Monday, October 18, 2004
Terror-harboring group recruits students at Duke. (Hat tip: Moody Adams)
Duke has been justifying its hosting of the conference, in part, by claiming the Palestinian Solidarity Movement is "separate and distinct" from the International Solidarity Movement, which openly supports Hamas, calls for the destruction of Israel, held activities in which several men who later became suicide bombers participated, and has been caught harboring known terrorists in its Mideast office – including members of Islamic Jihad.
But many documented International Solidarity Movement speakers or workshop leaders participated in this week's Duke conference, including ISM's co-founder Huweida Arraf, who tried to recruit students to join her group.
Arraf led a workshop yesterday titled "Volunteering in Palestine: Role and Value of International Activists." Arraf handed out brochures for the ISM and urged students to join the terror-supporting group, members of Duke's Conservative Union who attended the workshop told WorldNetDaily. They asked that their names be withheld from publication.
Arraf, together with seven other self-declared International Solidarity Movement members who would not state their last names, screened a slide show about ISM activism, detailed the group's two-day training session and fielded questions about the logistics of traveling to "Palestine," explaining how to fool Israeli border control since ISM members are denied entry.
Arraf also told students the ISM "happily works with Hamas and Islamic Jihad," said one Conservative Union member who attended the talk.
"This workshop, just as its title suggests, functioned as a recruiting session for the ISM, and ISM brochures and materials were distributed there," the Conservative Union member told WorldNetDaily. He pointed out that although Duke officials were present at other PSM conference sessions, no Duke administrator attended the Arraf talk.
The workshop and Arraf's presence constituted a last-minute addition that was not listed on the PSM's original schedule.
When confronted with evidence that ISM speakers were invited to the conference and that the Palestinian Solidarity Movement is connected to the ISM, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations, John Burness, who previously told WorldNetDaily the two groups weren't connected, stated, "Well, I don't know what [the PSM] is a part of."
But Burness later changed his tone, telling WorldNetDaily, "The fact that [a co-founder of the ISM] was here and did speak does not diminish the fact that [the PSM and ISM] are distinct and separate. Does someone who supports or belongs to the American Jewish Committee and the Simon Wiesenthal Center mean that they are one and the same?"
Also yesterday, the PSM announced at Duke the results of a Saturday "Resolution Meeting" at which it was decided PSM would again not condemn terrorism. The group had drawn criticism last year after it refused to sign a letter stating it does not agree with terror tactics.
"We don't see it as very useful for us as a solidarity movement to condemn violence," Ron Bar-On, who is also an ISM member and organized this year's conference, told The Herald-Sun last month.
A statement on the matter, the groups "fifth guiding principle," has been posted on the PSM website since last year: "As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation."
Some PSM members at this year's conference suggested the group should change its public stance toward terrorism. Two motions regarding the "fifth guiding principle" were put to vote Saturday – one to alter the principle, another to remove it altogether. Both motions were voted down, with the PSM still officially refusing to condemn terrorism.
The delegates erupted in cheers when the vote's results were announced yesterday, attendees told WorldNetDaily.
The conference at Duke was PSM's fourth national gathering, following previous events at Berkeley, Michigan and Ohio State. Some PSM critics have charged that those earlier events were hotbeds of anti-Semitism, with some attendees shouting, "Kill the Jews," and "Death to Israel!"
As WorldNetDaily reported, this year's conference featured a host of other speakers who publicly support suicide bombings, including Fadi Kiblawi, who advocates killing Jews everywhere. He wrote in a University of Michigan publication of his desire to "strap a bomb to one's chest and kill those racists ... The enemy is not just overseas. The enemy is also amongst us."