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Rachel Corrie, One Year Later By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, April 13, 2004


The one-year anniversary of the demise of Rachel Corrie has not passed without fanfare. Rachel’s mother and others on the Left have observed the cosmic event by condemning alleged Israeli (and U.S.) intransigence in the investigation of the death. In the Boston Globe of March 18, 2004, Rachel Corrie's mother wrote:

 

Rachel was an unarmed peace activist trying to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist, his wife, and three children. She believed that nonviolent direct action against the Israeli occupation would make Palestinians, and also Israelis and Americans, more secure. Rachel stood there to protect a home and family in Gaza because the United States and Israel rejected a UN proposal to send international human rights monitors there. International activists went instead. Rachel stood there protesting illegal home demolitions that the United States opposes on the record yet fails to stop – destruction that we support with billions in annual military aid to Israel for bulldozers, Apache helicopters, F-16s, and more.

 

She went on to demand that the United States run its own investigation into her daughter's death, and reject the conclusions from Israel's own official investigation, which concluded that Corrie had been struck accidentally by a bulldozer operator who was unable to see her, blaming Corrie herself for blocking the bulldozer in the middle of its operation. In other statements, the Corrie family has been far more bellicose, denouncing Israel for maintaining an “illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.”

 

What are we to make of this new Corrie family jihad? For those whose memories fail them in this matter, let me refresh things.  Rachel Corrie was a young fanatic college student from Washington State, who decided she could make the world a better place by showing her solidarity with Middle East terrorism and Palestinian mass murderers.  She joined the International Solidarity Movement, a communist-anarchist group who openly support Palestinian terrorism. Corrie set up shop in the Gaza Strip, where she and her ISM comrades spent their days trying to harass and provoke Israeli troops and interfere with Israel's anti-terrorist military operations. They would set up obstacles on roads to prevent Israeli troops and otherwise assist and defend the terrorists. The ISM is probably the campus organization most upfront about its support for the Palestinian “right” to engage in terrorism, and that is saying quite a lot these days!

 

In one confrontation with the Israelis, Corrie was trying to block an army bulldozer that was knocking down homes of terrorists and buildings hiding tunnels through which weapons and explosives were being smuggled into Israel. These tunnels brought weapons from Egypt to the Gaza city of Rafiah. One of these homes might have been that which Corrie's parents describe as that of an “innocent pharmacist.” Corrie and her ISM comrades wanted to help protect the Gaza smuggling tunnels. Rachel Corrie put herself in a position where the bulldozer driver could not see her, and she was dragged under the heavy machine. She died in a PLO ambulance or hospital shortly thereafter. The ISM then issued a host of "eyewitness" reports about the accident, which turned out to be fabrications. The simple fact of the matter was that Corrie had figured the Israeli bulldozer driver could be cowed into backing off if he saw her blocking his access to the terrorist house; she probably figured correctly, except that he did not see her from his limited-visibility window in the rig.

 

Ever since, Rachel Corrie has become the matron martyr saint for the pro-terrorism Left, the Joan of Arc of Palestinian terrorism. Her ISM friends declared she was "murdered" intentionally by Israel (see for example http://www.rachelcorrie.org/ ).  Her death has been exploited by the Bash-Israel movement and by anti-Semites all over the world, as a means to delegitimize Israel. The PLO adopted her as mascot, declaring that she died “fighting Israel's security fence”; never mind that Israel did not begin building the security fence until well after she was dead. 

 

Later other ISM activists were also injured when they put themselves in the middle of firefights, started when the PLO would fire on Israelis, and – like Corrie – they were injured and one other died trying to protect those terrorists from Israelis shooting back. In this other case of a death of ISM member Tom Hurndall, the ISM led a worldwide campaign to demonize the soldier who shot him. Ironically, it turned out the soldier who shot Hurndall was an Arab Bedouin patriot living in Israel and serving in the Israeli military.

 

Corrie's own parents have gone on their own revenge, touring the world to demonize Israel, and represent daughter Rachel as a "victim of Israel's illegal occupation." They and other ISM supporters have been organizing a boycott of the Caterpiller Corporation, because it sells machines to Israel, including the one with which Corrie chose to face down a year ago. The Corrie parents insist that Rachel was there to promote non-violence and brotherly love. But Rachel and her ISM friends of course believed in nothing of the sort and were doing nothing of the sort. The official ISM web site endorses "armed struggle" by Palestinians, which means random mass murders of Israeli children.

 

Corrie died as a result of her own stupidity. She was in Gaza to help promote Palestinian terrorism and to prevent Israel from protecting its own citizens. She died protecting the illegal tunnels into Gaza from Egypt, through which the suicide bombers obtained their materials. The most lasting images of Corrie was of her face contorted with rage and as she burned an American flag. When Reuters reported that Palestinians "honored" her after her death in a "symbolic funeral" by flying U.S. flags, James Taranto from the Wall Street Journal remarked that if Corrie were still alive, no doubt she'd have burned the flags. Even the far-Left Mother Jones magazine considers her a dangerous and deluded little twit. The Israeli army investigated the death and concluded that Corrie had effectively committed suicide. Taranto also suggested that Corrie be awarded the "Idiotarian of the Year Award" for playing chicken with a huge earth-mover.

 

The ISM is not simply an innocent, if evil, fringe debating society.  Within Israeli territories, its members have actively collaborated with terrorists.  They hid weapons and wanted terrorists in their officesThe local ISM offices hosted two Moslem suicide bombers from the UK, who had entered Israel as "peace activists," only to blow a Tel Aviv bar to smithereens the next day.

 

The ISM is so closely coordinated with the PLO that it is for all intents and purposes nothing more than a PLO front group (which means that Rachel Corrie in effect died as a member of the PLO).  More recently, ISM trouble-makers have been trying to sabotage Israel's security fence, lest the fence prevent some Palestinian mass murderers from blowing up Israeli children and other civilians.

 

Yet despite the open endorsement of terror by ISM, it continues to enjoy U.S. tax-exempt status as a "charity" and continues to enjoy gifts of megabucks from the usual culprits who fund the pro-terrorist Left. The liberal press continues to coo over the ISM as if it were a "peace group."

 

The Israeli government has been too pusillanimous, cowed by its fear of bad press, to send the ISM trouble makers packing. While the ISM demonizes Israel, the very fact that it has been allowed to continue to operate its provocations within Israeli-controlled territory attests to how liberal and tolerant Israel is and has been. It is no coincidence that the same ISM people protecting homes of suicide bombers in the Gaza Strip and West Bank would never dare place themselves in jeopardy by blocking, say, U.S. troops arresting Saddam Hussein in his Tikrit rat-hole, or al-Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan. The Corrie parents are not urging other deluded young undergraduates to rush to Fallujah and Najaf to defend the homes of Iraqi terrorists under siege by American GIs to protest American "occupation" of Iraq. The ISM designer-jean "revolutionaries" and mall-Marxists would be mowed down mercilessly if they tried interfering with anti-terrorism operations anywhere in the world but Israel.

 

In the past year, Corrie and the other ISM supporters were lionized  by the Western media. The Europeans and the American liberal newspapers continue to commemorate Rachel Corrie through attacking Israel every time it tries to deter terror by knocking down the home of a suicide bomber or by tearing down houses protecting smuggling tunnels or Gaza rocket production workshops  (although more than 200 Palestinian rockets were fired into Israeli civilian areas from the Gaza Strip last year alone). And some of the most ferocious denunciations of Israel's actions against terrorist homes have come from Britain - from the BBC, the Economist, the New Statesman, and the British Foreign Office.

 

I mention the British in particular because a few days ago, the British government responded to the murders of two school children there by demolishing the house of the murderer. Yes, the British blew up the house of a mass murderer! The very same British media who denounce Israel as a "terrorist state" every time it blows up the home of a Palestinian suicide bomber have actually celebrated and justified an identical demolition, smack in the middle of the UK, no less!

 

You see, in the town of Soham, which is on the West Bank of the River Great Ouse in the eastern UK, one Ian Huntley had murdered two schoolgirl settlers. A few days ago, the local township demolished the property as a way to deter other would-be mass murderers and child-molesters.  Initiators of the demolition felt the house was a painful reminder to all of a horrific crime, and so it should be erased from the face of the earth. Moreover, this came in the tracks of other properties of killers and murderers in the UK that were also demolished in a similar fashion.

 

Now where were the ISM pro-terrorists? Why were they not protecting the home of the murderer of the two girls as a gesture to prove their devotion to love and peace? How come the Bash-Israel urchins were not out marching down the avenue to protest this Soham war crime and genocide by the British authorities? Why weren't the Corrie parents denouncing Britain's illegal occupation of the Isle of Man and Jersey? Why did no one report this abuse of human rights to the World Court in the Hague, or urge the Belgians to indict Tony Blair for this crime?

 

Shortly after her death, columnist Dennis Prager wrote to Corrie's native Washingtonian parents: "So, Olympia, grieve for Rachel Corrie's parents, but spare us the hagiography. Rachel Corrie died fighting for . . . a Palestinian group dedicated, in its own words, to "armed struggle" against Israel. She ended up being a useful idiot for, and one more victim of, Palestinian terror."   Nothing could sum things up better.


Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.


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