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October 14, 2004

The annual fall migration of the ISM

It's October, and long time Kesher Talk readers know what that means. No, I'm not talking about crisp fall days, flame-colored leaves, or the World Series. I'm talking about . . .

The annual ISM Conference! That's right, the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian terrorist front cleverly disguised as an idealistic student peace movement, every October descends upon an unlucky university, this time Duke, to provide bad publicity, free entertainment, and career-building counter-protest opportunities for ambitious Jewish students. (Technically, the sponsor of the conference is the Palestine Solidarity Movement, which claims to be "completely separate" from the International Solidarity Movement. Others dispute this.)

ISM's most well-known live member is Adam "poster boy for enthusiastic dhimmitude" Shapiro, proud recipient of a social activist award from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. ISM's most well-known dead member is Rachel Corrie, martyred in a face-off with a Caterpillar. Was she a naive tool or a duplicitous terrorist sympathizer? Your pick.

Last year the conference was supposed to be held at Rutgers in NJ, and some ideological hairsplitting led to half the group taking themselves to Ohio State U, where they were met with significant opposition. The rift was caused by the zealousness of campus ideologue Charlotte Kates, whose bloodlust scared even the Arab members, who had some forlorn hope of appearing moderate enough to win over normal folks to their cause.

Komrade Kates denounced this weak-kneed compromise with bourgeous decency. Her tiny splinter group was immortalized on video by Evan Coyne Maloney, and drowned out by a week-long pro-Israel festival called Rutgers Inspires. (Corny, but typical campus schtick.) (A minor comic note was sounded by Abbie-Hoffman wannabe Abe Greenhouse, who threw a pie in Natan Sharansky's face.)

Once Duke was confirmed as this year's location, it predictably became the center of a media storm. Anti-ISM forces began to mobilize. Jewish student groups planned counter-demos. Political cartoonists sharpened their pens. A local student conservative organization invited Daniel Pipes to speak the day before the conference began. Activist rabbi Avi Weiss brought a contingent of protestors all the way from New York. And I get to use up all the ISM-related bookmarks I've been collecting.

Here's hoping only 20 people show up for the conference, and the hundreds of earnest young pro-Israel activists party hardy and get laid.

UPDATE: Meryl on why fringe hatefests just can't be ignored.

Judith | 10/14/04 at 03:07 PM | Categories: - Wackademia

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