Saturday, January 1, 2011
[By Lee Kaplan of StoptheISM.]
Academic leader Leon Botstein knowingly allows Hamas-support group to use campus facilities and money to aid terror front group ISM
Bard College is a small idyllic liberal arts college located near Annendale-on-the-Hudson in New York State. A shining star for Bard is supposedly its campus president, one Leon Botstein, Botstein has been the President of Bard College for the past seventeen years, a base from which he promotes his dual careers as an educator and music conductor. Botstein is also Jewish, born in Switzerland and the grandson of victims who died in the Holocaust. He is presently the second string conductor for the Jerusalem Philharmonic orchestra.
Botstein has decided to allow the International Solidarity Movement(ISM), a group that openly admits it works with State Department designated terrorist groups such as Hamas, the PFLP, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to set up shop on his campus using campus facilities and student activity money to train ISM activists to go to the West Bank and interfere with anti-terror operations of the Israeli army, as well as to act as human shields for Palestinian terror groups.
The ISM at Bard has actually invited Huwaida Arraf, a co-founder of the ISM and one of the main organizers of the Gaza Flotilla boats that continually try to run the Israeli navy's control of the sea lanes to Gaza to import weapons for Hamas. Arraf was invited to campus to do recruiting for ISM terrorism enablers once before and I alerted Botstein then, too, who did nothing about it. The Bard ISM campus group even recently raised money for the Gaza flotillas that included IHH, an al Qaeda-affiliated "charity" that was involved in the millennium bomb plot to blow up the LA airport in 2000. It is common knowledge the ISM organizes these flotillas in order to try to enable the Iranians to run weapons to the Hamas to attack Israeli civilians on Israel's southern border with rockets and mortars. Photos are available of ISM activists receiving medals from Hamas leaders in Gaza.
Huwaida Arraf came to train ISM volunteers on that campus a year ago and to raise finances for them and organize similar trips sometimes even in Bard's name. Bard ISM recruits are trained in how to lie to the Israeli border police in order to enter Israel illegally and go to the West Bank (also illegal) to assist in fomenting weekly riots from the mosques against Israel's security fence. They are taught how to falsify their passports if caught and deported. The ISM always looks for scams in order to promote its agenda calling for complete dismantling of Israel as a Jewish state, so ISM activists have even in the past managed to lie about being Jewish to utilize the Birthright Program, a program set up by Jewish philanthropists to send Jewish students to Israel to appreciate the Jewish state. The ISM have had their activists pose as being Jewish to get free transportation to the Middle East where they could then interfere with IDF troops and encourage rioting and rock throwing as what they call "legitimate resistance." Sometimes their activists pose as journalists or even students, one reason a Bard-ISM chapter comes in handy. The fact that Botstein and his "deans" might swallow some of the ISM's lies about being "peace activists" or "human rights workers" would come as no surprise when they are really human shields for Palestinian terror groups, particularly Hamas. Such subterfuge is taught in ISM training manuals.
Getting a college like Bard to foot the bill through student activity money and lend legitimacy to their actions is quite a feather in the ISM's cap. This is one reason why there are not other ISM chapters on colleges across the nation. That is, so long as some college presidents unlike Botstein don't let them fool people into thinking they are part of the academic experience instead of terrorist enablers, the others don't train activists to physically aid Hamas.
This enabling of the ISM by Bard and Botstein is actually against the law; Executive order 12947, enacted in January, 1995 stipulates that unlawful organizations committed to disrupting the Middle East peace process (like assisting Hamas to run weapons to Gaza by sea) are to be closed down. Hamas was specifically listed on the order as a specially designated terrorist organization in the same order. Their Hamas charter calls for not only destroying Israel, but wiping the Jewish people off the world map.
The Amit Counter Terrorism Center in Israel recently released a report used by the Knesset in Israel about the ISM confirming it is a terrorist supporting movement. The Palestinians, of course, do have campus propaganda chapters all over the US college scene that usually call themselves names like Students for Justice in Palestine, General Union of Palestine Students or are part of the Muslim Students Union. These are affiliates of the ISM but those chapters usually engage only in propaganda and street theater. Bard's ISM chapter is a different animal entirely.
The Bard ISM chapter is the only one that is known to exist today in the US on a college campus. While Bard's does engage in propaganda, even promotes the boycott of Israeli and Jewish businesses and institutions like other anti-Israel campus groups, Bard ISM is the actual ISM by its own admission on its websites. They recruit human shields and send them to go to the West Bank and interfere with the IDF. They raise money that makes its way over to the Palestinians. They train students in how to interfere with anti-terror operations of the IDF and how to liaison with terror groups to work against Israel in what is euphemistically called "resistance" that can include throwing rocks or Molotov cocktails at IDF soldiers.
I wrote a letter to Botstein and explained to him the difference between the ISM actually using campus facilities to train, recruit and fund terrorist enablers overseas and just engaging in obnoxious and frequently untrue propaganda against Israel here at home. Botstein not only ignored the evidence, but he accused me of lying and insulting him--neither of which I did.
What is more, Botstein cynically accused me of "cloaking myself in the noble mantle of support for Israel" while citing his lost relatives from the Holocaust as excusing himself from his inaction, then declared himself a champion of freedom as he covered for a Hamas support group on Bard's campus.
Botstein wrote me back that "The Deans here have received assurances that the group has not and will not, as you say, "train ISM activists to go to Judea and Samaria and Gaza to serve as human shields for terrorist groups and to interfere with anti-terror operations of the IDF." The students' use of the term "training" sessions is misleading. These sessions deal with Palestinian culture and society, and not with preparation for any "direct action" in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza."
But here's what the Bard ISM's website says they did to send people to Gaza in support of the Hamas regime there (pages at the top of this article show what was on Bard-ISM's websites):
"The training was led by 3 Bard students. 14 trainees were present," and "Many were headed for December's Gaza Freedom March to break the Israeli siege of Gaza." Another site explains, "While there are other anti-occupation groups on campus, this one is part of a larger international social movement and will/would focus on direct action as a means of promoting change rather than solely hosting campus events." The sites openly say they train students thanks to campus student activity money to go to "Palestine" with the ISM and to conduct "direct action," newspeak for violence.
As mentioned, they also raised money for the Gaza Flotilla on campus, which was giving material aid to the Hamas government in Gaza. Below is a photo of ISM leader Paul LaRudee meeting and shaking hands with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah and another photo of ISM activists receiving gold medals from Hamas for their support of the terrorist group:
In fact, over the last year Bard has footed the bill to send some Bard-ISM students to the West Bank as ISM volunteers ostensibly in the interest of "human rights" (ISM activists do not care about the human rights of Israelis, only Palestinians and their leadership in Hamas and Fatah). No doubt Botstein's deans accepted the usual line of local ISM activists that they are "nonviolent", a ruse touted in their training manuals, but, what they say and do are two different things. Until recently their mission statement endorsed violence as "legitimate resistance" until I exposed that so they removed it from their US website. Many more ISM chapters worldwide still call for violence against Israel, from Vancouver to Paris. Bard-ISM's representative on the campus website has stated that Bard-ISM is an official part of the International Solidarity Movement. Hamas is not into freedom, it is in fact part of the Muslim Brotherhood and is a totalitarian dictatorship of theocratic killers. Fatah is also a fascist government in the West Bank. Botstein's equivalency between just a campus "club" that supports Hamas and calls for not only the destruction of Israel, but the annihilation of all world Jewry is grotesque.
Botstein also took exception to my using the term "Judea and Samaria" to describe Jewish communities in the West Bank. "I infer the substance of your political views from your use of the terms "Judea and Samaria" in a previous email," he wrote to me, " usage that pointedly reflects a political position with which many citizens, including elected officials and IDF veterans in Israel's democracy, disagree. Disagreement within the Zionist movement has been a constant. In the history of Zionism there were, in the past, even distinguished advocates of a bi-national Jewish-Arab state, including Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, and Martin Buber." What this means is Botstein is opposed to Israel's existence as a Jewish state.
Botstein then claimed he's a supporter of Israel. How does he do this? He tells us he is a conductor emeritus of the Jerusalem Symphony, his logic being the fact that Botstein is a guest conductor, thus meaning he's not helping to destroy a Jewish state. And yet the ISM chapter he is shielding on the Bard campus also promotes boycotting that very same symphony from all over the world to destroy a Jewish state.
Asked by a colleague of mine how he can sleep at night supporting Jew-killers and murderers, Botstein replied, "I can sleep because in my life and work I am doing honor to my Jewish heritage." It's all academic to Botstein, you see, and besides, other campuses condone it through various Palestinian "clubs", so why shouldn't he do so? He says this as he encourages organized anti-Semitism on his campus. If such remarks don't suitably rattle your cognitive dissonance, read on:
When I asked Botstein if he feels so strongly that allowing the ISM on campus is necessary for an academic atmosphere, would he then allow a Nazi Party Club on campus or a Ku Klux Klan Club on campus, he did not reply even though the logic is the same. Maybe he would do so if he was given a chance to conduct one of their symphonies. Further research showed that Bard also extensively used campus funds to send ISM subversives to the West Bank as a means of preserving "human rights", perhaps even as many as fifty of them. Of course, to the likes of Hamas, "human rights" also means the right to lob missiles at Jews in Sderot and Ashkelon inside southern Israel.
Bard alumni and donors who are Jewish need to recognize this leftist moron's stupidity and close their wallets. Allowing an ISM chapter on Bard's campus that trains anti-Semites to go to the West Bank and encourage rioting and the dismantling of Israel only prolongs the war against Israel in the Middle East and bolsters the terror groups like Hamas that the ISM shills for. Leon Botstein can take credit for this part of this. As a college president he has opened up the door on other US campuses for subsidized training of terrorist support groups as part of "academic freedom" when it is not so. Perhaps the Jerusalem Symphony should consider removing him since he has no qualms about other Jews being removed from their jobs and homes by Arab irredentists who have no serious goals of a permanent peace unless it includes dismantling Israel. Either Botstein did not bother to look at the Bard-ISM websites and what those campus groups really do as he claimed he had done, or he lied about it. I suspect the latter.
Botstein is in the process of tying Bard into al Quds University in East Jerusalem and another Palestinian "university" in the West Bank. There will be no oversight that the truth will be taught as Palestinian colleges are notorious for fabricating history such as claiming that Jews have no historical connection to Israel. An-Najah University in the Palestinian Authority once did an exhibit glorifying suicide bombings with exhibits of body parts and blood all around. Botstein would probably consider it part of the educational experience. Botstein's partner will be Sari Nusseibeh, the President of al Quds University. Nusseibeh was arrested by the Israelis during the First Gulf War with Iraq when he was caught directing Scud missile attacks via telephone to the Iraqis. Botstein should find himself in good company. ISM-Bard does not support peace or a two state solution but the dismantling of Israel. Apparently, Botstein will go out of his way to help them do it. Of interest is his associations and money Bard receives from George Soros, who also helps fund the ISM.