Saturday, March 29, 2008

When I was a young confused college student, trying to find myself in an academic urban jungle, like a lot of people my age, I kept a journal -- what I did, where I went, a comment about what I thought about it... I remember that in the front of one of those books I wrote a warning to anyone who might find it in the case of my untimely demise, a disclaimer in case a future reader should discover the volume and have the audacity to imagine that they, upon reading my daily missives, should actually think they knew me. After all, I was far more complex than anything I may have written there, and far more interesting (thought I).

It's a stage of confusion, discomfort, introspection, self-doubt and self-importance that almost everyone goes through in their teens and early twenties. Some of these teen experiences spiral out of control and end in suicide, but most of us emerge from the other side none the worse for wear, either by working it out for ourselves or with some good guidance from wiser and more experience minds. I had the good fortune to attend a relatively apolitical Boston University where I hung out with friends who were fairly well grounded in reality to keep things in perspective.

Sadly for Rachel Corrie, the real-life subject of a one-woman play showing at Watertown's New Rep Theater, she attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, a training ground for young activists, and her mentors would become the Palestinian Arabs who run the International Solidarity Movement.

     A toy bulldozer similar to the one that appears on stage during the show.     

Remember that name -- the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). You'll have to, because it's never mentioned in the show. Not once. That's the name of the group that helped Rachel Corrie lie her way into Israel (understandably, the Israelis are not pleased with young people coming from abroad and intentionally putting themselves and others in danger on behalf of those who would like to dismantle the Jewish State), snuck her into Gaza, trained her to put her life at risk, gave her assignments, taught her how to deal with the media, and most of all to never, ever, judge the choices her Palestinian hosts make -- from rock throwing to suicide terror -- another verboten word.

The play is based upon a bowdlerized version of Rachel Corrie's personal journals edited for the stage by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner. The lead, and only, role is played by local actress Stacy Fischer, whose credits, at least according to the playbill, tend more to Shakespeare than to basement journal readings.

     A real armored Cat D9 like that used by the IDF. Click for larger to see scale.     

We begin in Rachel's bedroom in Olympia, a typically angsty and introspective girl reading us selections from her journal, lamenting her decorating choices (she has painted the walls red). Everyone present being sober, I immediately fight the urge to flee. Duty holds me in my seat.

Reading an entry from 1991, when Rachel was 12, she talks about safety -- clever foreshadowing here -- and when we reach Middle School she reads that what she's written today will not be true tomorrow and so on. I'm reminded of my old journal and its disclaimer. [Note to self: Find those books and burn them. Do it now while you're still ambulatory.]

Nothing here is particularly noteworthy, or even particularly interesting. I've frankly heard better writing and observing while stuck in an actual girl's apartment as she read me selections of her latest hand-scrawled profundities (hence my pre-conditioned flight response). Rachel tells us about her discomfort in social situations, her sense of difference from others, her quest for meaning..."Salmon," she tells us, pondering the implications of an under-street fish run, "are the history that isn't trivia." Deep.

This is banal stuff as Rachel talks about her choice of Evergreen State as an attempt to differentiate herself from her preppy, corporate sister and brother (one gets the feeling that basket weaving would be considered a heavy academic subject at Evergreen). She's "shellshocked" over the semester, trying to find herself, embarrassed that she's never accomplished anything for herself and has a mother so involved in her life that Rachel describes her as bobbing up in the sky like a Macy's balloon.

Meaning is found through altruism, and Rachel finds it feels good to help others. Social activism can serve as the perfect refuge for the egotist -- I do good deeds which makes me feel good and you are grateful to me which makes me feel even better. It's still all about me, sure, but this can be a pleasurable killing of two birds with one stone. I benefit and so do you.

One understands very quickly, as minute after minute of this goes on, that there's little of particular interest here. So why the play? What's the difference between my journals, or the journals of a young suicide and these? Let's not be coy. Rachel's journals serve a political purpose, that's why, and hence the production.

Some humor comes with the description of Rachel's short-lived time as a driver and helper for -- was it mentally handicapped? -- patients. Sadly, they fail to be sufficiently grateful. Where to find those she can help who will appreciate the gift of self she brings them and who will fulfill their side of the egotist contract? Where to go, where to go...

Banal turns pernicious with the first mention of Gaza and her hearing from an old male friend who was a local organizer. Rachel agonizes over the people "on the receiving end" of US military funding and frowns over those being held in US custody as part of the War on Terror. Her "Macy's balloon" mom is encouraging, and Rachel, now clearly in the hands of the ISM, discusses with her her future plans. She needs names from mom "in case she gets into trouble," she briefs mom on how to talk to the press (a standard part of ISM training), on what terminology to use. It's not a hard sell, as mom, we are told, already doesn't like to use the word "terrorism," but Rachel says she needs to go further. Mom is willing.

Rachel reads from a training manual, clearly the ISM manual, whose tutelage she's now under, though this fact is kept obscured to the audience. Lee Kaplan wrote a revealing piece on his own ISM training session, and I present a few tid-bits from that manual not written into the play's record:

  • "Some pacifists are uncomfortable with property damage. For myself...I see it as a great tool."
  • "[Some] settle for tactical nonviolence, but given the right historical circumstance, armed struggle would be justified..."
  • "When TERRORISM is mentioned, emphasize STATE TERRORISM."
  • "Instead of OCCUPATION say MILITARY OCCUPATION to make people think the occupation is a MILITARY DICTATORSHIP."

What was that song from South Pacific? "You've got to be carefully taught..."

Forty-five minutes in and we're still not in Gaza, though. We're still locked in a bedroom philosophizing about life, death, aloneness ("aloneness allows us to adventure") and working through feelings of white class privilege. A glance at my watch and my flight instinct starts kicking me in the ass again.

Finally we arrive! The Holy Land at last. Rachel bluffs her way into the country, and we're given a quick interlude of Rachel's worry over being called an anti-Semite. It's important, after all, to separate Israeli policy from Jewish opinion. Israelis suffer, too... It's a quick by-your-leave to talk about what we're really here to talk about -- how horrible those Jews are making life for innocent Arabs. In one unintentional laugher later on, she writes, "The vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, are engaging in Gandhian non-violent resistance." Spare us.

Now comes the major admission of the play, "I'm really new to talking about Israel/Palestine." She knows nothing. One of the most complicated war zones on the planet and, having given herself into the hands of the ISM, she comes as an ignorant babe, head filled with lots of Evergreen College anti-war jargon and no hard knowledge or serious analysis. Gaza is not a place to find yourself, yet here she is, being put to use as a foot soldier on one side of that war.

The face of Rachel the play is afraid to show you. Is this really helping bring peace? Do the kids there really need to be taught more rage?

Reading from the ISM manual, she recites what should come as a chilling bit of manipulation: "...don't judge rightness and wrongness..." In other words, no matter what you see, no matter what your Palestinian handlers do, no matter who they put at risk, you must not judge it.

This world is perfect for the young narcissist. Corrie knows nothing not spoon-fed to her, outside a few all-purpose neo-Marxist activist tropes. She is plunked down and given purpose in a land whose culture she doesn't understand and told not to be too curious. One almost expects her to step off the plane saying, "Me llamo Rachel!" But Gaza is not a one size fits all conflict. There are reasons people don't live like Americans in Gaza -- why Israelis fear for their lives from them -- and our protagonist understands none of them.

The ISM sends Corrie and friends to retrieve a dead body in the face of an IDF presence demanding they get out of the area. Tough duty for a sheltered girl from Olympia whose only experience with serious matters has come through slogans. Faced with what she sees and doesn't understand, combined with her own "White Guilt," it's not long before the nightmares come. More talk of checkpoints, water, wonderful host families...nothing deeper than observation without understanding, and since we are along for the ride with Rachel, and Rachel doesn't last through for an Act 2 as it were, our own understanding of the conflict is left in the same ignorant state Rachel's was when she stopped writing.


At 1 hour 20 minutes I write "This is endless". There's plenty more to come. Emails home with mother, who tells Rachel that violence doesn't help the situation, but Rachel, fully in the spirit at this point, and faced with horrors she can't process, shoots back that people have a right to "legitimate self-defense" and starts in with a recitation of the ISM version of International Law, yet she had admitted earlier that, while sitting in Dr. Samir's garden she was told, before the Intifada there were no tanks, no bulldozers. Since the Intifada...daily. It makes one think, or should.

This issue of the sensibility of violence, and its own role in creating the conditions Corrie is so outraged over, is left completely unexplored. There's a good reason for that, because in fact, neither Corrie, nor the ISM, are pacifists, as becomes clear when we examine some of her writings not included in the show:

...In retaliation for this murderous attack, fighters last night offered their life for their friend and killed two of the illegal occupying force, and injuring another...There was protracted gun-fire for more than an hour. So these young guys really fought it out...

At 1 hour 45 the nightmare is almost over. The actress exits and we are treated to a voice-over of ISM activist Tom Dale's testimony concerning the circumstances of Rachel's death that does everything possible to place blame squarely on the bulldozer driver who, he insists, must have seen Corrie before intentionally killing her. The problems with this testimony and why it cannot be so -- in fact, are blatant slander -- are beyond the scope of this review, though I have included resource links at the end. I will just comment on one piece of stage manipulation. Through the entire performance, a plastic toy bulldozer sits meaningfully upon the stage (see photo), yet this, of course is absolutely nothing like the heavily armored Cat D-9 that Corrie intentionally placed herself in front of, with its huge blade and limited visibility.

Finally, finally, we see an actual video of a young Rachel, budding activist, giving a speech on video about...well, helping people and healing the world and all that. It ends. Thank the Lord for small mercies.

The audience applauded, with about 2/3 of the approx. 80 people present (close to a sell out in this small theater) standing, and one woman in the front row moved to tears.

About a third of the people stayed for the post-show discussion with actress Stacy Fischer and artistic director/sound designer Rick Lombardo.

I'll summarize some of what was discussed. It was asked whether Fischer had a political view, but she mostly demurred, saying she was an actress playing a role, but had learned a lot in the process.

Both stated that they had had no major negative reactions or disruptions during this Boston run, only about 15 negative emails, and less than half of those from local people. The night I went was the first time anyone had been leafleting outside the theater. (One activist from Christians and Jews United for Israel was outside politely handing out information on "The Forgotten Rachels" -- the ones who haven't had plays made about them, the ones whose deaths pose no questions as to responsibility -- they were intentionally murdered for political purposes.) Lombardo asked to see the flier and said he welcomed it as part of the dialog.

Rachel Corrie's parents accept a portrait of their daughter from mass-murderer Yasser Arafat. Rachel was far from the first young person Arafat had sent to his or her death.

Lombardo had a couple of mantras. One, that this was "just a play" and he therefore defers any responsibility for inaccuracies or in how the show may have originally been intended as a propaganda effort (You'd have to talk to Rickman and Viner about their intentions, says he). He also repeated that this was just one person's perspective, not a full examination of the facts. Of course, the average theater goer (and the audience appeared to be average theater goers, not activists of any stripe) is attending because they like the idea of the controversy and want to see what it's about, as well as in the hope of learning something about the conflict at the same time. When one skeptical questioner pointed out that what was being presented as Rachel's point of view was a highly edited and tendentious version, another perceptive participant noted that if that were so, then the point of view being presented was a dishonest one, a lie. Smart man.

It came out that the show was intended to be paired (though Lombardo denies any implied pairing) with a new show made from the writings of Yonni Netanyahu, only man killed in the Entebbe raid, but when the Netanyahu family learned that it was to appear with My Name Is Rachel Corrie, they refused to allow it. Good for the Netanyahu's. Instead, the pairing is with another one-woman show called Pieces, written and performed by a female IDF veteran. I have heard it's a decent show, though the playwright/actress betrays her politics (you can guess how they run) during the discussion.

While the activist from CJUI, politely handing out information to theater-goers was kicked to the curb (she had been huddled in the breezeway sheltering from the cold evening) [edit: After a couple of questions on this, let me state that "kicked to the curb" is just an expression. There were no actual kicks involved. Said pamphleteer was simply asked to move to the sidewalk.], I found a stack of glossy cards free for the taking in the lobby, "Israeli soldiers killed Rachel..." it begins on the front, then the back carries the full indictment, with an invitation to visit the anti-Semitic web site, I guess some "further information" is more equal than others.

The ISM is well on the record for intentionally seeking out and putting in danger young foreigners, with a particular interest in Americans. They know the Israelis don't want to harm them, so they are useful tools in disrupting Israeli anti-terror operations, and if one should be hurt or killed, they and their handlers are geared up to use the death to maximum propaganda effect. Rachel's Palestinian handlers are well versed in manipulating and sending children to their deaths, they scored big by finally managing to get an American to do it. American theaters do nothing to help stop the conflict and everything to encourage more of the same by playing host to this story which contains no substance and a great deal of manipulation. Rachel Corrie is dead. We owe it to others to expose the manipulations and the cynicism that lead to what amounts to her assisted suicide. To write a play pretending that the real story is the cause she was maneuvered into dying over is perverse. Write instead about the terror masters who put here there. That's the real drama.

The following is a list of fatal terror attacks that occurred between Rachel's arrival in Gaza on January 25, 2003, and her death on March 16:

Feb 6, 2003 - 2nd Lt. Amir Ben-Aryeh, 21, of Maccabim, and St.-Sgt. Idan Suzin, 20, of Kiryat Tivon were killed and two more soldiers were wounded in a shooting attack in the area of Nablus. Both gunmen were killed by return fire from IDF troops. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah-Tanzim claimed responsibility for the attack.

Feb 11, 2003 - Maj. Shahar Shmul, 24, of Jerusalem was killed by a Palestinian sniper near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem while checking a suspicious vehicle. The PFLP and the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Feb 15, 2003 - Cpl. Noam Bahagon, 20, of Elkana; Sgt. Tal Alexei Belitzky, 21, of Rishon Lezion; St.-Sgt. Doron Cohen, 21, of Rishon Lezion; and Sgt. Itay Mizrahi, 20, of Be'er Sheva were killed when their tank drove over an explosive device weighing 100 kgs while on patrol in the Gaza Strip. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Feb 23, 2003 - Sgt. Doron Lev, 19, of Holon was shot and killed when a Palestinian sniper opened fire at an army position in the southern Gaza Strip. The PFLP claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mar 5, 2003 - Seventeen people were killed and 53 wounded in a suicide bombing of an Egged bus #37 on Moriah Blvd. in the Carmel section of Haifa, en route to Haifa University. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The victims: Maryam Atar, 27, of Haifa; Smadar Firstater, 16, of Haifa; Kamar Abu Hamed, 12, of Daliat al-Carmel; Daniel Haroush, 16, of Safed; Mordechai Hershko, 41, of Haifa; Tom Hershko, 15, of Haifa; Meital Katav, 20, of Haifa ; Elizabeta Katzman, 16, of Haifa; Tal Kerman, 17, of Haifa; St.-Sgt. Eliyahu Laham, 22, of Haifa; Abigail Litle, 14, of Haifa; Yuval Mendelevitch, 13, of Haifa; St.-Sgt. Be'eri Oved, 21, of Rosh Pina; Mark Takash, 54, of Haifa; Assaf Tzur (Zolinger), 17, of Haifa. Anatoly Biryakov, 20, of Haifa, died of his injuries on March 8. Moran Shushan, 20, of Haifa, died of her injuries on March 11.

Mar 7, 2003 - Rabbi Eli Horowitz, 52, and his wife Dina, 50, of Kiryat Arba, were killed and five wounded Friday night by armed terrorists disguised as Jewish worshippers who infiltrated Kiryat Arba, entered their home and murdered them while they were celebrating the Sabbath. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mar 10, 2003 - St.-Sgt. Tomer Ron, 20, of Moshav Moledet, was killed and four soldiers were wounded - one seriously - in Hebron, on the road between the Cave of the Patriarchs and Kiryat Arba, when Palestinian terrorists opened fire on a foot patrol. Two organizations - Hamas and Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front-General Command - claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mar 12, 2003 - St.-Sgt. Assaf Moshe Fuchs, 21, of Kibbutz Gvat was killed and another soldier wounded Wednesday morning in an exchange of fire with wanted terrorists from the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank village of Saida, near Tulkarm.

Important resources:

Rachel Corrie Facts

Lee Kaplan writes about his training with the ISM: Solidarity With Terror

Tom Gross on The Forgotten Rachels

Information on How Rachel Corrie really died (Hint: Not protecting a house)

I linked to two good reviews at The New Republic, here, unfortunately neither is currently online, though I did include a significant quote of one. [Update: The Cynthia Ozick review (excellent) is available here.

Mark Steyn reviews the show: VACATIONING IN SOMEONE ELSE'S DESPAIR - My Name Is Rachel Corrie

This post contains a video example of the ISM's expansive definition of "non-violence"

There is a page of Rachel Corrie related links, here.

This list will be updated, and this text is subject to editing.

[If you enjoy posts like this, please consider supporting this blog through PayPal or Amazon.]

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Earnest Ignorance: My Name is Rachel Corrie at the New Rep.

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The kindest way I can assess Rachel Corrie’s Palestinian mission is in comparing her to Pasha Antipov, the idealistic revolutionary from Dr. Zhivago, whose rage of exclusive pity overwhelms his moral values. The suffering he saw turned him from a naive idealist to a brutal, mass-killing revolutionary. He was a lost soul.

Corrie, likewise, aligned herself sentimentally and seamlessly with suffering Palestinians, reserving for them her absolute pity to the extent that suffering Israelis merited nothing but a sneering hatred from her. Corrie’s idealism did not proceed from love but from ideologically induced hatred. She was a de-facto apologist for Palestinian terrorism, and she died trying to prevent the work of an Israeli bulldozer, which was searching for munitions buried in the ground . Contrary to Palestinian reports, the bulldozer was not there to demolish a house, (though houses used as cover for weapon-smuggling tunnels were demolished by the IDF, but not on that particular day). Any which way you slice it, those munitions were there to be utilized in attacks against innocent Israeli civilians. Corrie died protecting terrorist weapons. She was completely indifferent to the deaths these weapons spelled at a time when suicide bombings were a matter of daily occurrence in Israel.

I'm glad the bitch was run over.

Corries parents should sue the malevolent "International Solidarity Movement" for brainwashing their daughter to die for propaganda points for the ISM.

ISM essentially told Rachel Corrie to jump off a roof, and she obediently complied.

Sol, here's a review of the script of the play by Cynthia Ozick in The New Republic:

Was that one of the reviews you were referring to?

Vince P: I am no fan of Rachel Corrie, either, but I think the sentiment you expressed is repulsive.

This post by "Simply Jews" is tangentially relevant. It illustrates the lengths to which Palestinian propaganda will go in order to distort dimensions and reality so as to create the affect they need:

Thanks, Joanne. Yes, that's the review. I've added a couple more links, and also added a selection from her writing not included in the show. The paragraph begins "This issue of the sensibility of violence..." Thanks to Hillel for the link (and more!).

I am sorry to say that Rachel's parents and Rachel herself got what they deserve. In general in the US crass stupidity has no price for the leftists themselves... Only for the people they march against, be it South Vietnamese, Israelis or people that lived in Communist Hell... This time, they got it... I have no pity whatsoever for the Corries... Only disdain!

I give Pastaneta permission to Speak In My Name

pancakes anyone?

The challenge remains to get reasonable people to learn about the fuller story. Below, link to feature piece I had published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer just before the play premiered here last year.
david brumer

Death is what she deserved to get. She willfully defended terrorists - and she got killed. This is justice.

If one is "anti-war", wouldn't one be against aggression on BOTH sides?

Rachel Corrie took sides.

Rachel Corrie sided with terrorists.

Rachel Corrie sided with
- kidnappers of journalists like alan johnston
- the attempted kidnappers of her own parents when they went to vist arafat after her death
- the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer
- the murderers of the Israeli athletes of the Olympics
- the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy

Rachel Corrie was a tool. Literally, and figuratively.

The fact that her mother approved of her ignorant daughter going to palestine tells you all you need to know.

Frankly, I don't really care about what happened to her. This happened in Judea (I've decided not to use "Palestine" anymore), this happened in a place, where Arab terrorists fire rockets at women and children simply because they're Jews. Rachel Corrie sided with those terrorists. She was also "smart" enough to get involved in this conflict. It's her own damn fault, that simply. The only one to blame is Rachel Corrie. Would she not have gone there, would she not have sided with Arab mass-murderers, then she'd still be alive today. It's her own damn fault.

That said, I don't feel sorry for her. It was her decision, she was old enough to use her brain, she refused to. Tough luck.

"Rachel Corrie sided with
- kidnappers of journalists like alan johnston
- the attempted kidnappers of her own parents when they went to vist arafat after her death
- the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer
- the murderers of the Israeli athletes of the Olympics
- the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy"

*On Alan Johnston, ok you have a point, but even he wasn't willing to blame them, so you cannot expect too much from her.
*Rachel Corrie would hardly know what Hamas would do with her parents after her death!! [Did they kidnap them?]
*The Achille Lauro incident had happened almost 20 years before, by a different political group. I'm sure Corrie had never even heard of it.
*Ditto the Olympics, ditto about that being a different group; and this was over 30 years before.
*Would she know about Sirhan Sirhan, who killed RFK in 1968? Also, he was a lone actor.

Your point is still well taken; she knew or should have known what she was doing. She was not an innocent. But the examples above are not the best ones to use.

This is an important review of the play. Thank you.

BTW, the review was well-written, Sol. I enjoyed reading it. You really made your experience come alive for the reader. Also, it's a good antidote to the more deferential reviews I've seen elsewhere.

Joanne, my post is a reflection on the character of the "fine" people Rachel Corrie sympathised with.

Criminal palestinian acts commited before and after her death.

Ironicly Rachel Corries parents were almost kidnapped by another group of palestinians before the Corries palestinian handlers stopped it.

Kidnapping her parents would have been very embarassing to arafat.

Talk about "Cutting off the nose to spite the face".

alan johnston was kidnapped AFTER her death.

As for british journalist alan johnston, when he was kidnapped and a prisoner of palestine, the British National Union of Journalists slammed ISRAEL! I don't think the NUJ slammed Israel to win Johnstons release. It was the NUJs anti-Israel reflex kicking in.

"The case of Alan Johnston, the BBC's Gaza correspondent, who was kidnapped by an unknown Palestinian group more than a month ago and has not been seen since, illustrates the dangers of reporting from Israel and the Palestinian territories."

Murderous acts by palestinians 20, 30 years ago, by various palestinian and other islamofascist groups ARE relevant.

If Rachel Corrie was ingnorant of the history of palestinian and arab fascist atrocities but programmed with leftist, socialist, progressive "history", it doesn't say much for her education.

I saw the orignal run of the play at the Royal Court Theater in London in 2005 and was very popular with the British left as you can imagine. Ironically, the theater is sponsored by Michael Bloomberg's finacial news company.

I wonder if the question will ever be settled what killed St. Pancake? Was it the CAT bulldozer or was she murdered by the Pali doctors to create an infidel shahid?

It is supremely ironic, and tragic, that what killed this young woman was precisely the twisted anti-Israeli lies that her parents approve of. There is absolutely no other reason that this young woman is dead, yet her parents happily participate in more anti-Israeli lies (e.g., they play). Do they care if their participation will encourage other young people to put themselves in harm's way?

It should be noted that Jewish Voice for Peace took out a congratulatory ad in the program book.

They would, wouldn't they?

"Arguably, the most vociferous and effective opponents of the existence of the state of Israel today are anti-Zionist Jews. Who has done more to advance the myth of Zionist "ethnic cleansing" than Ilan Pappe? Who has done more to combat the "Holocaust Myth" than Norman Finkelstein?? Who has been at the forefront at spreading the libel of "Apartheid Israel," if not our own 'dear' Jeff Halper? Who has made hatred of Israel respectable in US Academia if not Joel Beinin? Who has done more to advance the image of Israel as a tool of the colonialist imperialist warmongers than Noam Chomsky? Who has been the ideological soul of the British boycott campaigns, if not Jacqueline Rose? Who has done more to discredit the IDF than Dorothy Naor with her "New Profile" movement? It is the Golden Age of anti-Zionist Jews. All over the world, the watchword is "Just Peace in Palestine." Jews are leading the fight to brainwash the world into thinking that genocide is justice. Anti-Semitism was abandoned by the respectable right; now it is the Jews who must lead the anti-Zionist fight, the struggle to deny the rights of the Jewish people."

To my shame, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to this stuff at the time. I thought of it as one of the unfortunate things that happen in this always violence-cursed part of the world. I felt bad for her and her family.

Then I learned more about her and the organization she was with. I was horrified. Because the story put forth in the news made it sound like this poor girl was trying to help people and got killed in the process.

What a bunch of garbage and lies. I don't care how ignorant she was. She was not a child. She willfully sided with terrorists, and this is the consequence for her actions. To see her celebrated as some sort victim, or worse - as a martyr! - makes me ill. I cannot stand looking at these photographs of her, screaming in her hatred. How vile.

And yet it's only blogs and other smaller outlets that are showing the true story, so that another generation of people can continue to see this woman as a poor, sad victim of those evil Israelis.

It makes me sick.

It seems as though the ISM is ready and willing to take as many moronic US Lefties to Gaza as they can get their hands on, in order to get them killed for propoganda purposes.
Where can I send them a check?

A side question that wasn't raised: why did Corrie have to sneak her way into Israel on her way to Gaza? Why not simply go to Egypt, thence to Gaza?

The answer, of course, is that she couldn't. The Egyptians have blocked off that border, trying to keep everyone out and the Gazan residents in. As has been the case since 1949, the Palestinians are people of value to the Arabs only insofar as they can be used as a political weapon. An actual resolution of the problem--other than the demise of Israel--is precisely what they don't want.

Funny how leftists can paint American soldiers killed serving in Iraq as clueless victims of slick talking recruiters taking advantage of these "kids". Yet, this knothead is worshiped as some type of Islamo-Marxist martyr for sacrificing herself to save a weapons smuggling tunnel.

Their logic comes up a little, uh..... shall I say, flat....

The picture where the Corries receive a picture from yassir arafat, they must be thinking "the ISM took my baby away and all I got was this lousy picture".

"...why did Corrie have to sneak her way into Israel on her way to Gaza? Why not simply go to Egypt..."

It tells a better story. A member of the "resistance" outwitting the formidable adversary by nothing more than her our ingenuity. Just as the objective of her "visit" to Gaza was not to help Palestinians in their daily hardships but to create exactly the kind of spectacular crises that got her killed. Had the Israelis known she was bound for Gaza, they would her turned her back, and she would be alive today to tell a different tale of wounded humanitarianism. Whichever way it turned out, the ISM couldn't lose in this public auctioning of self-pity...

I agree with the criticisms here of Corrie and of the play.

I wish to add several points I think essential:

1. Corrie was an illegal combattant in a number of senses
a. She took orders from Hamas
b. She sought to protect not a family, but arms-smuggling (The bulldozer was engaged in brush-clearing to find arms caches/tunnels. Israel stopped house demolitiions long ago.)
c. She interefered with legitimate Israeli attempt to halt the arms-smuggling
d. The smuggling was in violation of treaty (Oslo)

2. If Corries were an illegal combattant, Israel would have been entitled to simply shoot her as an enemy combattant.

3. The Western press has made too little of the Palestinians deliberately encouraging deaths - both of Corrie and of their own children - in their fanatical hatred of the Jewish state.

4. A silver lining for Israel - the mass of insane Western Israel-haters (such as Turley or Weir or ISM) will henceforth know that if they interfere too directly, they will simply be eliminated.

Lee Kaplan has an excellent video on You Tube thatn shows how the ISM manipulated photos and what really happened to Corrie. It's in three parts and the links are on the homepage at well worth viewing.

In Judaism our Sages tell as that the killing of a single person is like destroying an entire universe. While you may not approve of what this young women stood for, saying that she deserved to die isn antitetical to what we are taught as Jews. I hope in this particular case we can all elevate the dialouge, as many have done already in there responses.

Oh great, now I've got a filk of "Richard Cory" running through my head...

They say that Rachel Corrie didn't mean to end up dead,
she was just a messed-up kid,
who once painted her bedroom red!
But I, I live in the 'territories',
and they curse me in the media,
yes they curse my Jewish life,
but I would not want to be,
no I'd never want to be,
Rachel Corrie.

(With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel.)

As Pastaneta said in comment #7: American kids -- those who become activists, anyway -- are used to expressing their opinions, no matter how vile, and never having to pay a permanent price for them.

They do not live in the real world. They don't realize that there is no planet-wide First Amendment, and that people can and do get killed for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Rachel Corrie never understood that. She believed that she could make a spirited protest, get her picture in some newspapers, and come home to tell breathless accounts of her adventures.

Nobody told her that American college-campus "political protests" are kindergarten theater... and that, elsewhere in the world, people play for keeps.

If she'd had some sense of how this works... or if she'd had less confidence in her own invincibility... or if she'd even had the common sense to jump out of the way of a moving bulldozer... she'd still be alive today.

Yes, there are important lessons to be learned from Rachel Corrie. We need to teach our children that the world can be a dangerous place -- and that not knowing about the dangers doesn't make you immune from them. We need to teach our children that they are lucky to live in a country that celebrates free speech -- but that there are still places where people like us are beaten, tortured, or killed, because of what we say, or what we believe, or what we wear.

We need to teach our children that Rachel Corrie died -- because she was so blinded by ideology that she couldn't see the bulldozer bearing down on her. We need to teach our children that, yes, it IS possible to die of stupidity, or of ignorance.

We need to teach our children to learn what they're getting themselves into -- so that they do not grow up to be Rachel Corrie, a silly girl who, ultimately, died for nothing.

Daniel in Brookline

Ami Isserof has an effective post on Rachel Corrie:

This "he has slain a thousand people" sounds too much like that Q'uranic verse, "he who has slain one person, it is as if he has killed the whole world."

That Q'uranic injunction was not a call to peace, but a warning to Jews to watch themselves. People sneaking Q'uranic injunctions in here and passing them off as Jewish wisdom? They should watch FITNA more carefully!

Maybe you could think for a minute about what drives people to commit acts of terrorism. What makes Palestine such a ripe place for propaganda?
It can't be the fact that their "land" is a prison camp, can it? No, that's not possible. You talk a lot about how much they want to exterminate Israel. The fact of the matter is that Israelis feel the same way about Palestinians. Painting an activist with more courage than you could ever dream of having in that kind of light is pathetic.

The disparity between deaths of Israeli civilians and Palestinian civilians is enormous. That is - four times more Palestinian civilians have been murdered by Israel. When the Palestinians kill it is "terror;" when the IDF does it, much more brutally, excessively, and in bigger numbers, they're doing their job to protect the Jewish people.

To insinuate that the first intifada makes the use of tanks and bulldozers acceptable ... that's appalling, morally.

This woman was standing in front of a home about to be demolished because the Israelis decided they wanted to grab a little more land, or maybe because collective punishment seemed to make the most sense. The home of a doctor. The home of a people whose MAIN CRIME in the eyes of Israel, as it is, is having been born Palestinian. If these people were black, not Arab, Israel would be a pariah state sanctioned by every democratic nation on the face of this earth.

Dan, what kind of a "prison" has an army, inmates have AK-47's, inmates have bombs, have rocket factories, inmates have TV and radio stations?

You are being disingenuous.

So called "palestine" is a terrorist encampment.

Not that "palestine" is the only example of islamofascism.

This year was the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy by a "palestinian".

Today, December 21st, is the 20th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103.

When you have to undergo security screening at an airport, thank islamofascism.

> The fact of the matter is that Israelis feel
> the same way about Palestinians.

No, we don't.

Dan, I grew up in Israel. I studied at Israeli public elementary and high schools. I served for three years in the Israel Defense Forces. I can assure you that not once -- not ever -- was I instructed anything negative about Palestinians as a whole. I didn't hear it as a child; I didn't hear it in high school; and I didn't hear it in basic training or in subsequent military training.

Quite the opposite, in fact; I had many teachers who openly supported the creation of a Palestinian State at Israel's expense. I had friends who were members of Peace Now. (This stands in sharp contrast to what Palestinian children are taught.)

Dan, do some research on Peace Now, and on its numerous sister organizations -- the Women in Black and so forth. They are what a mathematician might call "an existence theorem" -- they demonstrate something important by their very existence. Likewise, Palestinian human-rights groups, proclaiming that Israeli lives are just as valuable as Palestinian lives, would demonstrate something important... except that they don't exist.

Israel vs. the Palestinians is not symmetrical; I wish to God it were, we might then be able to get somewhere. Rather, as a past Prime Minster of Israel once said: if the Palestinians were to lay down all their weapons tomorrow, there would be peace. If Israel were to lay down all its weapons tomorrow, there would be no more Israel.

The Palestinian leadership seeks Israel's destruction; they have said so many times, and their behavior backs this up. Israel seeks nothing of the sort; she wants to live in peace and be left alone. Israel has said this many times, and Israel's behavior backs this up. (If Israel wanted to destroy the Palestinians, she could have done so, effortlessly, forty years ago.)

Daniel in Brookline

The so-called Palis are not even a people, but an anti people.

An advertising device that can be used to smear the Jews (those long persecuted people) as agressors.

I love you,, Rachel Corrie. you are personal courage. I will not forget the day I sat with u and Karak friend and we dealt with lunch .. Please I want to know your telephone number and address to communicate with your father and ur family i miss u

Dear hassan, my toll-free phone number is


Hope to hear from you soon so we can continue our conversation.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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