Among the less publicized details of the July 7th London bombings is the connection of one of the possible terrorists, Muhammad Sadique Khan, to the preeminent group of the pro-terrorist “solidarity” movement, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
Consider the available information: Khan is suspected of delivering the explosives that were used to carry out the London attacks. Recent evidence shows that the explosives used in the London subway attacks were found by British and Israeli intelligence officials to be remarkably similar to those used in a 2003 bombing of the “Mike’s Place” pizzeria in Israel. Related to this, Israel National News recently reported that British and Israeli intelligence reports show that Khan, who had a British passport, arrived in Israel on February 19, 2003, and stayed for only one day. During his stay, he may have met with Asif Hanif and Omar Sharif. Both of the men, with the assistance of Hamas, would later become suicide bombers. Hanif and Sharif traveled from Britain to Israel under the auspices of the ISM’s Alternative Tourism Program. One of their final acts, just prior to departing on their murderous mission, was to meet with ISM activists in Gaza. This connection is only one measure of the unheralded threat posed by the self-proclaimed “peace” group, ISM.
At present, Israel is the only nation to have recognized the danger the ISM presents to Western democracies. Sadly, it took a tragedy and a maiming injury as the last straw for the Israelis finally to start clamping down on ISM activities within their borders. These were, respectively, the death of an Ethiopian Jewish Israeli soldier, killed by a rock hurled during a “peaceful demonstration” conducted by the ISM in the village of Bi’lin; and another Israeli soldier, who lost an eye to a stone thrower shielded by the ISM elsewhere in the West Bank.
On July 19th, 130 ISM anarchists from around the world were stopped at the Jordanian border and refused admittance into Israel. My organization, Stop the ISM, had advised Israeli authorities months in advance that an ISM-sponsored “Caravan for Palestine” was in the works. For once, Israel acted proactively and stopped these radicals from entering its borders. They have learned the hard way that ISM members intend to create havoc and provide cover for terrorism, vandalism, and violence under the guise of being “peace activists.” The organizers had their passports specially stamped by Israeli authorities, meaning that they cannot use them to enter Israel for five years. Meanwhile, the ISM caravan went back to Syria.
Why Syria? Syria is the main support base for Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the PLO’s Communist Party wing. The PFLP’s General Command affiliate is believed to have between 500 and 1,000 members there as well, maintaining offices in Damascus and the Yarmouk refugee camp outside the Syrian capital, as well as several major military bases around the country. That the ISM caravan turned around and headed to Syria is telling: it hints at a possible collaborative connection between the PFLP and the ISM.
That would not be altogether surprising. After all, the ISM was created with the assistance of PFLP activists, with the blessing of the late Yasser Arafat, during the second Intifada in 2001. Significantly, the PLO is not a single organization. Rather, it is an umbrella group of organizations sharing the same ultimate goal: the dismantling of Israel. While Hamas (one wing of the PLO) blows up innocents in Israel, Fatah (another wing) pretends to be the negotiator and peacemaker so as to exact concessions. The PFLP is one of the more violent factions of the PLO and has also inspired other groups in the PLO umbrella such as the “Democratic” (as opposed to Communist) PFLP and the PFLP General Command. The largest segments of the PFLP are communists/anarchists who have allied with American and European anarchists.
Like the PLO itself, the PFLP organizes an international conglomerate of smaller radical communist/anarchist cells on behalf of the PLO, particularly on U.S. college campuses. No central organization exists in any one place: Al Awda (Arabic for the right of return); SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Taxpayer Assistance for Israel Now); Middle East Children’s Alliance; Duke Divest; Students for Justice In Palestine; the Alternative Palestinian Agenda; and many differently named groups prevent our government from defining any centralized authority. Its leadership and guidance comes from the PFLP, with the aid of Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and other terrorist groups. Whatever the names used, the central goal of the ISM is the destruction of the democratic state of Israel and its replacement with an Arab-dominated state, “by any means necessary.”
Similar motives propel the ISM. Among some ISM members' long-term goals is dismantling the democratic, capitalist government of the United States. This was confirmed at the Duke University National Palestine Solidarity Movement Conference in 2004. At that event, Abe Greenhouse -- an ISM activist from Rutgers University who smashed a pie in the face of former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky -- explained that the International Solidarity Movement’s activities are the training ground for the American Anarchist Movement. Stop the ISM once intercepted an ISM message discussing effective methods of public relations. One proposal was that the American branch of the ISM should adopt the moniker ISM-USA, in order to invoke patriotic sentiments. The proposal was roundly rejected: the discussants decided they hate the United States too much to feign patriotism.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the ISM has never been shy about making common cause with terrorists. A parallel example may help shed light on the ISM’s sinister motives. In July, Ali Al-Timimi, a Virginia-based imam, was sentenced to life in prison by a U.S. federal court for inspiring and urging his Islamic students to train as jihadist warriors. His disciples trained in the United States with paintball weapons. The purpose of that training was to go to Afghanistan and fight American soldiers. Even as he was conspiring to kill Americans, however, Al-Timimi maintained that he was against violence and terrorism. The ISM favors a kindred strategy, deploying its dissembling rhetoric in precisely the same way as Al-Timimi. Listen to Paul LaRudee, the Northern California head of the ISM. LaRudee’s recent interview with an al-Jazeera interviewer on public radio was a classic form of ISM doublespeak—affirming a commitment to non-violence while cutting a loophole for terrorism. Explained LaRudee:
We believe in the application of international law. Although we are totally dedicated to nonviolence, we recognize not everyone in the Palestinian community is dedicated to nonviolence and under international law we recognize that violence is necessary and it is permissible for oppressed and occupied people to use armed resistance and we recognize their right to do so.
International law, of course, proscribes blowing up women and children on buses or in subway trains in Jerusalem and London. The fact that LaRudee is a piano tuner by trade and not an international attorney does not allow him to plead ignorance. It was LaRudee, after all, who once boasted of sleeping in the bed of a suicide bomber. Then, too, it is LaRudee who recruits ISM “volunteers” to go to the Middle East and provide cover for terrorists. (This writer has attended ISM training sessions where ISM volunteers are trained to provide cover for stone throwers of the PLO.)
Paul LaRudee of Norcal ISM
Huwaida Arraf, one of the leaders of the ISM (even though they always claim they have no leadership), has been even clearer in elucidating the ISM’s policy toward terrorist groups. At last October’s national Palestine Solidarity conference at Duke University, she was recorded as she explained that the ISM engages in “collaborative efforts” with Palestinians aimed at “encouraging more people to believe again that civilian resistance can overcome an international military force.” Stipulating that, “We only engage in and actively support the unarmed resistance,” Arraf admitted that in actuality the group goes much further:
There are elements out there that try to say, you know, we support terror. We don’t refuse to work with anybody. So, often times I am asked if, you know, “What’s our position on Hamas or the Islam Jihad?” We’re willing to work with anybody, but we’re not willing to engage in military assistance. We’re not going to win that way, but Hamas are some of the key forms of organizers, the PFLP, anyone who wants to organize and help us in our struggle really is our friend and we’ll work with.
All this is in accordance with the ISM’s policy of obstructing the demolition of bomb making factories by the Israeli army. The reason: they double as the homes of known terrorist groups. Nor should one make much of the ISM’s claims that “peace” will come with the end of the Israeli “occupation.” Having attended ISM meetings, both undercover and openly as a reporter, I can attest that the word “occupation” is used to describe all of Israel and its Jewish population, the American liberation of Iraq—and, incredibly, even the United States government itself.
So what does the U.S. government make of the ISM’s activities? There are laws on the books about conspiring to break laws against allies like Israel overseas and consorting with terrorist organizations. And yet, with the exception of Sami al-Arian’s high-profile arrest as the U.S. head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, few terror-supporters have actually been brought up on charges. (Indeed, Stop the ISM was created to remedy this paucity of prosecutions.)
Part of the problem is that our government looks upon ISM activities in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as separate from our fight with terrorism. The same PLO leadership that receives U.S. tax dollars to ostensibly create another Middle East democracy works in the same coalition as the ISM to perpetuate unending war with Israel and dismantle that state to set up another Muslim Arab theocracy.
Every ISM rally for “Palestine” is also a rally against U.S. forces and goals in Iraq. The ISM openly supports the Ba’ath Party terrorists who kill U.S. troops, Iraqis, and even children. With its ceaseless demonstrations, divestment programs at colleges and churches, fundraising to send money abroad that is never accurately accounted for, and the enlistment and training of college radicals as “volunteers” to assist terrorist goals overseas, the ISM is not a “peace” movement but a war movement adept at subterfuge and subversion. What’s more, it can count on a broad base of financial succor: The “solidarity” movement benefits from Saudi largesse and has learned to exploit such left-wing funding sources as the Ford Foundation, the Davis-Putter Scholarship program, Echoing Green, and other foundations.
Those funds, in turn, bankroll some of the most extremist elements of the “solidarity” movement. Take Fayyad Sbaihat, the lead organizer of the Palestine Solidarity Movement on U.S. campuses and a chemical engineering major at the University of Wisconsin. The government knows that all of Fayyad Sbaihat’s brothers are members of the PFLP. Jetting all over the United States and Canada, he organizes yearly conferences at major universities. At one campus in Canada, Hisham Jam Joun, a PFLP trainer, was flown in to lecture to conference attendees. Although the U.S. State Department considers the PFLP an illegal terrorist group, nothing has been done to curb the recruitment efforts of its ISM allies at American universities (although the government insists that it is “watching” the PFLP).
Then there is George Rishmawi, a Canandian-Palestinian who was one of the co-founders of the ISM with Adam Shapiro, husband of and pictured above with the previously mentioned Huwaida Arraf. Rishmawi has home bases in Pasadena, California, as well as the West Bank, where he works to get students college credit in Arabic for their ISM activities. Rishmawi also supports the PFLP mantra of dismantling Israel and has been a communist/anarchist revolutionary for years.
Huwaida Arraf is an American citizen of Palestinian-Arab ancestry from Michigan. Her father has Israeli citizenship as an Arab-Israeli, so she can travel to Israel. There she goes to the West Bank and, as an ISM leader, provides cover for the PLO, vandalizes the Israeli security fence, or stands between Israeli soldiers and those who throw stones (like the one that killed an Israeli soldier). Arraf has been in and out of Israeli jails because Israel’s democratic government is just as befuddled as America’s when it comes to defining lawful dissent as opposed to intentional subversion that jeopardizes the lives of law-abiding citizens. Only recently, Arraf refused to be released from jail “in solidarity” with a PLO terrorist who was jailed along with her at one of the ISM’s activities in the West Bank village of Bi’lin. That too is part of the ISM’s training: to be arrested with violent criminals, then refuse to leave jail unless they are accompanied by the terrorists brought in with them. She was offered freedom with the proviso that she stay out of the West Bank for 15 days. She refused before eventually relenting. Doubtless she will not be kept away for long.
The relative impunity by which activists like Arraf seemingly aid the terrorist cause demands action from authorities. Some proactive steps are in order. Fayyad Sbaihat and George Rishmawi are not American citizens. Huwaida Arraf is a U.S. citizen. However, if she and other ISM activists collaborate with terrorists, that would be against the law of the United States and subject to prosecution. Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 2339A(b) ) stipulates that aiding terrorists by giving them any form of lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, providing safe houses, or false identification is illegal. Arraf, heedless of the law, has already told her acolytes at Duke University that the ISM is willing to do—and already has done—many of these things: In the past, the ISM has prevented the Israeli army from demolishing bomb-making factories and weapons smuggling tunnels located in Palestinian homes. Hisham Jam Joun was flown in to Canada for a Palestine Solidarity Conference and the former PFLP terrorist who served in Lebanon also trains ISM volunteers in the West Bank. How much longer can it be before our security services take action?
If the United States government can give a life sentence to Ali Al-Tamimi for training paintball warriors in the War on Terror, why are the so-called “solidarity” foot soldiers still free to invade U.S. campuses, enlisting college students as “volunteers” to go the West Bank and assist Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP? And why are they doing this with the aid of college administrators who, evidently, know no better in time of war? Why aren’t the leaders of the ISM in the United States indicted for aiding and abetting terrorist organizations?
Wiser to the ways of ISM activists, Israel is starting to arrest or deport ISM members and ban their activities. Our own government might be wise to follow in their footsteps.