Independent Media Center, Israel

TheTruth Is Difficult For Some To Hear
author: Pat

Sorry, but I think the response to your complaints about ISM are mostly addressed in the article below published in the Jerusalem Post and previously posted and discussed on this site.

Additionally, there is no difference in views and goals between "those who run ISM" and "the bright-eyed, bushy tailed volunteers" as you suggest. We are all idealistic, share very similar views, and are committed to non-violence. And as part of ISM's culture, decisions are made by consensus, greatly diminishing the possibility that "those who run ISM" (Which is by the way a continually changing group of people depending on who is in the country and who is involved at a given point in time - ISM is a movement not a static, hierarchical organization.) are somehow imposing an agenda.

ISM's positions are outlined publicly in the article below and in many other places. We are pretty transparent in our positions, and what we are doing.

Perhaps all this is hard for some to accept. It's very interesting to see how some feel a strong need to believe that idealistic volunteers are being tricked or duped, and that there is really some hidden agenda behind ISM.

Those of us involved know that this is not the case, that it's only the people who raise these types of claims who are fooling themselves.

Occupied peoples have the right to resist, By Tom Wallace and Radhika Sainath

July 28, 2003;=1059361961485

'We have all committed ourselves to the practice of nonviolence and do not assist anyone in committing acts of violence'

As volunteers with The International Solidarity Movement and as individuals devoted to human rights and justice, we must address recent statements maligning us, our movement and those that have given their lives standing up for the principles we espouse.

We are unwavering in our commitment to nonviolence.

Due to these beliefs, we oppose the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. As a result we have come under heavy fire in the Occupied Territories and in the media. Israeli officials and several right-wing Israeli and American pundits have embarked on a campaign to discredit ISM, by attempting to equate ISM's principled and active support for Palestinian rights with terrorism.

In one such attack, "ISM: Support Unit for Terror," journalist David Bedein falsely asserted that ISM works "in alliance with those who choose to kill people in order to advance their goals."

Our goal is to end the military occupation and bring peace and justice to Israelis and Palestinians. ISM is not linked with political parties or armed groups. Our partners are Palestinian, Israeli and international peace and human rights groups and Palestinian communities.

ISM believes in the dignity of every human being. Consequently, we strongly oppose violence against all civilians. This includes all acts of terrorism, whether perpetrated by a state, group or individual. We have all thoroughly committed ourselves to the practice of nonviolence and do not assist anyone in committing acts of violence.

Although our movement is completely nonviolent, we must recognize that independent nations and occupied peoples have security concerns and rights to self-defense and resistance as specified under international law.

Rights are rights and are not up for negotiation. But rights to self-defense and resistance should not be turned into justification for illegitimate violence against civilians.

While others condemn and criticize we provide a viable alternative by demonstrating that nonviolent resistance can succeed.

We are Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu. We are grandparents, students, professionals, nuns, and ministers. We are also Israelis. Two weeks ago 10 ISM volunteers were arrested during acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. Two of the arrestees, Avi Zer-Aviv and Aviv Kruglanski are Israeli and as such were released; the rest remain in jail, or were deported. They were removing roadblocks and setting up peace camps. They were not assisting terrorists.

We do assist medical personnel, pregnant mothers, farmers and children targeted by Israeli Forces on a daily basis. They are human beings being humiliated, tortured, beaten, arrested, shot, and killed for attempting to go to school, see a doctor or tend to their land.

OPPONENTS OF ISM claim that the movement's goal is to impede the army's job in stopping terrorism and even act as an accomplice to terrorist activities. Does anyone honestly believe that thousands of volunteers from Tel Aviv to New York City, many Jewish, would spend their vacations to come and spread terrorism?

Many of us have paid a price for our commitment. James Deleplain, 74, sustained a broken rib and punctured lung after settlers beat him during the olive harvest. Tom Hurndall, 21, was shot in the head while moving children out of harm's way from an Israeli sniper. Brian Avery, 24, had his face blown off by an Israeli armored personnel carrier. And, of course, Rachel Corrie, 23, was run over by a bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier while attempting to protect the home of a Palestinian physician from illegal demolition.

No one was held accountable for these violent attacks on civilians.

Instead, we get lies and distortions. Rather than investigating and correcting Israeli army actions to better protect civilians, the Israeli government is trying to expel foreign civilians who are monitoring human rights abuses, implicitly giving a green light for further attacks on human rights workers.

In its attempt to smother voices of dissent Israel is rapidly moving away from the democratic values it espouses toward policies reminiscent of dictatorships in Argentina and the USSR where, in the name of security, thousands were arrested, exiled and killed for their politics.

The growing international nonviolent movement offers one of the best hopes for achieving an end to the Israeli military occupation and a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis. If the Israeli government is successful in its attempt to eliminate the nonviolent resistance to its illegal policies, what alternative does that leave for those justifiably opposed to its military occupation?

Tom Wallace is a resident of Boston. He spent several months as ISM Media Coordinator.

Radhika Sainath is a resident of Los Angeles and spent several months in the West Bank.

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