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January 21, 2010

ISM's Understanding of "Non-Violence" Includes Murder?


The International Solidarity Movement's repeated references to "nonviolent" resistance — on their About Us page alone the word is used eight times — has always been suspect.

After all, the extremist group's co-founders Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro clearly support and encourage violence, having written that suicide bombings are "noble" and that Palestinians "must" engage in violence alongside nonviolence:

Nonviolent resistance is no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation. ... 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 ...

As if that weren't disturbing enough, it seems clear now that, to many in the group, the "nonviolent" part of that combination includes arson, beatings, stoning, and murder.

A statement today by ISM London, published as a comment on the Guardian website, asserts that "the Palestinians' own long tradition of non-violent resistance has a lot to teach us all, from the protests and strikes against the British occupation in the 1930s onwards."

The Palestinian "protests and strikes" in the 1930s, which were fueled by Palestinian leader and close Nazi-ally Haj Amin al Husseini, centered on the general strike in 1936 (which, it should be said, was more about demanding the British implement anti-Jewish discriminatory policies than about ending the British occupation). Here are but a few examples of what that year "teaches us" about nonviolence:

On April 15, the strike was kicked off by the killing of 2 Jews. Within a month of that first killing, 21 Jews were killed by Palestinian Arabs, including seven Jews on April 19 and five the next day in Jaffa, and two elderly Jews murdered in Jerusalem on May 13. Houses were burned in Beit Shean, and a Jewish bus was fired upon near Beit Dagan.

Three Jews were shot dead as they left a cinema on May 16. Arabs threw a bomb at a bus on June 5, injuring 5 Jewish passengers. A 16-year-old Jewish boy was killed on July 9, a 7-year-old was killed on Sept. 19, and nine children were injured in a bombing of a school on July 23. Many buses were ambushed, thousands of trees uprooted, cattle killed, wheat burned, and holy sites desecrated.

By the time the strike was called off in October, 80 Jews were killed.

These events have "a lot to teach us all," ISM says. The question is, do they teach us more about the group's willingness to misrepresent history, or about their view of "nonviolence"?

Posted by GI at January 21, 2010 10:51 AM


By the way, a non-violent movement with a "concurrent violent movement" is not non-violent.

Posted by: cynthia Sloan at January 21, 2010 06:30 PM

To disabuse anyone of ISM's claim about the Palestinians' "long tradition of non-violent resistance" just click on this article--> "Anti-Jewish Violence in Pre-State Palestine"

Posted by: rh at January 23, 2010 11:54 PM

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