The Olive Tree Initiative (OTI): George Rishmawi and the Siraj Center Raise Concerns

July 19, 2011

He said that Peace Now claimed that 83% of settlements are on confiscated Palestinian land when in fact they had claimed the number was 40% and much of their data had proved to be based on incomplete records and was incorrect.
…and the Jewish Federation of Orange County is involved with these haters.

George Rishmawi may no longer be formally with ISM, but his perspective and approach are not likely to improve the understanding of Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) students, help them develop conflict resolution skills, or help pave the way to conciliation and peace either on the UCI campus or in the Middle East. That Rishmawi and his group are so integral to OTI’s programming casts doubt on the value of OTI itself. Speaking at UC Irvine on Nov. 22, 2010, Rishmawi said he broke with ISM several years ago over personal differences with co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf, but his current goals are quite similar to those of ISM when it was originally founded: bring young “internationals” to the West Bank on tours and to live with selected Palestinian families, encourage them to become “ambassadors” who will repeat the narrative Rishmawi orchestrates, and inspire them to participate in “non-violent” actions like protesting the security fence in Bil’in. more via Roberta P. Seid, PhD 

George Rishmawi co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) along with Adam Shapiro, Huwaida Arraf, and Ghassan Andoni. Led by Palestinians working closely with American recruiters, the ISM invites individuals from the West to come to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and disrupt the counter-terrorism efforts of the Israeli Defense Force. Rishmawi directs the activities of ISM volunteers on the ground.

Rishmawi is also a director of Alternative Tourism, a group that was formed in 1995 to act as a propaganda organ for Palestinian terrorist elements that have no interest in peace – portraying Palestinians as victims of unyielding Israeli oppression and brutality. Alternative Tourism was established to greet and aid ISM volunteers who come to Israel. In April 2003, two Pakistani Muslims from Great Britain entered Israel through Jordan as clients of Alternative Tourism; they met with ISM leaders for an entire day in Gaza before proceeding on to Tel Aviv, where they bombed a popular beach bar, Mike’s Place, killing three people.  image via a non reputable source: Bob May


The flotilla and the Third Intifada

July 15, 2011

the true aim was actually spelled out by Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and a board member of the Free Gaza Movement (which is behind the flotilla), at a meeting last November at Rutgers university in New Jersey to raise money to fund an American flotilla boat.
This is what Shapiro said:

What we’ve been doing over the last ten years with the International Solidarity Movement,  Free Gaza, and all the other outgrowth organisations and movements and groups is to …work with Palestinian society to ramp up the resistance. This is all part of a Palestinian movement for Palestine…This is truly an international movement … It’s only Palestine, this cause that has been going on for over 60 years, that generates this kind of activism, this kind of resistance…
Free Gaza is but one tactic of a larger strategy, to transform this conflict from one between Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and the Arab world…to one between the rest of the world and Israel[applause]
It’s not just the conflict, it’s not just the siege, it’s not just the home demolitions, it’s not just the wall on the West Bank, it’s not just the effort to continue to dispossess Palestinians of their land…it’s also the attempt to define a place where 20 per cent of the population is Palestinian, to define the land underneath their feet as Jewish, to further dispossess them and subject these people to permanent second third or fourth class citizenship…Free Gaza is a tactic…all of it is part of a strategy now to transform the conflict and internationalise it and really undermine Israel where it gets its most support…
Our ground is the whole world. And that’s where our resistance has to be. The whole world… We already have a third intifada. It’s going on right now. It’s going on all over the world. [my emphasis]

So from the horse’s mouth we learn that the prime aim of the flotilla is not to provide humanitarian supplies to Gaza. It is not even to protest Israel’s ‘siege’ of Gaza. It is instead a tactic in a campaign to undermine Israel itself on account of its 60-plus year existence as a Jewish state. In other words, the flotilla is part of a strategy designed to destroy Israel altogether.

…and so if this were really the case then all those legalities are not just a stunt. If their intent is malicious and not about aiding then we can expect the legal backlash against the flotilla to continue. more via Melanie Phillips