Friday, April 15, 2011
Jerry Gordon Nails it on the ISM Killing in Gaza and the Olive Tree Initiative
Jerry Gordon, who writes The Iconoclast in the New English Review, has made the connection between the brutal murder of the Italian International Solidarity Movement activist in Gaza and the senselessness of the Olive Tree Initiative, which sends University of California students into the West Bank to "dialogue" with figures on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
"AP and The Jerusalem Post reported the abduction and execution by Al Qaeda Salafist extremists of 36 year old International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Palestinian activist Vittorio Arrigoni.
Roger Simon on Pajama Media’s blog, The Tattler noted in a post, “Headless in Gaza” the consequences of Arrigoni’s death vis a vis the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) at U.C. Irvine and other UCAL system colleges and universities. Simon noted this in his blog post.
It’s hard to know what to say about this breaking AP story from Gaza – Hamas: Body of Kidnapped Activist Found:
The body of an Italian pro-Palestinian activist abducted a few hours earlier by Islamic extremists has been found hanged in a Gaza City house after a clash between Hamas police and the abductors, Hamas officials said in the early hours of Friday morning.
The officials said Hamas police stormed an apartment in Gaza City belonging to a member of the extremist group that released a video of the activist. Hamas police said they found the man dead after he was hanged. Security officials added that two men were arrested and others were being sought in the killing.
The International Solidarity Movement had identified the kidnapped activist as Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, a member [of that group] from Italy. An Italian doctor was on his way from Israel to examine the body, a Hamas official said. His abduction was first kidnapping of a foreigner since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007. In the past, all foreign kidnap victims in Gaza had been released unharmed.
The ISM, I should remind readers, is the “activist” (what a reactionary term “activist” is – only the MSM could coin it) group that sponsored the trip by UC Irvine students on which they were told to lie about their meeting with a Hamas leader. The politically unconscious souls who arranged that tour should be thankful one of the UCI students wasn’t kidnapped.
BTW, according to the JPost, poor naive Arrigoni was kidnapped by a group of Salafists allied with Al Qaida.
The abduction and execution of hapless Italian ISM advocate Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza illustrates the dangers of misguided liberals, academics and Jewish communal leaders in Orange County, California and elsewhere in the US who believe that dialoging with the enemy will hone your skills in combating hate. As illustrated in the Arrigoni case, it will make you dead. His shaved head bearded Salafist abductors had their kafir to kill, regardless of whether he was pro-Palestinian or not. The U.C.Irvine Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) disclosures of dalliance with Hamas operatives on the West Bank during a 2009 trip should have been a wakeup call. The FOIA disclosures should have brought the benighted OTI programs at U.C.Irvine to a screeching halt and the snapping shut of purses of major Jewish donors to the Rose Project that funded those OTI trips. Instead it has resulted in accusations against the messengers. Could l’affaires Arrigoni be repeated on any upcoming OTI trips in 2011, with the kidnapping and imprisonment of hapless Jewish students by the perpetrators of Sgt. Galid Shalit’s episode? Quite possibly. Witness the solidarity meeting of OTI aficionados from several UCAL system campuses last weekend at UCLA. L’affaires Arrigoni should jar these feckless tours orchestrated by left liberals in academia and J Street sympathizers in Jewish communal organizations. Alas, it will not.
This raises the prospect of real danger to students who go on these misguided trips to dialogue with Jihadi enemies of the Jewish State of Israel, a matter of concern that we had raised in a recent Iconoclast blog post, “It’s Security Stupid: Stop the Olive Tree Initiative Programs in the U.Cal System, Now!” We noted:
The bottom line is that OTI has to stop because of basic security concerns that no self respecting university administrator would permit; putting students in harm’s way. It is not about "censorship of views," as the multiculturalists would opine. It is about common sense protection of life and limb.
Multiculturalism and diversity of opinion encounters cannot put university students and the U.Cal system at risk of their possible wrongful death. No court in California, or elsewhere in America, would give any standing to waivers signed by students in the event of a wrongful death action filed by the parents against an U.Cal institution that sponsored an OTI trip in the Palestinian Territories fraught with physical peril, especially if the trip included meetings with terrorists (however spontaneous or casual the meeting appeared to be).
Given L’affaires Arrigoni in Gaza, it is time for the U.C. Irvine and UCAL system chancellors to take action and stop the OTI programs. Perhaps that action will also cause Jewish communities in Orange County and elsewhere to ask their respective Federations to take the Pledge to bar such dangerous programs putting their children at risk and defaming Israel in the process."
I have to concur. I have tried to keep an open mind about this Olive Tree Initiative. Yet, with the disclosures of so many of the figures involved, the connections with the ISM, the recent revelation that students met with a top Hamas figure on the West Bank, and the recent slaughter of a family of 5 in Itamar, prudence if nothing else dictates that this program should be discontinued. Gordon is right. This is a lawyer's dream if, God forbid, one of our students gets kidnapped or killed over there on one of these trips. In addition, the question begs; who the Hell do you want to dialogue with, for Christ's sake? It is time for sensible adults to wake up and smell the facts. This is not about bringing peace to the Middle East. This is not about money. This is not about one day receiving the Nobel Peace Prize or even some dopey award from that feckless Orange County Human Relations Commission (which has already recognized the OTI). This is not even about who gets indoctrinated any more. This is about exposing our college kids to very real danger.
To continue to do so in the face of all this savagery and barbarism that is going on in Gaza and the West Bank is beyond asinine. It would border on criminal negligence.
I challenge anyone to explain to me how this could not happen to a UC student participating in the Olive Tree Initiative.
* American Embassy Jerusalem travel advisory on Israel, Gaza and West Bank