' intentions, no other links with the bombers and provided no support in any way to the bombers. In fact, Israeli military and security had much more contact with the two than we did.

3) Peretz writes: ISM's "activities are dovetailed with the needs of Hamas. It stages media events for the murder militias."

Fact: ISM has no links with Hamas or any other Palestinian political party, nor any armed Palestinian group. All ISM statements and actions clearly demonstrate our commitment to non-violence.

Peretz's article substantially distorts the facts in an effort to smear ISM, to damage the reputations of Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall and Brian Avery and other courageous ISM volunteers, to call into question ISM's clear commitment to non-violence, and to shift attention away from the illegal Israeli military occupation and Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Please call the LA Times (213-237-7000) or write (letters@latimes.com) urging them to: a) Retract and correct Peretz's serious factual misrepresentations, and b) Allow ISM space in the LA Times to respond to these distortions.

Please also consider writing your own letter to the editor of the LA Times (letters@latimes.com) focusing on the points above.

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT www.palsolidarity.org

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Robert F. Kennedy

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