Credibility vs. sensationalism

Sometimes trying too hard to be a sensationalist can ruin a reporter’s credibility. Shadee, your Sept. 10 column is full of misconceptions and falsehoods that need to be cleared up.

The PSM is the student arm of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and although the PSM has tried to appear separate, the two groups are very closely linked. The ISM is not a legally incorporated group and as a result is free to call itself by any name it desires (if you do not believe me, I suggest you look at the ISM websites under the heading Local Chapters.)

Many members of the PSM have traveled to Palestinian territories to work with the ISM then returned to campus and continued working with the PSM. Although the PSM has tried to appear distinct, ISM co-founder Adam Shapiro has been a speaker at past PSM conferences and the PSM has formally voted to support and recognize the ISM as a member of “the movement.”

You may wonder why this is relevant; the ISM supports terrorism and does in fact use American volunteers as human shields. Perhaps you remember Rachel Corrie, a woman from Olympia, Wash. killed a few years back while working as a human shield for the ISM. Her death was later used to attract media attention to the ISM’s cause. ISM president, George Rishmawi, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “If some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.”

Maybe you still think the PSM and its sister organization are benevolent groups dedicated to “education and non-violent action.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the two suicide bombers who blew up a popular blues pub in Tel Aviv were able to move easily in and out of Israel with the aid of ISM activists in the area.

Nevertheless, perhaps aiding terrorists in the bombing of a civilian target is not enough to convince you that these “solidarity movements” can be dangerous and anti-Jewish. How about the PSM fliers promoting past conferences that featured Sami Al-Arian, recently arrested for support of groups like Islamic Jihad and Hamas? Why did swastikas appear on the walls of both the AEPi house and the local Hillel at the University of Michigan during the conference? The PSM even invited Mahdi Bray of the Muslim Public Affairs Council to speak at past PSM summits, knowing that in October 1998, he coordinated and led a Washington rally during which the crowd repeated, “Let’s all go into jihad and throw stones at the face of the Jews.” Then, later, in December of 2000, organized a rally at which the emcee and crowd chanted responsively in Arabic, “Oh Jews, the Army of Muhammad is coming for you!” and waved swastikas (as reported in the Washington Post).

For you to say that all American Jews are Zionists is ignorant and absurd. I am not a radical Zionist. I am by no means unconditionally allied with the Pro-Israel movement. And I recognize that both sides have their faults. Most Jews know the true meaning of the term “anti-Semitism” and for you to attack Mr. Solomon and myself in such a way is truly contemptible.

There was nothing anti-Semitic about our letters to the editor. We identified a problem and addressed it, in no way did we condemn all Arabs or all Palestinians the way you so flippantly condemn all American Jews (especially those here at Duke). Lately, there have been quite a few interesting articles from pro-Palestinians in the pages of The Chronicle; it is possible to approach this issue through discussion of the facts rather than intolerant lies and broad attacks on your fellow students. The pen is a powerful weapon. Think before you write.


Ben Rubinfeld

Trinity ’07


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