Photo from Facebook invitation page: George Rishmawi – “Non-Violent Resistance”
UPDATE: The Facebook page originally containing the flier (above) and the original description (below) of the speaker, George Rishmawi have been changed as of November 19. Curiously, all original references to the speakers connection to the International Solidarity Movement have now been removed and his bio has been revised. Significantly, The Siraj Center bio of George Rishmawi describes him as “co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement.”
This information was forwarded by a UC Irvine student:
George S. Rishmawi is a leader and co-founder of the ISM, the International Solidarity Movement, and the head of the Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies (http://www.sirajcenter.org/), a Palestinian NGO that operates in the West Bank to lead educational tours about Palestine and the Israeli Occupation.
Born in Beit Sahour, a city known for non-violent resistance, George S. Rishmawi is coming to UC Irvine as a guest of the Olive Tree Initiative, and for those of you interested in becoming part of OTI 4, George is one of our primary contacts in the West Bank.
2pm – 3pm
Palestinian Non-Violent Resistance (Student Center, TBA)
330pm – 430pm
Water Shortage in the West Bank, Founders Circle, Aldirch Park
5pm – 6pm
Palestinian Diplomacy & Rapprochement, SBSG 1517
There will be a short presentation and ample time for Q/A and group discussion at each event!
Here how ADL describes the ISM:
Backgrounder: International Solidarity Movement
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a well-organized movement that spreads anti-Israel propaganda and misinformation and voices support for others who engage in armed resistance against Israel.
Founded in 2001 by American citizens Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro (her husband) and Canadian-Israeli Neta Golan, ISM’s regimen involves recruiting and coordinating Western volunteers going to Palestinian areas for orientation meetings with Palestinian organizers and to discuss upcoming protests and actions. Once there, these volunteers engage in such tactics as obstructing the activities of the Israeli Army. George Rishmawi, via his local organization Grassroots International Protection for Palestinians, helps coordinate and train ISM volunteers once they arrive. Since 2001, hundreds of ISM volunteers have placed themselves in front of Israeli Army vehicles, removed concrete boundaries from roads, confronted Israeli troops, and in some cases, stayed in the homes of suicide bombers.
ISM volunteers often publicize their actions and experiences in the Palestinian areas by preparing statements, articles and diaries and distributing them via the Internet among a variety of anti-Israel groups. Upon return to their home countries, ISM volunteers often describe their experiences in articles and during lectures at high schools, churches, libraries and college and university campuses. Many, though not all such speaking engagements, are organized as part of the ISM-co-sponsored Wheels of Justice bus tour.
During their speaking engagements, ISM volunteers have presented a biased, distinctly anti-Israel view of the Middle East, equating Israel with both apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany. For example, during the fourth annual Palestine Solidarity Movement conference at Duke University, Rann Bar-On, a Duke student, ISM member, and one of the conference organizers, compared the treatment of Palestinians by Israel to “Algiers under the French or Poland under the Nazis. There is always violence under occupation.” The ISM’s Brian Avery criticized the U.S. media for a “campaign of misinformation by Zionist-leaning news editors.”
Numerous ISM volunteers have been arrested, deported and denied entry into Israel. In response, some ISM volunteers have deceptively sought to enter Israel by changing their name in an effort to circumvent their ban from entering Israel.
Ties to Violent Groups
Although ISM claims to be a non-violent group, some of its volunteers recognize violence as a legitimate means of achieving Palestinian goals. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned that ISM activity “at times” is “under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations.” For example:
- Several ISM members met with Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, on August 24, 2008. Haniyeh held the meeting to welcome participants of the Free Gaza Movement, an ISM-affiliated campaign that sailed two boats into Gaza port a day earlier in an effort to bring international attention to what its organizers have called the “increasing stranglehold of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.”
- Richard David Hupper, a Pennsylvania man who was sentenced in August 2008 to three and a half years in prison for donating $20,000 to Hamas, allegedly contributed to the terrorist organization while volunteering with ISM in the Gaza Strip in 2004. He was eventually kicked out of Israel for working with ISM, according to court documents. Hupper pleaded guilty to providing material support and resources to terrorists in May.
- In June 2007, Hisham Jam Joun, an ISM trainer in Israel, said in a letter posted on ISM’s Web page: “Even if part of the population supports military resistance to the conflict, it is only because we see the violence and injustice of a military occupation on a daily basis.”
- Two British suicide bombers met with ISM members before blowing up a popular bar in Tel Aviv near the U.S. embassy in April 2003. ISM claimed that the only contact it had with the suicide bombers “was a brief social encounter” at an ISM apartment in Rafah. However, five days before the Tel Aviv bombing, the bombers attended a memorial service in Rafah for ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie, an American college student crushed to death in 2003 while trying to block demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza by an Israeli army bulldozer (the Israeli Army’s investigation of the Corrie death concluded that the soldiers operating the bulldozer had no intention of harming her).
- In March 2003, Israeli troops raided ISM’s West Bank offices in Jenin and captured a suspected member of the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad. The Israeli army identified Shadi Suqiyeh, who was hiding in the ISM office, as a senior member of Islamic Jihad who had planned a number of foiled attacks on Israelis. A statement released by ISM soon after the incident explained that Suqiyeh was brought into the apartment by an ISM volunteer “concerned about his welfare” because “under Israeli military curfew, Palestinians spotted in the streets are shot on sight.”
- More ties to hard-line Palestinian groups were revealed three months later, when ISM issued a press release inviting volunteers to “join the ISM, the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces and the Apartheid Wall Defense Committee…to block construction of the apartheid wall” during the Freedom Summer 2003 campaign. The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces is a group made up of members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the hard-edged wing of Arafat’s Fatah organization.
- In an article in the Palestinian Chronicle in 2002, ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf wrote: “We accept that Palestinians have a right to resist with arms, as they are an occupied people upon whom force and violence is being used.” Palestinian resistance, they say, “must take on a variety of characteristics – both nonviolent and violent.”
By using international ISM volunteers, who return to their home countries after a stint with the group and describe their experiences in articles and at lectures, local Palestinian activists have generated international attention to their cause.
ISM received its first substantial media coverage in spring 2002, when volunteers slipped into Yasir Arafat’s compound, bypassing the Israeli military that surrounded it. ISM members executed their second major action that year when they entered the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem during a military standoff between Israeli and Palestinian forces.
ISM volunteers have since taken part in various actions, including the annual Freedom Summer campaign. Volunteers have resisted the building of the Israeli security fence designed to deter terrorists by establishing a protective barrier between Israel and the West Bank. Referring to it as the “Apartheid Wall,” volunteers have tried to block construction of the security fence in some areas while attempting to tear certain sections down in others.
In the U.S., experienced ISM members recruit volunteers through various other pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel groups and through the ISM’s Web site. The ISM Web site previously included an “Information Pack,” which provided basic information on getting involved in the anti-Israel cause and offered suggestions, including tips on speaking with the press. In one section, it suggests that “when possible say ETHNIC CLEANSING” when referring to “the expulsion of Palestinians from historic Palestine in 1948 as well as the current situation.”
The packet also urged volunteers to “say RESISTANCE or RESISTANCE TO INJUSTICE [when] VIOLENCE is mentioned,” and to “emphasize STATE TERRORISM [when] TERRORISM is mentioned.”
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International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
- Website: www.palsolidarity.org
- ISM describes itself as “a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles.”
- Encourages activists to take “direct action” that often places them in danger and in direct confrontations with Israeli Defense Forces.
- In a 2002 article, ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf wrote, “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent…Yes, people will get killed and injured,” but these deaths are “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation. And we are certain that if these men were killed during such an action, they would be considered shaheed Allah.”
- In 2006 and 2007, $55,856.20 was transferred to ISM through the A.J. Muste Institute, ISM’s “fiscal sponsor.” Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) also serves as a “fiscal sponsor” for ISM-USA.
- Claims not to “receive any funding from any state, government or association.”
- Arraf and ISM volunteer Greta Berlin were organizers and spokespersons for the “Free Gaza flotilla” (May 2010) which attempted to run the blockade of Gaza and caused violent clashes with the Israeli Navy.
- Berlin stated, “For 60 years the Palestinians have waited for justice. How much longer must they pay the price for what Europe did to the Jews?”
- ISM has been responsible for endangering the safety of many foreign nationals, including American citizen Rachel Corrie and UK citizen Tom Hurndall. Both were killed while participating in ISM activities.
- Involved in the violent protests against the security barrier at Ni’lin. Tristan Anderson from California was injured in March 2009 during such an event.
- Attempted to help terrorists taking refuge in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002.
- In 2003, terrorists originating from UK attacked the Mike’s Place bar in Tel Aviv, murdering three people. An official Israeli report showed how the terrorists covered their tracks “by forging links with foreign left wing activists and members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).” According to this report, “ISM members take an active part in illegal and violent actions against IDF soldiers. At times, their activity….is under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations.”
- In March 2003, senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya was arrested while he was hiding in ISM’s Jenin office and being assisted by two ISM activists.
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