Saturday, April 18, 2009

And What About Pro-Pal. Tax-Exempt Status?

Remember the matter of tax-exempt donations to worth projects beyond the Green Line?

See here and here.

Well, there's a flip side to this story. The pro-Pal. International Solidarity Movement.

I found the following here

...the ISM has so many interlocking and cooperating organizations that it is hard to keep track of all of them and you must really excuse any resulting confusion. Consider as an example the New York City branch of the ISM:

ISM-NYC is a nonprofit organization, and your contribution is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers so the funds we raise can all be used to help send activists to Palestine. To contribute, simply make a check payable to "Brecht Forum" and send it to:

ISM New York City
P.O. Box 6366
Astoria, NY 11106


I was totally unable to verify ISM-NYC's tax-exempt status from three independent data bases (Guidestar, IRS Pub 78, and the Office of the NY Attorney General's Charities Bureau Registry Search) as well as a phone call to the IRS at 877-829-5500, and the Web page does say to make the checks payable to the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Brecht Forum. I must therefore conclude that ISM-NYC is a project of the Brecht Forum and not an independent tax-exempt entity.

Now let's look at,

Donations may also be sent to:
PO BOX 5073
BERKELEY CA 94705-0073

Please make checks out to: “MECA (ISM-USA Fund)”. The Middle East Children’s Alliance is the fiscal sponsor for ISM-USA. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Their tax exemption number is: 94-3074600.

Since (to the best of my knowledge) ISM-USA is not tax-exempt either, the Middle East Children's Alliance must be the actual tax-exempt entity to which ISM-USA belongs. So far, then, "International Solidarity Movement" includes at least the Brecht Forum and Middle East Children's Alliance. The ISM hydra has so many heads, and it is involved so closely with the PSM, that you must certainly excuse me for not making out the second hydra (the PSM) among all those heads (affiliate organizations).

More to the point, Lee Kaplan of StopTheISM informs me that he has a tape recording of Adam Shapiro, the founder of the ISM, explaining at Ohio State that the ISM is an amalgamation of all these groups of which Al Awda, SUSTAIN, SJP, etc are all one in solidarity. PSM is what they call themselves in the US but when in the West Bank and Gaza they say ISM. Lee's statement is supported extensively by what I have found online.

Why Does This Group Have So Many Names?

"The Solidarity Movement is not a legally incorporated entity. It is a fairly loose association of individuals free to unite, to depart, and to call themselves by a different name every day. Indeed, it is often to their advantage to do so because if, as has happened, Charlotte Kates, the leader of the New Jersey Solidarity Movement, gives a ringing endorsement of suicide bombing, other branches of the solidarity movement can say: she does not speak for us."

"...This particular International Solidarity Movement is often called the Palestinian Solidarity Movement in the United States. Local chapters have myriad names. Names of groups linked in the "local chapters" section on the International Solidarity Movement web site, include: Boston to Palestine, the Palestine Information Project (Seattle), and the Free Palestine Campaign (Ann Arbor), which has a useful section on its web site labeled "attacks on the ISM" [Ref. 1]. The section contains several excellent articles regarding the nature of the ISM and its activities."

"...The decision to quit the International Solidarity Movement in favor of Al Awda was taken by New Jersey Solidarity leaders Charlotte Kates and Summer Sharaf, either because they held more radical views than other ISM members or because they wanted to express their views more frankly. The split came over the desire of Kates and Sharaf to invite Hamas to Solidarity Movement meetings (which the International Solidarity Movement in Israel in fact already does)..." [Note that Hamas is a Foreign Terrorist Organization as defined by the U.S. State Department.]

But this is a "Zionist" Web site so let's go to progressive and pro-Palestinian sources, like the New Jersey Solidarity Movement. advertises the Third North American Student Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) to be held at Rutgers University. If the New Jersey ISM and the PSM are not the same organization, they are certainly working closely with one another.

"Next [Adam] Shapiro spoke of the new International Solidarity Movement, which is now starting to catch the attention of the mainstream media. ...Shapiro described the ISM as an entirely Palestinian led movement that seeks to act as one part of the movement for Palestinian liberation by using the power of foreigners in Palestine."
"...After the closing of the event, audience members got to talk to the two speakers one on one. I look forward to future successful Palestinian Solidarity events right hear at VCU." So we have Adam Shapiro of the ISM speaking at a PSM conference at Virginia Commonwealth University. Again, if ISM and PSM are not actually the same organization, they sure spend a lot of time in the same bed. Or, as they say, birds of a feather...
(Common Dreams is a "progressive" source)

"In the United States, the homegrown Palestinian solidarity movement has had limited political effect so far, acknowledged Adam Shapiro, a movement leader who joined Schurr at the news conference Saturday." But Adam Shapiro is the ISM's leader, isn't he?

And this one is even better: (ISM's Web site)
Support groups include
Florida Palestine Solidarity Network
New Orleans Palestine Solidarity
Palestine Soldarity Committee/ISM-Seattle
"Seattle Palestine Solidarity Committee is the local representative of the International Solidarity Movement to End the Occupation (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement which asks internationals to come to the Occupied Territories and join in nonviolent resistance to the military occupation. "

In summary, if ISM and PSM are not the same organization, they must accept responsibility for the perception that they are given the above evidence. The Seattle Palestinian Committee says outright that it is part of the ISM...

Posted by Bill Levinson at January 13, 2006 12:44 PM

No comments: