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“This is something small I can do to make life under occupation just a little more bearable for people, so I do it.”
Paul Larudee, Ph.D, a 60-year-old piano tuner from El Cerrito, California travels with the tools of his trade and had twenty piano-tuning engagements scheduled around the occupied West Bank.
However, when he got off the plane in Tel Aviv Sunday night, Israeli authorities pulled him from the line, interrogated him about his political beliefs, not about his ability to tune pianos, and took him to an immigration detention center at Ben Gurion Airport. They intend to put him back on a plane today.
His family and friends are concerned for his health while he’s in detention, since he is diabetic and has specific dietary and medical needs.
Although never arrested or detained in the past, Israeli authorities have now decided to deport him based on his outspoken support for the work of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Palestinians’ right to nonviolently resist occupation.
Israeli attorney Gabi Lasky stated: “The policy of blacklisting a nonviolent peace activist as persona-non-grata, then denying them access to the Occupied Territories because of their nonviolent activities raises questions regarding Israel’s intentions to resolve the conflict through dialogue and nonviolent means.”
Listen to Paul LaRudee, the Northern California head of the ISM….Explained LaRudee:We believe in the application of international law. Although we are totally dedicated to nonviolence, we recognize not everyone in the Palestinian community is dedicated to nonviolence and under international law we recognize that violence is necessary and it is permissible for oppressed and occupied people to use armed resistance and we recognize their right to do so.
Even the leftist Jewish site Tikkun issued this qualification before publishing a piece by Larudee:
In this case, we present Paul Larudee’s screed against Israel piece that we find extremely unsympathetic to the situation of the Jewish people in Israel.
“Palestinian society is as diverse in attitudes about gender and sexuality as is U.S. society.”
Update: The Jerusalem Post have additional information about Larudee:
But according to security officials, Larudee’s name appears on a Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency)-compiled list of foreign far-left activists suspected of involvement in dangerous anti-Israel activity. The Ministry of Interior is responsible for ensuring that the suspect is not allowed into Israel.
Security officials said that Larudee was one of the ISM’s top leaders and was behind anti-Israel activity during IDF operations in the territories during the height of the Intifada between 2002 and 2004. Officials said that he was once found in the home of a suicide bomber and that he participated in a violent anti-Israel demonstration.“This person is a danger to the state,” one official said. “He is one of the ISM leaders, was in the past involved in anti-Israel activity and therefore will not be allowed to stay in the country.”
“[Larudee] has been here four times before and has never been arrested. He has never done anything illegal,” continued Golan, adding that the activist, who is a piano tuner by trade, was here to tune more than 40 pianos in the Palestinian Authority areas, said Golan.