Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rachel Corrie's Dreams or .....

"The (Self-)Deceit of Rachel Corrie"

Commentary Magazine
June 2008

By Stacey Palevsky
July 26, 2009
-- After weeks of community discord, the controversial "Rachel" documentary screened to an audience often inhospitable to divergent viewpoints.
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(As was the case with Muhamad Al-Dura the industry of deception continues to produce one fiction after another hoping that truth will drown beneath the tsunami. This week the latest was screened in San Francisco. It seemed appropriate to review once again Roberta Seid's excellent article from last year of what in truth actually occurred. )

The publication of Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie adds yet another item to the growing body of Corrie memorabilia.

The twenty-three-year-old American from Olympia, Washington, died in Gaza in March 2003 when, as a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), she tried to obstruct an IDF bulldozer that, according to the IDF, was destroying rocket launchers in the overgrown brush near a Palestinian home.

An official Israeli investigation concluded that her death was an accident. The driver, in the 10 foot-high bulldozer with its limited visual field, could not see Corrie, who was hidden by a mound of dirt or standing in a trench in the military security zone. The Israeli autopsy report determined that she had been killed by a blow to the head from debris probably dislodged by the bulldozer.

However, the ISM and other activists insisted the driver had seen Corrie, and intentionally killed her. They released two photographs for evidence. The first showed Corrie standing in full view of the bulldozer, shouting at the driver through a bullhorn she was holding. In the second photo, she lay crumpled on the ground in front of the bulldozer. Within hours of the photos’ release, observers noticed from the position of the sun that the two photos had been taken hours apart, and that the bulldozer in the first picture was not the same as the one in the second. Other questions surrounded her death: had she died on the spot, in the ambulance or in the hospital emergency room; did the Gazan doctor do all he could to save her?

Despite these questions, the ISM and other anti-Israel activists seized upon Rachel’s death for public relations purposes. The young American instantly became their poster child, an alleged symbol of youthful idealism, Palestinian victimization, and Israeli brutality. As a Hamas activist said at Rachel’s funeral, “'Her death serves me more than it served her…Her death will bring more attention than the other 2,000 martyrs.'….” Corrie was the first American to be hailed as a Palestinian martyr. It is not surprising that these activists refuse to even entertain the possibility that her death was an accident. If it were, she would no longer be a useful symbol for indicting Israel’s self-defense measures and its very right to exist.

The efforts to elevate Rachel into a martyred idealist and artist began immediately, followed shortly by efforts to portray her as a new Anne Frank. Today there are Rachel Corrie memorial websites, scholarship funds, and events commemorating the anniversary of her death. More well-known is the controversial play based on her diaries, My Name is Rachel Corrie, which had runs in London, Seattle, New York and other U.S. cities. Her parents, who had never shown interest in the Middle East conflict, are now regulars on the international anti-Israel lecture circuit. This spring, they appeared at several southern California anti-Zionism week events, which are mounted annually by campus Muslim Student Associations. Corrie has also become the cause celebre for divest-from-Israel campaigns whose new strategy is to focus on the Caterpillar Corporation, primarily because a Caterpillar bulldozer was involved in her death. The family and other Palestinians brought a suit against Caterpillar in U.S. federal court for its complicity in Israel’s “inhumane actions.” The court dismissed the suit in July 2007 for being a political issue outside the court’s jurisdiction.

(For full article)

Related: The Upcoming Rachel Corrie Trial: Go After Her Real Killers

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