ISM <i>Chutzpah</i>

International Solidarity Movement member Radhika Sainath is getting ready to leave Israel in a few days. But before she goes, she?s decided to slap Israel with a $4,000 lawsuit.

Judy Lash Balint,

Judy Lash Balint.jpg
Judy Lash Balint.jpg
Arutz 7
International Solidarity Movement member Radhika Sainath is getting ready to leave Israel in a few days. But before she goes, she?s decided to slap Israel with a $4,000 lawsuit.

The tactics of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and its supporters get more bizarre and brazen every day.

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, Sainath filed suit in Tel Aviv against the State of Israel for alleged unlawful imprisonment, negligence and breach of obligations. The $4,000 is for ?mental trauma and agony? she claims to have suffered at the hands of Israeli authorities during her 30-hour detention.

The legal action arises out of the arrest of Radhika and eight of her buddies when they joined a group of Palestinian Arabs protesting the construction of Israel?s anti-terrorist wall, last November, near the Arab settlement of Jayyous.

Sainath had only recently arrived in the country on a tourist visa when she was arrested. Since then, she?s been in and out of Israel four times as each three-month tourist visa expires.

Sainath says she suffered no particular harassment at Ben Gurion airport on any of her re-entries after her arrest (try entering the US on a foreign passport after you?ve spent time in a US jail).

Sainath, an Orange County, California resident and former union organizer, keeps coming back here to get into trouble. On September 5, at Faroun, Sainath and her comrades tried to shake down the gate in the anti-terror fence. Last May, she was arrested in Tulkarm for interfering with Israeli army pursuit of terrorists in the town.

In a May 11, 2003, Palestine Solidarity report of that incident, Sainath makes wild unsubstantiated accusations against Israeli soldiers. They ?used a father and his small children as human shields,? she relates. Sainath was threatened with deportation after that arrest, but Israeli attorney Shammai Leibowitz came to the rescue and successfully prevented her from having to leave the country. Leibowitz is also handling Sainath?s current suit against the Israeli government.

Leibowitz, by the way, was the member of terrorist Marwan Barghouti's defense team who likened his client to Moses and the Israeli State Prosecution to Pharoah.

In an interview last May, Sainath told me that one of her main goals was to help people detained by the Israeli army get through checkpoints. When I asked how the ISM knew who they were enabling to pass through the checkpoints, she looked stunned and said she didn't know. "In Tulkarm, people who are wanted by the army aren't going to attempt to walk through a checkpoint. Anyway, it's not our job to check to see if someone's carrying explosives or not."

Sainath says her US passport was stolen here last year and she had to go to the US embassy in Tel Aviv to get it renewed. "I encountered a lot of difficulties because almost everyone who works there is an Israeli-American. They're all Israelis with US passports. It didn't seem like they'd be helpful?? To someone with her political views, she implied.

Still, she did get her passport and she did gain entry several times into Israel. And she did spend, by her own admission, more than ten months out of the past year here in Israel trying to prevent Israel from carrying out its anti-terror mission.

She?s lucky she got off with 30 hours in an Israeli jail.

It is bad enough that Israeli authorities kept on letting her back in the country to take part in activities that endanger all Israelis, let?s hope that the Israeli government doesn?t now give her a farewell present of $4,000 as well.

© Judy Lash Balint 2003