Friday, July 02, 2004

Behind the Curtain

Lee Kaplan at Frontpage relates his training experiences with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). That's the same organization that fielded Rachel Corrie to the Gaza strip. Kaplan pretended to be a volunteer for their "Freedom Summer" program which aimed to deploy American and Europeans to run interference for Palestinian combatants in Gaza and the West Bank.

At the Palestine Solidarity Conference held at Ohio State last year, Adam Shapiro told me that the ISM has Palestinian "handlers," or undercover supervisors at all demonstrations against Israel. These supervisors direct attacks against the separation fence that is being built to keep suicide bombers and armed terrorists from infiltrating into Israel and other targets. One of the handlers leading the current attacks on the security fence at the start of this summer’s campaign is a veteran of the Marxist terrorist group PLFP named Hisham Jam Joun. The ISM website, , openly proclaims that the organization is “Palestinian-led.”

I signed up for the ISM training session, after seeing their Internet announcement calling for volunteers for their new campaign, which they called "Freedom Summer 2004," after the nonviolent campaign of the civil rights movement in the American south in the 1960's. There were similar announcements on local websites run by the ISM all over the United States.

The phone number I dialed put me in touch with Paul LaRudee, a 68 year-old retired Berkeley professor who, along with his Lebanese wife, has been a leader of the ISM movement in the Bay Area. LaRudee assured me that they welcomed everybody, no matter how old or inexperienced. "Most of our volunteers are in their sixties," he said. I was advised if I wanted to train with the ISM I needed to attend an orientation lecture at The New College of San Francisco which was being given by an Arab-American named Jess Ghannam, a psychoanalyst and professor at the University of California Medical School.

Kaplan goes on to relate his training "at 2263 Mission Street in San Francisco, a ratty storefront theater in a rundown area of the city" run by a faculty straight out of Central Casting. It consisted of activists from the hard Left, including such improbable figures as a "queer Jewish woman" -- really half Jewish -- and a lot of people who only seemed to have first names. The training was basically an amateur's guide to infiltrating into Israel for express purpose of creating a confrontational situation with Israeli defense personnel and wherever possible to interpose themselves between Israeli security personnel and Palestinian "activists". They were to conceal their intent from the first.

If they ask you questions such as ‘What are you doing here? Don’t you know there’s a war?’ you should reply, ‘I thought it was better now.’ Or say, ‘I had my ticket for a long time and my Israeli friends said I should come.’ If you are Jewish, know your Hebrew name if they ask you what it is. Know your story. Wear your Star of David especially if you are Jewish.”

The beau ideal was described in a story a trainer laughingly recounted. "Jamie told us a story of how 100 'internationals' had surrounded six Israeli soldiers and besieged them at a roadblock set up to prevent suicide bombers from getting into Israel. The soldiers, all young boys and conscripts in the Israeli army, tried to control the mob until they ran out of non-lethal weapons and were forced to withdraw. The trainers all snickered at the story."

I suspect that many readers of Kaplan's article will be struck by the underhandedness and malevolence of the hard Left. But readers with a some knowledge of clandestine operations will be absolutely horrified by something else: there is no way any group of walk-in volunteers from America or Europe can be trained to be anything but cannon fodder by the short "orientation session" provided by these clowns. Those volunteers were expendable and no one, most especially the trainers, were going to let them in on that dirty little secret. It's hard to imagine how these trainers kept a straight face when they instructed the "Freedom Summer" volunteers to leave their thick briefing books behind because they would receive the emailed equivalents once they had penetrated Israel. Once there, they would be told what to do.

We were told once we were on the West Bank and under the Palestine Authority we were to attend another mandatory two-day training session where we would be assigned to "affinity groups." She then began making a bulletin board of how we were to function by setting up rules. The first rule was “Confidentiality.” Volunteers would be assigned to unknown affinity groups where they would function as teams to disrupt the Israel soldiers in military zones.

But I can see how it would work. The volunteers were asked to lie from the git-go at the airport so that psychologically they would consider themselves outlaws from the first. The next step would be actually break the law. "Once we were inside Israel we were told we could make our way to the West Bank even though we were also informed that to go there is illegal. ... We were assured the “ISM corps” was working on legal proposals to challenge the Israeli government at every turn if illegal entrants were discovered." From that point on, their ass belonged to the International Solidarity Movement. Alone in a foreign country, on the wrong side of the law, the "volunteers" only lifeline would be to cling to the Palestinian "affinity groups" so that the psychological dependence would become a physical one. By the end of this process the "Freedom Volunteers" would be anything but.

One of the grandest educations in life is to observe the hard Left operate in cold blood at close quarters. While it may not confirm your belief in the god of history it will infallibly cement your conviction in the existence of the Devil. Read Kaplan's whole article and then look out the window. Is it the wind or is it them out there?