Once again right-wing media, politicians, and even supposed academics are attacking the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) with spurious allegations that are easily disproved. This time it comes in their ongoing effort to undermine Representative Ilhan Omar, the Congresswoman from the 5th district of Minnesota.
On June 8, Rep. Omar retweeted a post by Marwa Fatafta, a well known and highly respected policy analyst and digital rights activist, that included a video watermarked with “International Solidarity Movement.” The video showed a young Palestinian boy wearing a backpack “snatched and detained by Israeli forces.” There is no timestamp on the video so we do not know when it was recorded, but we do know that this sort of violence directed at Palestinian children by the Israeli military is commonplace.
This tweet, and Omar’s sharing of it, were in response to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s June 7 testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. During that hearing, Omar asked Blinken pointed questions about where Palestinians should turn in search of justice for the abuses they suffer at the hands of Israeli forces, settlers, and the government. Blinken’s response was that they should turn to the Israeli court system. This response is ridiculous on its face, and Marwa Fatafta used this video to highlight that.
Let’s clear up some of the misleading claims made by those attacking the International Solidarity Movement, such as in this article by Fox News.
- The video was not “produced” by ISM; rather it was one of countless egregious abuses committed by Israeli soldiers that was captured on video by an ISM volunteer. Unfortunately, volunteers witness far more Israeli abuses than they’re able to capture on video.
- ISM is not anti-Israel; it is, however, anti-racist, anti-occupation, anti-colonization, anti-apartheid, anti-oppression. The Anti-Defamation League and Fox News translate this to being anti-Israel.
- That the ISM was “investigated by the FBI” is yet another blight on the agency, which spent years and scarce resources on a fishing expedition that revealed nothing but First Amendment-protected activity campaigning for Palestinian human rights and freedom. The ISM’s statement on this “investigation” can be read here. The investigation lasted for years and targeted ISM activists in 11 U.S. cities, myself included. No evidence of wrongdoing was ever found, according to the FBI.
- As for being identified by the ADL as one of the top 10 anti-Israel organizations, see #2 as to why the ADL labels the ISM as “anti-Israel.”
- ISM is proud to be listed amongst incredible human rights defending allies like Jewish Voice for Peace, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Friends of Sabeel – North America, Students for Justice in Palestine and others.
- The ADL itself is a deeply problematic organization. It describes itself as a “leading anti-hate organization,” but has a history of supporting racist-policing, surveillance, colonialism & apartheid, as detailed in a letter signed by over 100 human rights organizations.
- In May 2021, five progressive civil society leaders resigned from the Civil Society Fellowship (CSF) over the group’s connection to the ADL. Read their statement here.
- Most recently, long time national director of the ADL (1987-2015) Abe Foxman went on a tirade against the New York Times for printing names and faces of more than 65 Palestinian children slain in Israel’s May 2021 onslaught on Gaza. According to Foxman, humanizing Palestinians is “blood libel”.
- The ADL, like the entire Zionist project, is built on the propagation of Jewish supremacy, the vilification and erasure of Palestinians, and the defamation of anyone advocating for Palestinian freedom.
- The second half of the Fox News article is devoted to quoting Prof. David Bernstein, whose relationship with facts & truth is tenuous, at best. I responded to a libelous 2015 Washington Post piece by Bernstein that can be read here.
- Bernstein told Fox News that he “doesn’t believe ISM has ‘been very active lately.’” This is simply wrong. ISM activists are currently on-the-ground in occupied Palestine continuing to report, document rights abuses, and support popular resistance to colonialism & apartheid.
- ISM activists also continue to be active around the world, organizing with allies against the forces that oppress Black, Brown, indigenous & poor peoples. We’re marching, engaging in BDS, #BlockTheBoat, #ShutElbitDown, all towards a #FreePalestine and a more just world for all our children.
The one and only thing Bernstein was correct about is that the video in question is a few years old. Sadly, however, there are many more recent videos of Palestinian children being abused, arrested and terrorized by Israeli soldiers. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem hosts an entire video library of them here. Learn more about human rights violations against Palestinian children here.
Lastly, the Fox News article states at the end: “Neither Omar’s office nor ISM immediately responded to Fox News’ requests for comment.” For the record, ISM received no request for comment from Fox News.