by Bill Levinson (used by permission)
The Palestine Solidarity Movement has accused its opponents of waging a “smear campaign” against the movement and the organizers of this week’s Georgetown University conference. Perhaps those organizers should consider suing their own Web pages and friendly newspapers (e.g. Palestine Chronicle) and even themselves for any negative perceptions we have gotten about them.
One organization falsely claims that it has intercepted PSM emails stating that Dyab Abou Jahjah, a fervent anti-Semite, has been invited to take part in our upcoming conference. He has not. This report is a complete and utter fabrication. The PSM has no relationship to Mr. Abu Jahjah. He has not been invited to attend nor has he registered as a participant. Our fourth point of unity states that we oppose racism in all its forms. Mr. Abou Jahjah and those who share his beliefs are not welcome to organize with us and never have been. This is one example of the disturbing lengths some will go to in order to defame and impede the conference.
We are not privy to the letter that someone allegedly received from an ISM/PSM organizer that says Abou Jahjah was in fact the PSM’s mystery guest but it reasonable to believe, on the basis of ISM/PSM’s own statements, that Mr. Jahjah could have indeed been their mystery guest. The PSM cannot make nebulous statements like the following and then squeal “smear job!” when readers assume the worst. From the PSM’s own announcement,
…in addition to the aforementioned presenters, “we’re also expecting a prominent activist from Palestine to address the attendees.” Conference organizers made the decision not to release this activist’s name for fear of any backlash or harassment that he/she may face from Israeli occupation forces that restrict the daily movement of Palestinians in the West Bank.”
This statement from the PSM itself suggests to a reasonable person that this mystery individual at least might be wanted by Israeli law enforcement and/or might be ineligible to enter the United States. What is wrong with him (or her) that makes the Palestine Solidarity Movement reluctant to disclose his identity? Might he encounter trouble upon trying to enter the United States under his own name? These are not accusations but rather questions that the PSM’s own statement above naturally evokes– questions that could easily be dispelled by revealing the person’s name. If he is in the United States legally, we must and will respect his First Amendment right to spew the Islamofascist swill du jour as long as he does not incite a riot (like the one Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights started at Concordia University in 2002).
Furthermore, it is believed that the PSM (known as the International Solidarity Movement abroad) did bring another individual, Ayed Morrar, into the country in violation of U.S. Code Title 8, Ch. 12, § 1182. “Inadmissible aliens.” The law says,
“Any alien convicted of 2 or more offenses (other than purely political offenses), regardless of whether the conviction was in a single trial or whether the offenses arose from a single scheme of misconduct and regardless of whether the offenses involved moral turpitude, for which the aggregate sentences to confinement were 5 years or more is inadmissible.”
According to the Northern California International Solidarity Movement, Ayed Morrar spent more than six years in jail in Israel. It is reasonable for us to believe that he was in the United States illegally unless he got a special exemption or waiver from the U.S. State Department. As shown by Northern California ISM’s own Web page,
“Ayed is a well-known advocate and speaker for nonviolent resistance in Palestine …He has been physically attacked many times for his efforts and has spent more than six years in Israeli prisons.”
Furthermore, the International Solidarity Movement has a long track record of getting its activists into Israel illegally, and its own Web pages tell activists how to lie to Israeli authorities to smooth their entry. This Web site has an exact copy of what was on the ISM’s own Web site.
We believe that it’s less suspicious if you come through Israel but you have to have a really good story about why you are coming, and must not mention anything about ISM or knowing, liking or planning to visit Palestinians. You must play it as though your visit is for other, Israel-based reasons, like tourism, religion, visiting an Israeli friend, etc. So do a little bit of research and put together a story that you’ll be able to answer questions about. For example, if you say you are visiting a friend in Jerusalem, you should have the name and phone number of a real Israeli person. If you are coming for religious purposes, have a book or two on religion and travel in Israel; have an itinerary, etc.
To summarize, we have three pieces of evidence that would persuade a reasonable person to believe that someone like Abou Jahjah at least might be the PSM’s mystery guest speaker:
(1) http://www.palestinesolidaritymovement.org/pressrelease.htm, a site owned by the Palestine Solidarity Movement, which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the mystery speaker could encounter trouble with Israeli and/or U.S. law enforcement were his identity to be disclosed in advance
(2) http://www.norcalism.org/activisttour.htm#events, a site owned by Northern California ISM that describes a speaking tour by Ayed Morrar, whom the site says spent six years in jail (and is therefore probably ineligible to enter the United States)
(3) http://www.israelnewsagency.com/internationalsolidaritymovement.html, which displays information from the International Solidarity Movement’s own Web site on what kind of “story” to tell a country’s officials so as to enter that country under false pretenses.
Note that not a single one of these references is from a hostile source. Since Nadeem Muaddi, whom we think is the PSM site’s Webmaster, is now making more noises about lawsuits– we remind him of the character witness who is waiting to testify on his behalf in any proceedings– perhaps he should consider going after the Palestine Solidarity Movement, the International Solidarity Movement, and NorCal ISM for publishing the underlying “defamatory” material. Now for PSM’s next complaint:
The accusations of anti-Semitism and links to terror levied against the PSM are not only abhorrent, but also unsubstantiated. We believe that these accusations are nothing more than shameful attempts to stifle academic debate on university campuses throughout the nation on issues involving a just and lasting solution to the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict.
Then we recommend that the Palestine Soldiarity Movement sue the Palestine Chronicle and even the Georgetown Hoya for reporting information that suggests that PSM is indeed connected to terrorism and advocates terrorism. Two of the ISM’s leaders, Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf, defended the use of violence against Israelis in a January 2002 article in the Palestine Chronicle:
In actuality, nonviolence is not enough. Rather, what is needed is nonviolent direct action against the occupation. ...The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics— both nonviolent and violent. But most importantly it must develop a strategy involving both aspects. No other successful nonviolent movement was able to achieve what it did without a concurrent violent movement. In India militants attacked British outposts and interests while Gandhi conducted his campaign, while the Black Panther Movement and its earlier incarnations existed side-by-side with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
The Georgetown Hoya (January 27 2006) reported this: “But [Nadeem] Muaddi declined to condemn suicide bombings, saying that it would not be right ‘to criticize Palestinians for taking part in violence when the Israeli forces are taking part in violence.’”
Joe Carr will meanwhile have to sue himself for accusing himself of endorsing violence and property destruction on his own Web site.
…I am a revolutionary; this US-dominated global capitalist system is inherently flawed & I aim to help accelerate its inevitable collapse & create a truly sustainable & egalitarian society. I work for peace in my personal interactions and I oppose all wars waged by governments to ensure their dominance, but I am NOT a pacifist; I find nonviolent tactics powerful and effective, but violence & property destruction have always been an essential part of revolutionary movements& I support everyone’s right to self defense.
The PSM’s “notice” page continues,
The PSM is currently documenting libelous statements propagated over the internet and through the press for the purpose of taking legal action against any and all individuals / organizations that contribute to the creation and/or dissemination of these lies.
Well, then, we advise PSM to look at the root sources of these “lies:” Web sites owned and controlled by ISM/PSM, the Palestine Chronicle, NorCal ISM, and Joe Carr’s lovinrevolution.org. Now we will cite the first source in this article that does not belong to the ISM, PSM, or a source friendly to it, although we can assume that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is neutral and accurate:
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Activist’s death focuses spotlight on Mideast struggle
By SAM SKOLNIK
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
In fact, Barclay said in an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, she knowingly worked with representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad — terrorist groups that sponsor suicide bombings and exist, according to their charters, to demolish the Jewish state entirely.
Barclay acknowledged that in organizing a non-violent February march on an Israel-imposed gate that divided eastern and western Nablus, she worked with representatives from the two groups.
So maybe PSM ought to sue International Solidarity Movement member Susan Barclay as well for propagating the “wrong” ideas about their organization, like perceptions that they work with Foreign Terrorist Organizations as designated by the U.S. State Department. It seems that quite a few ISM/PSM personnel (Shapiro and Arraf as reported by the Palestine Chronicle, Joe Carr as reported on his own Web site, and Susan Barclay per her interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter) are almost the ringleaders of this ongoing “smear campaign” to defame the Palestine Solidarity Movement with allegations of terrorist connections and advocacy of terrorism. Even Nadeem Muaddi seems guilty of the defamation of which he speaks due to his refusal to condemn suicide bombing during his interview with The Hoya.
One thing the PSM’s notice did do, however, was to clear up any ambiguity over whether its meetings would be open to the public.
Despite the ill-intentions and illegal actions of those who wish to see violence and conflict continue in Israel/Palestine, this year’s PSM conference at Georgetown University will proceed as scheduled. As always, we invite the public to participate in all our events and witness first-hand the peaceful and anti-racist nature of our movement.
Good. We will take PSM’s word, given as shown above on its own Web site, that members of the public who attend the event will not be harassed, intimidated, or threatened with a repetition of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights’ conduct at Concordia University in 2002.