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Gulf News: Law of Return and the dilemma

By Abbas Al Lawati

To view original article, published by Gulf News on the 9th August, click here

Dubai: Adam Shapiro, 36, and the International Solidarity Movement have in many ways been the face of the foreign activism that complemented the second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, against the Israeli occupation.

Founded by Shapiro and his former colleague, Palestinian-American Huwaida Arraf [now his wife], the ISM was established as a non-violent resistance organisation against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Shapiro has been vilified in the United States and Israel for his work with the ISM. Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post once called him the “Jewish Taliban”, in reference to John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban”.

He received much media attention in the United States after he gained access to late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah during the 2002 Israeli siege, where he had breakfast with him.

The ISM’s activities have proved to be a nuisance for Israel, particularly with the bad press it received after a bulldozer operated by the Israeli Defence Forces crushed and killed American activist Rachel Corrie, who was acting as a human shield to prevent the demolishing of a Palestinian home in Gaza. The driver is said to have crushed her, reversed the bulldozer then run over her again. Israel said it was an accident.

Shapiro has been banned by Israel since the Intifada but insists that one does not have to be inside to make a difference.

Asked if he would consider taking advantage of the Israeli “Law of Return” which guarantees citizenship any person of Jewish heritage, he said: “While it would perhaps allow me access, it would require me to acknowledge not only the existence of the state but its ideology too… I don’t see how I could [do it].”