Daily Israel Report

Who and What is the International Solidarity Movement?

The ISM activist, made famous by a confrontation with an IDF officer, is known as a pacifist – depending on the definition of “pacifist.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/16/2012, 12:17 PM

ISM activist murdered in Gaza
ISM activist murdered in Gaza
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), made more famous by its activist’s confrontation with an IDF soldier, is known as a left-wing pacifist group, but its sole mission in backing “Palestine” is to defame Israel. Whether it qualifies as being “pacifist” depends on whether the definition includes backing the Hamas terrorist organization and Arab “resistance.”

The activist from Denmark was one of approximately two dozen bicyclists stopped by the IDF at a checkpoint in the Jordan Valley on Saturday. During a two-hour confrontation, an IDF officer said he suffered wounds, including broken bones, at the hands of the activists who beat him with sticks. The ISM edited a film that showed the officer rifle-butting the activist, leading to as media outcry and a suspension of the officer pending a further investigation.

Mainstream media describe the ISM as a pacifist group supporting the “Palestinian cause,” but the group  includes anarchists who openly support terrorists.

“The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is an organization focused on assisting the Palestinian cause in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict using nonviolent protest,” according to Wikipedia.

Non-violence may have been a principle of its Israeli and Arab and American founders, but if so, traces of it barely exist.

Its own website says it is a "Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles".

However, its mission statement also recognizes "armed struggle" as the "right" of  Palestinian Authority Arabs.

“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,” according to the ISM.

The group insists is does not condone or support terror, but one of its articles stated, “Non-violent resistance is no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation."

Asked by a CNN interviewer if that could be understood as promoting suicide bombings, two ISM leaders tried to explain, “The article that we wrote was actually in response to another article written by a Palestinian, who said the Palestinians could not be nonviolent…"

“There already is violence. We’re not advocating it. It’s already there. It’s on the ground. We’re working with people and with Palestinians who want to promote nonviolence, and that was the context of the whole article.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has said that two terrorists involved in a suicide bombing at a restaurant had "links with foreign left wing activists and members of the International Solidarity Movement.”

Part of the ISM non-violence is to use themselves as “human shields” as in the case of Rachel Corrie, who was overrun and killed while trying to block an IDF bulldozer.

Other non-violent tactics that actually promote violence include removing Israeli military checkpoints and roadblocks, violating curfew orders, using incitement through slogans painted on the security fence along Judea and Samaria, entering closed military zones and trying to break the maritime embargo aimed at preventing the support of Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Several ISM activists have suffered wounds by participating in violent protests against the IDF, although Wikipedia quotes ISM volunteer Joe Carr as stating that Israeli soldiers try not to harm them.

Lesser known incidents include an Italian ISM activist kidnapped and killed by Gaza terrorists.

ISM activists’ tactic of avoiding terrorism often disguises what the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel says is their having “abetted the grave wave of terrorism that deluged Israel in the last decade] … and disrupted the IDF’s counterterrorism activities.”  

In the United States, the ISM supports “The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation” that includes groups promoting revolution and Marxism.

“The ISM has built a network across our nation’s colleges,” according to investigative journalist Lee Kaplan. He added, “Campus 'clubs' such as the Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Union, both ISM affiliates, are found at every major campus where they support the goals of terror groups like Hamas.  

ISM activists also supported the terror-linked IHH flotilla from Turkey to Gaza two years ago before IDF commandos, backed by international law, tried to convince the crew to change course. IHH terrorists on the Mavi Mamara ship brutally attacked commandos as they rappelled onto the deck from a hovering helicopter. Nine terrorist were killed in the clash after the IHH members kidnapped and seriously wounded three of the soldiers.

Kaplan has written, “In addition to supporting Hamas, ISM activists assist the cause of Iran, not only in its campaign against a U.S. ally, Israel, but also to aid Iran’s geopolitical goals against the United States.”