Learn More about ISM Northern California

Photo credit: Joe Catron, Flickr

Who We Are:   The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the long-entrenched and systematic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian population, using non-violent, direct-action methods and principles.  Founded in August 2001, ISM aims to support and strengthen the Palestinian popular resistance by being immediately alongside Palestinians in olive groves, on school runs, at demonstrations, within villages being attacked, by houses being demolished or where Palestinians are subject to consistent harassment or attacks from soldiers and settlers as well as numerous other situations.

All ISM volunteers must agree to work within four founding principles:

  1. Palestinian-led – ISM’s role is to support the Palestinian popular struggle.  When invited, we join actions initiated by Palestinian communities and groups engaged in grassroots activism.  Although we do have Palestinian members in ISM, we are a non-hierarchical movement and do not have individual leaders.  All ISM volunteers are expected to behave in a way that respects Palestinian culture.
  2. Nonviolence – ISM believes that nonviolent actions are a powerful tool in fighting oppression, occupation and apartheid, and are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance.  ISM activists abstain from all physical and verbal violence.  The repercussions of violent words and actions would not only affect us as ISM members, more importantly it would affect Palestinian communities.  Our nonviolent approach does not mean that we have the right to dictate to Palestinians how to resist military occupation and apartheid.
  3. Consensus – ISM uses consensus in all decisions.  Though the consensus process takes effort and time, this way of working leads to full participation, ensuring that our actions are group actions, and no one is forced to be a part of any action they disagree with.
  4. Anti-oppression – ISM opposes any form of bigotry and supports full equality of all people.  Both within ISM and among others, we stand firmly against any form of prejudice, regardless of the target and oppose any form of bigoted discrimination directed at people based on ethnicity, physical appearance, origin, gender, gender identity, sexuality, physical ability, age, and religion.  We expect all ISM volunteers to adhere to these beliefs

We demand that Israel acknowledges and respects international law and expect all ISM volunteers to take a principled stance against Zionism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry.  In line with the 2012 Palestinian declaration, we object to the baseless use of the term anti-Semitism as a tool for stifling criticism of Israel, the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign or opposition to Zionism, partly as this falsely conflates Judaism with exceptionalist support for the racist ideology, Zionism and the colonial and apartheid foundations of a Jewish State of Israel.