The continued exploitation of Rachel Corrie.

This coming week the verdict will be given in the civil law suit brought by the parents of ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie against the Israeli government. Already the Rachel Corrie Foundation (run by her parents and others) has scheduled a publicity event and is using the occasion to add leverage to its anti-Israel campaigning. 

“We ask our friends and allies to take the following actions as you are able:

1.  From Sunday, August 26th until Sunday, September 2nd, deliver a letter to TIAA-CREF offices, and remember Rachel  as you do. Combine this with a larger event, or designate a few people to deliver the letter.  Register your planned action here so we can post  it on our website.  Download a copy of our sample TIAA-CREF letter and we will e-mail you a poster of a Palestinian family impacted by demolitions using CAT equipment.  Our goal is to deliver letters to half of the 60 TIAA-CREF offices.  Can you help us exceed our goal?  With photos and videos from your actions we will launch a nationwide social media campaign with images that show the level of support for TIAA-CREF divestment.

2.  Print this image of Rachel.  Photograph yourself with it, and post it on our new Tumblr blogDeliver the photo to the nearest Israeli Consulate demanding accountability and an end to home demolitions. We will gather images worldwide and also send them to the U.S. Department of State.

3.  Take part in a live conference call with the Corrie family, Wednesday, August 29th, 6:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time/ 9:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. To participate in the call, RSVP to Host a house party or community gathering for those who want to join the call.

4.  Sign the petition in support of the campaign to pressure TIAA-CREF to divest.”

When Rachel Corrie was accidentally killed nine and a half years ago, public awareness of the nature of the organization (also known as the Palestine Solidarity Movement – PSM – in the US) which sent her and many others to endanger their lives in a war zone (and still does) was perhaps limited. The International Solidarity Movement had, after all, only been in existence for a short while at the time, having been founded in 2001 – several months after the second Intifada commenced.

In 2002 its members had made some headlines by trying to act as ‘human shields’ for terrorists holed up in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and for the Intifada’s instigator, organizer and financer Yasser Arafat in his muqata compound, but frankly, there was just too much going on at the time for much media attention to be paid to a group of foreigners deliberately placing themselves in the middle of a terror war. Hence, statements endorsing Palestinian terror by the ISM’s founders  – such as the one below – received limited attention in much of the mainstream media. 

“Let us reiterate, we accept that Palestinians have a right to resist with arms, as they are an occupied people upon whom force and violence is being used. The Geneva Conventions accept that armed resistance is legitimate for an occupied people, and there is no doubt that this right cannot be denied.

The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics – both nonviolent and violent. But most importantly it must develop a strategy involving both aspects. No other successful nonviolent movement was able to achieve what it did without a concurrent violent movement..” 

Over the years, however, the ISM’s name has kept cropping up in connection with various security-related issues, as part of the ‘Free Gaza’ campaign which organizes the flotillas aimed at breaching the naval blockade on Gaza and as one of the organisers of the recent ‘flytillas’ and the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ . Hence both its methods and its goals have become more visible.

The ISM’s aim – as expressed below by its co-founder and leader Adam Shapiro – is to transform the Arab-Israeli conflict into a battle against Israel by the rest of the world. 

“What we’ve been doing over the last ten years with the Internatio­nal Solidarity Movement, Free Gaza, and all the other outgrowth organizati­ons and movements and groups is to …work with Palestinia­n society to ramp up the resistance­. This is all part of a Palestinia­n movement for Palestine.­.. This is truly an internatio­nal movement … It’s only Palestine, this cause that has been going on for over 60 years, that generates this kind of activism, this kind of resistance­… Free Gaza is but one tactic of a larger strategy, to transform this conflict from one between Israel and the Palestinia­ns, or Israel and the Arab world…to one between the rest of the world and Israel…”

Some of the ISM’s volunteers are undoubtedly naïve young people who arrive in the Middle East with little understanding either of the conflict itself or the manner in which they are cynically exploited by the organisation’s extremist leaders. The ISM, however, is rarely – if ever – held to account by the families (or countries) of those injured or killed as a result of its having encouraged and facilitated their unnecessary entry into a conflict zone and their collaboration – knowingly or not – with proscribed terrorist organisations, even despite statements from ISM leaders such as this one concerning Rachel Corrie’s death:

“It’s possible they [the protesters] were not as disciplined as we would have liked,” Thom Saffold, a founder and organizer of the International Solidarity Movement, said in a telephone interview from the group’s base in Ann Arbor, Mich. “But we’re like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations, and some die.”

One can, of course, comprehend the perhaps subconscious defence mechanism which lies behind the need of some parents to make sense of their child’s unnecessary tragic death or injury by believing that it was for ‘a cause’ and the urge to blame parties other than the organization which put their loved one in such a position so as not to ‘betray’ their child’s ideals.  

But the inevitable and predictable utilization of the upcoming court verdict in order to leverage the continuing publicity and propaganda campaign in aid of a fringe cult, which collaborates with terrorist organisations to try to undermine a sovereign country and prevent a peaceful solution to a long and painful conflict, is somewhat more difficult to accept. It is, in fact, just as disturbing as the other, original, cynical exploitation of a young woman nearly a decade ago. 

Rachel Corrie’s parents being presented with a framed portrait of their
daughter by Yasser Arafat, at Arafat’s compound in Ramallah, Sept. 2003

Associated Press: Cindy and Craig Corrie, right, parents of late American peace activist Rachel Corrie display the Bethlehem 2000 medal awarded by the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah Thursday Sept. 25, 2003.

16 replies »

  1. Sorry, but neither the tale of Rachel Corrie’s life and death, nor her parents’ campaign to vilify and exact revenge on a truly humanitarian and democratic society while siding with an organization that put her in harm’s way on behalf of an undemocratic and murderous movement, tug at my heart strings.

  2. The disgusting way this foolish young girl’s memory has been exploited among the anti-Israeli crowd is beyond description. And out “friends” at the Guardian have not hesitated to jump on the bandwagon.

    TIAA-CREF is a huge financial organization that handles the retirement counts for many – possibly the vast majority – of schools and colleges.

    It will be interesting to see if there is any significant number of teachers etc. responding to the call for a letter to them.

    I rather doubt it.


    A Tribute to Rachel Corrie.
    Thanks for showing us what “peace” really means.
    March 16, 2004.

    Today is the first anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death. I want to thank Corrie for the explosives that flow freely from Egypt to Gaza, via the smuggling tunnels under the Gaza homes that she died defending.

    Perhaps it was these explosives that in the year since her martyrdom–oops, death–have been strapped around suicide bombers to blow up city buses and restaurants in Israeli cities, particularly in Jerusalem, killing men, women and schoolchildren (two of them classmates of my daughter and her friend in the February 22, 2004 bombing) and leaving hundreds more widows, orphans and bereaved parents.

    On the first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel Corrie for showing Palestinian children how to despise America as she snarled, burned an American flag, and led them in chanting slogans, and as she gave “evidence” at a Young Palestinian Parliament mock trial finding President Bush guilty of crimes against humanity.

    Perhaps her help in fanning the flames of violent anti-American sentiment led to the October 2003 bombing of the Fulbright delegation to Gaza to interview scholarship candidates, killing three. There will be no new crop of Palestinian Fulbright scholars this fall.

    On the first anniversary of her death, I wanted to thank Rachel Corrie for providing her organization, the Palestinian-sponsored International Solidarity Movement, with the opportunity to release a manipulated photo sequence “showing” an Israeli military bulldozer deliberately crushing her. (I would also like to thank the Associated Press and the Christian Science Monitor for taking up the baton and immortalizing this cynical ISM stunt.)

    On the first anniversary of her death, I want to thank Rachel Corrie for showing the way to all those who seek peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Corrie’s peace, as anyone familiar with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah organizations that she defended with her life knows–or as anyone familiar with the weekly rants of the Friday preachers in the Palestinian mosques is aware–means not peaceful coexistence but the elimination of the state of Israel, and death to those they call “the usurping Jews, the sons of apes and pigs.”

    Thank you, Rachel Corrie, of Evergreen State University, where the profs wear khakis and kaffiyehs at graduation ceremonies, for showing us what peace really means.

    • I can understand the parents . They have a need to hold on to whatever motivated their child . She could have been motivated by the work of The Weizmann Institute or Orde Wingate or just about anything while she was in Israel . Instead she found the ISM , an effective non military wing of every bandit terrorist outfit in the West Bank and Gaza .
      A sort of Sinn Fein to the IRA .
      So her parents cling on to her words , deeds and associations . Understandable at face value . In reality their daughters fate was sealed the moment she signed up for the ISM . They didn’t give a damn for the girl . She was nothing but a pawn in their war with Israel . A naive dupe whose life had more value to them as a martyr than an activist .
      If the Corries were true to the memory of their daughter they should be bringing a lawsuit against the ISM for culpable homicide .

    • Note Corrie’s parents with arch-terrorist and multiple murderer Arafat in picture above. Says all you need to know about them really.

      • Hi Adam, why delete my comment that pointed out that I will not mourn people who aid and abet those who wish to kill me? If I had written the same about a less controversial figure, e.g. a Hamas member who had been sent to kingdom come would you remove it? (Note: my post had no jokes in it, which presumably was the problem with other posters).

  4. That is a very powerful photograph of the middle class woman standing amongst a group of primary school children and burning the flag of the USA, like Iran! So much for peaceful demonstrations and keeping the kids safe.
    Incredible. What a delusional woman who bought into a false narrative, showed violent hate infront of small kids and then died a useless death.
    When this photo is published in the USA the final bit of sympathy that this woman and her family had will be gone. Good.

    • “When this photo is published in the USA the final bit of sympathy that this woman and her family had will be gone.”
      Unfortunately, not in the social/political circles they travel in, Daniel, although it will erode support amongst the fair-minded.

  5. On a side note about ISM.
    There is a great video on YouTube with Joseph Dana and one of the female founders of ISM Huwaida Arraf holding a ISM talk at a Philadelphia university .
    Towards the end of the third and final video, Dana says that the killings on the Marvi Marmara were the best thing that could have happened to the Palestinians. The logic being that when the IDF kills ‘activists’ the bad press is good for their cause. I can not put up a link here due to my very poor Internet connection right now. Sorry.
    Although it is Dana who says the words, Arraf sits next to him and says nothing.
    It is a rather frightening moment where we see and hear a US Israeli who lives in Ramallah and is intimately involved with the ISM and Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal and and and…..say what is really going on and how their/his logic works.
    I think it is very important to realize that what all these hactivist write in public is often toned down, see Dick Silverstein on tv. Yet when they feel safer, their twisted minds speak the truth. That is how I see Corrie, her actions and those of her parents etc years after her stupid death.
    What these people really are are the political salon dwellers who try and make terror justifiable. Greenwald is another such case.
    As a supposed peace activist who looks to non violence to reach her goal, the flag burning, hysterical face and the group of children betray her, and ISM and all others who play Ghandi but are actually receiving gifts from killers.

  6. This also brings to mind the way the Palestinans bury their dead as opposed to the way Israelis do.