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A Principled Stand on Mideast Peace

June 28, 2003

In "Traveling With Bad Companions" (Commentary, June 23), Martin Peretz complains of the lies of 1960s activists, but he nurses several of his own. Chief among them is his attack on the International Solidarity Movement. The ISM absolutely did not aid the British suicide bombers. This is a fabrication of Zalman Shoval, a senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who dubbed ISM a "terrorist-front organization." Peretz savages the most courageous Americans we have when he labels their actions in the occupied Palestinian territories as "stupidity" rather than bravery.

The ISM does not stand for terrorism. Peretz has quoted the words of the organization out of context to reach this conclusion. In fact, the group stands for nonviolently resisting the subjugation of the Palestinian people. This principled stand enrages Peretz much as it enraged white supporters of Jim Crow when "outside agitators" went south to combat segregation through nonviolent direct action. Opponents of Palestinian rights have no qualms in leveling false charges against those genuinely committed to nonviolent change and a real Palestinian-Israeli peace. Peretz is being obtuse in not recognizing why this struggle resonates today. It resonates because freedom still matters.

Michael F. Brown

Executive Director

Partners for Peace

Washington

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