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Inflammatory Attack on Nonviolent Solidarity Group

* Help Respond to Inflammatory Attack on Nonviolent Solidarity Groups

* The Price of Nonviolence in Bil'in

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Help Respond to Inflammatory Attack on Nonviolent Solidarity Groups

On Sunday, February 12, 2006, the Washington Post published a defamatory op-ed by two academics, Eric Adler and Jack Langer, calling for the cancellation of the upcoming Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) conference at Georgetown University and accusing the PSM of being a "dangerous", "pro-terrorist organization".

The authors also used their forum to disparage the International
Solidarity Movement (ISM) and claimed that the ISM purposefully puts the lives of young international activists at risk in order to attract media to the Palestinian cause.

"Tragically," the authors write, "the group got its wish in 2003, when ISM member Rachel Corrie, 23, was killed while trying to block Israeli bulldozers from demolishing Palestinian houses in Gaza." It does take a certain special kind of chutzpah to cynically exploit Rachel Corrie's killing to accuse the ISM of cynically manipulating its activists!

Please write to the Washington Post and share with them your thoughts on the ISM/PSM and the underhanded attacks they have endured from a crowd in whose eyes Israel can do no wrong, no matter how criminally they behave.

A copy of the Washington Post editorial is attached at the bottom.

ISM and PSM talking points:

*The PSM and ISM are on the side of international law and numerous UN resolutions blatantly violated by decades of Israeli Occupation.

*The FBI does not consider the PSM to be a terrorist organization nor does any other government agency in the US or abroad.

*Divestment is a non-violent way to oppose Israel's ever-expanding colonization of the West Bank.

*Communities in Norway and Ireland have taken steps to divest from Israeli interests.

*The PSM is joined in its call for divestment from mainline Christian churches, university faculty unions and student governments around the country.

*South African Jews such as Ronnie Kasrils and Max Ozinsky have highlighted the similarities between Israel's system of control over Palestinians to South African Apartheid, as have respected South African leaders, such as Bishop Desmond Tutu.

*Calls for divestment have come from Israeli University professors, like Ilan Pappe, and from well-respected human rights lawyers, such as Shamai Leibowitz.

*The Israeli government has not declared ISM an illegal organization.

*ISM works with several groups who advocate for a just peace in
Palestine: Rabbis for Human Rights, The Christian Peacemakers Team, International Women's Peace Service and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

*One of ISM's founders, Dr. Ghassan Andoni was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize along with Jeff Halper, co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition.

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Why Is Georgetown Providing a Platform for This Dangerous Group?

Washington Post Op-Ed Section

Sunday, February 12, 2006; B08

This month Georgetown University plans to host the annual conference of an anti-Israel propaganda group called the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM). The PSM certainly is controversial. It is also dangerous.

The purported aim of the PSM is to encourage divestment from Israel. To this end, its conferences boast a cavalcade of anti-Israel speakers whose speeches often degenerate into anti-Semitism. At the 2004 conference at Duke University in North Carolina, for example, keynote speaker Mazin Qumsiyeh referred to Zionism as a "disease." Workshop leader Bob Brown deemed the Six-Day War "the Jew War of '67." Not to be outdone, Nasser Abufarha praised the terrorist activities of Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The PSM maintains that it is a separate organization from the
International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which sends foreign students to the West Bank and Gaza to foment anti-Israeli sentiment.

All the same, the two groups seem to have intimate ties. At the 2004
PSM conference, for instance, the International Solidarity Movement ran a recruitment meeting called "Volunteering in Palestine: Role and Value of International Activists." In that session, the organization's co-founder, Huwaida Arraf, distributed recruitment brochures and encouraged students to enlist in the ISM, which, she acknowledged, cooperates with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Another ISM co-founder, George Rishmawi, told the San Francisco Chronicle in a July 14, 2004, news story why his group recruits student volunteers.

"When Palestinians get shot by Israeli soldiers, no one is interested anymore," he said. "But if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice."

Tragically, the group got its wish in 2003, when ISM member Rachel
Corrie, 23, was killed while trying to block Israeli bulldozers from demolishing Palestinian houses in Gaza. The Israelis said the houses were covering tunnels used to smuggle weapons.

Nor is this an ancillary part of the PSM's mission. In the aftermath of the 2004 PSM meeting, conference organizer Rann Bar-On -- who is an ISM member -- informed the Duke student newspaper, "I personally consider the Palestine Solidarity Movement conference a huge success, as it brought about a tripling of the number of Duke students visiting Israel-Palestine this year, making Duke the most represented American university in the West Bank this summer." By Bar-On's own admission, recruitment into the ISM is the PSM's raison d'etre.

In agreeing to host the PSM from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, Georgetown can't even claim that its regard for free speech and expression trumps all. In 2005 the university's conference center refused to host an anti-terrorism conference sponsored by America's Truth Forum on the grounds that it was "too controversial." So why is free speech and expression of cardinal importance now? Perhaps it is related to the recent $20 million donation from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, a prominent financier of the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

If Georgetown President John J. DeGioia is concerned for the safety of his student body, he will reject the 2006 Palestine Solidarity Movement conference. Pleasing donors is an important duty of a university president, but preventing the recruitment of Georgetown students into a dangerous, pro-terrorist organization is a more vital obligation.

-- Eric Adler -- Jack Langer are respectively, a lecturer in the history department at Rice University and a doctoral candidate in history at Duke University.

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The Price of Nonviolence in Bil'in

Bil'in was not always impoverished. In the last five years many villagers have become cut off from their sources of income due to the closure of Israel to Palestinian workers, the Israeli siege on Palestinian cities and villages and the theft of farmland for settlement construction.

For one year, villagers have engaged the Israeli military through a variety of creative nonviolent tactics to interfere with the construction of the annexation barrier on their land. The barrier, justified by Israel as a security measure, will separate villagers from more than half their land in order to absorb the illegal Modi'in Illit settlement and surrounding land to allow for its expansion into Israel.

However, the use of strategic nonviolent direct action has come with a price. Since October 22, 2005 the military has being conducting night raids on Bil'in village, arresting young men and children. Those arrested reported they have been abused or tortured in confinement. Recently 18 villagers were charged with one to four months in Israeli military prison and 1,000 to 2,000 NIS each in fines. Every 1,000 NIS ($213) left unpaid results in an additional one month of imprisonment.

Many economically devastated families are unable to pay this fee, and are left feeling helpless and humiliated, unable to prevent further weeks of abuse.

Following a legal struggle within the Israeli military system some prisoners were offered release on bail of between 2,000 and 10,000 NIS each. With the help of generous donors the ISM Legal Fund, was able to support the community of Bil'in, showing the community they are not alone in their non violent resistance. We posted 39,000 NIS ($8,300) in bail for the release of community leaders and activists and 18,000 NIS ($3,800) in fines to allow Bil'in families to release their loved ones. ISM would like to thank you for your support and ask that you continue to give so we can prevent other instances of needless incarceration.

Following is a list of people the ISM Legal Fund helped using your contributions:

Rateb Abu Rahme was released on bail for 5,000 NIS after being arrested while lying down holding a cardboard tomb stone that read Bil'in R.I.P. 2005. Assault charges were dropped and his bail money returned after video evidence proved his innocence.

Abdullah Abu Rahme was released on bail twice adding up to 11,000 NIS after being arrested out of an installation of a bridge that read "Peace needs bridges not walls" and a second time while holding a tombstone.

Abdel Fatah Burnat was released from custody on 2,000 NIS bail after he was arrested from a cage built on the route of the annexation barrier.

Tamer was released on 2,000 NIS bail after being arrested from a metal tube palced on the route of the wall.

Riad and Elyan were released on 15,000 NIS bail, (5,000 paid by the ISM and the 10,000 by Israeli peace activist groups.) after being arrested out of a nonviolent crowd by undercover provocateurs.

Akram Khatib was released on 4,000 NIS bail while trying to protect in Abdullah from arrest.

Hamze Samara was released from custody on 10,000 NIS bail and is awaiting trial. He was arrested from home and charged with causing damage to the "security fence" and released on 10,000 NIS bail.

Ashraf Ibrahim Abu Rahme, Abdullah Ahmed Yassin, (14), Faraj Yasin

(19), Khalid Shokat Khatib (20), Mohammed Abdel fatah Burnat, and Wajdi Khatib (17) have been released after serving a jail sentence of one to four months in Israeli military prison and 1,000 to 2,000 NIS each in fines

Fadel Awad Ali Yassin(23), Iwad Imram Khatib, Jawad Khatib (19) Nour

Mahmoud, Yassin (19), Nayef Gazzi Al Khatib (18), Basem Ahmed Issa Yassin (28), Baasil Shokat Al Khatib (21), Hasan Awad Yassin (26) Mohammed Omran Khatib (23) and Saji Mohammed Ali Nasser Are still in prison and have paid 1,000 shekel each.

Issrar Samara (22) and Khelmi Abu Rahme are imprisoned and awaiting Trail.

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