Guardian

The Guardian’s Rachel Corrie obsession.


The Guardian’s coverage of the culmination of the civil law suit brought by the parents of Rachel Corrie, the verdict for which was handed down in Haifa on Tuesday August 28th, has become obsessive. 

On Sunday August 26th Harriet Sherwood wrote a long pre-emptive puff piece based on an interview with the Corrie family. Notably – despite the recent “bruising” Guardian scandal on the subject of conflicts of interest – Sherwood saw fit to promote the play ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’ in her article, but failed to mention that it was co-written by her Guardian colleague Katherine Viner.

 “The family released Rachel’s emails to the media. “It was the Guardian that picked them up very quickly, and it was huge, very significant. All kinds of things came from that.” Rachel’s powerful writing was adapted into an acclaimed stage play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, performed in at least 10 countries, including Israel.”

On Monday August 27th Sherwood was back with another one-sided article, opening with the following odd – and completely evidence-free – “etched in stone” declaration: 

“Her blonde hair, megaphone and orange fluorescent jacket with reflective stripes made 23-year-old Rachel Corrie easily identifiable as an international activist on the overcast spring afternoon in 2003 when she tried to stop an advancing Israeli military bulldozer.”

Tuesday August 28th found Sherwood in Haifa, reporting from the court, with one article published at 08:05 BST (less than an hour after the verdict was given) containing a mere six sentences on the verdict itself, and with the rest of the article devoted to the Corries’ point of view. 

At 11:31 BST, Sherwood published another article on the same subject which included videos of the Corrie family. 

At 12:43 BST the Guardian published a particularly malign piece by Chris McGreal  which included – among many others – the following bizarre claims. (Emphasis added)

“An Israeli judge on Tuesday perpetuated the fiction that Corrie’s death was a terrible accident..”

“…her death was not arbitrary but one of a pattern of killings as the Israeli army pursued a daily routine of attacks intended to terrorise the Palestinian population of southern Gaza into submission.”

“The case laid bare the state of the collective Israeli military mind, which cast the definition of enemies so widely that children walking down the street were legitimate targets..”

“With that went virtual impunity for Israeli troops no matter who they killed or in what circumstances – an impunity reinforced by Tuesday’s verdict in Haifa.”

[For more on the subject of the choice of term ‘impunity’, see here. ]

At 15:49 BST the Guardian had Glen Greenwald jump in with an article on “How the US and Israeli justice systems whitewash state crimes”. 

Harriet Sherwood was back at 20:49 BST with dark prophecies concerning a “dangerous precedent” and a “legal black hole” which she tried to shore up by means of quotes from the much discredited NGO Human Rights Watch and Shawan Jabarin of Al Haq – a man with alleged ties to the PFLP.  

At 22:10 BST the Guardian published an editorial on the subject and at 22:25 BST it published the cartoon below, which has since been discussed at The Commentator

Nick Hayes 29.08.2012

On Wednesday August 29th at 10:29 BST, a further article on the subject was published – written by Ami Kaufman of the far Left 972 magazine

In other words: eight articles, one editorial and a cartoon; all on the same subject, all in the space of less than 72 hours. And still counting. 

Particularly interesting is the editorial, because it represents not just the random views of a specific writer, but the Guardian’s editorial stance on the subject. From it, we learn much about the Guardian’s blind and unquestioned faith in the automatic guilt of Israel.

The editorial states: (Emphasis added)

“Perpetuating the myth that her death was a tragic accident, the judge did not deviate from the official line.”

A myth is “a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone”. By its very nature as a belief, it is not based on facts. So for the anonymous writer of this editorial, and by extension the Guardian editorial team as a whole, no matter what facts and evidence are presented, they are to be rejected because the possibility that Rachel Corrie’s death could be a tragic accident is something which in their view will never be proved or even accommodated. It is also, by insinuation, a possibility which should be scorned by the ‘enlightened’ – as myths usually are. 

The editorial goes on to point out disparagingly that “the investigators initially assigned were 19 years old”. Whether or not that is in fact the case I cannot say, but as anyone who knows anything about Israel is aware, yes – young people here take on extraordinary responsibilities at an early age during their army service (the investigators would have been part of the Military Police’s investigation unit). In a country in which 19 and 20 year-olds also pilot F16s, the suggestion that age is a reflection of ability or responsibility is both a ridiculous and tacky tactic. 

Had whoever wrote this editorial even bothered to read either the court’s decision (over 60 pages) or at least the English language summary before putting finger to keyboard?  Apparently not, because if they had, they could not – in honesty – have written the following:

“Rachel Corrie died trying to protect a Palestinian home from demolition.”

In fact, the court established otherwise. 

“The mission of the IDF force on the day of the incident was solely to clear the ground.  This clearing and leveling included leveling the ground and clearing it of brush in order to expose hiding places used by terrorists, who would sneak out from these areas and place explosive devices with the intent of harming IDF soldiers.  There was an urgency to carrying out this mission so that IDF look-outs could observe the area and locate terrorists thereby preventing explosive devices from being buried.  The mission did not include, in any way, the demolition of homes.  The action conducted by the IDF forces was done at real risk to the lives of the soldiers.  Less than one hour before the incident that is the focus of this lawsuit, a live hand-grenade was thrown at the IDF forces.”

A D9 bulldozer of the type Rachel Corrie chose to approach.

All the same, the employment of the ‘home demolition’ meme allows the writer to launch into a tirade of misinformed conjecture on the subjects of “collective punishment” and military law. From there, he or she moves on to the emotive subject of the deaths of Palestinian children during the second Intifada. 

Of course no mention is made whatsoever of the hundreds of Israeli children who died in that same terror war as a result of deliberate murder. Cynically, the editorial then goes on to state:

“In the last nine years, Cindy and Craig Corrie have been fighting for something that any parent who has lost their child has a right to – the truth.”

There is something deeply warped about the championing of “truth” by a newspaper which stubbornly refuses to accept the truth – even as proven in a court of law – about the accidental death of Rachel Corrie. Even more disturbing is the fact that the same newspaper is an active and willing partner in the habitual concealment of the truth about terrorist organisations responsible for the deaths of thousands of other children – both Israeli and Palestinian

The distorted Guardian view of the Rachel Corrie case – as officially set out in this editorial – is indicative of the Guardian’s entire approach to Israel. Its whitewashing of terrorism and its supporters and its selective championing of ‘human rights’ (with no concern whatsoever expressed for those – Muslim, Christian or Jew – whose rights are compromised by its favourite pet terrorist organization) is not ‘Left’, ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’, but discriminatory, reactionary and sinister. 

This latest bout of binge publishing is all too reminiscent of the Guardian’s behavior during the Mavi Marmara incident when anyone and everyone was wheeled out to write speculative, uninformed – but uniformly condemnatory – comment in ridiculously large amounts before the facts of the case were anywhere near clear. 

In that case too, the Guardian was subsequently unable to admit its mistakes because it had so heavily invested itself in one narrow preconceived version of “the truth”, with almost religious zeal. Then too, the Guardian went into obsessive-compulsive mode, focusing on the production of repetitive articles all bearing the shared hallmark of ritual condemnation of Israel. Then too, its blinding contempt for – and illogical animosity towards – the Jewish State was laid out for all to see. 

And yet again, in that case as in this, the Guardian’s uncontrollable obsession once more exposed it as a voluntary arm of anti-Israel activism rather than a credible, sober reporter of news and events. 

62 replies »

  1. Good review of the plethora of articles and even better insight into the heart of darkness that is the Guardian’s attitude to Israel.
    The Guardian is determined to change the truth if it quite stubbornly decides not to approximate to their requirements.

    • Sedar could never get a job for a paper as prestigious as the Guardian, so instead he lashes out at women journalists who are more successful than he is.

      • Sedar could easily get a job at the Guardian. just send an article with the headline starting ‘As a Jew/Israeli’ or ‘Why Israel is the biggest threat to everything ever’ secondly, while Harriet is undoubtedly a woman, ‘journalist’ may be pushing things too far.

        • To get a job at the Guardian, you need to be a professionnal journalist. Amateur bloggers do not meet the criteria.

    • When you kill an American citizen who was 23 years old, you have to face the consequences, even if you’re the Israeli army.

      • Are you really as deluded as you sound, Cipora Julia?

        I am not going to bandy words with someone who mindlessly repeats lies he/she/it has been told.

        All I will suggest is that you get help soon.

    • The trial of the Israeli soldier who drove the bulldozer which killed Rachel Corrie was covered by all the world’s media, not only the Guardian.

      The way in which the trial was conducted was described by journalists from all countries as a worrying illustration of the decline of the Israeli democracy.

  2. I know this blog is mostly about the Guardian but I wanted to draw people’s attention to this propaganda piece in Foreign Policy by Hussein Ibish: “Bulldozing the Special Relationship” http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/28/bulldozing_the_special_relationship

    The author is predictably pontificating about how this is a “whitewash”, hoping it will undermine the US-Israel relationship and dredging up the Mavi Marmara incident as well as long-discredited conspiracy theories about USS Liberty. If this is what passes for informed analysis in a professional foreign policy magazine, no wonder the Guardian feels it can regurgitate and embellish the same talking points to play to its reader contingent.

  3. This is actually quite simple. The Guardian along with most of the world will find any excuse to justify that it is allowable (at best) to kill Jews with IMPUNITY but there is never any reason for Jewish self defence. Hence why Jewish victims are ignored and idiots like Corrie are eulogised when she was no peace activist but someone protecting those whose avowed aims are to kill Jews.

    • I’m with you on this, Steve. What happened to those nice Jews, ya know, the ones who would cower when the pogroms came, and boarded the trains when they were ordered to do so? It’s an affront to the world to see Jews suddenly defend themselves, with force and spirit. What happened to our Jews? Wah, wah, wah!!!

  4. The success of ‘My name is Rachel Corrie’ is actually down to two facts
    1 Being bulldozed does attract attention
    2 a chance to bash Israel
    Otherwise no one would have given two hoots.
    As to the guardians obsession with the subject, maybe they, Jenny Tonge and that Swedish paper can get together a piece about how they bulldozed Corrie because they wanted her organs and needed her blood for Matzoh. You heard it here first!

    • The success of ‘My name is Rachel Corrie’ is actually down to two facts:

      1 Being killed while standing for human rights, against opression and to protest one of the world’s last colonial regimes attracts attention

      2 a powerful message that reminds all Jews in the world that we still need to fight to put an end to the violations of human rights and of Jewish values perpetrated by a handful of fanatic settlers and far right wing politicians who refuse to give up colonialism and let the Israeli people have peace

      • Rachel Corrie was anything BUT “standing for human rights”. She was a terrorist-enabler, belonged to a Palestinian-backed organization (ISM) that is dedicated to protectiong terrorists and enabling terrorism.

        Her death should be ruled “Suicide by IDF for publicity purposes”.

  5. It is strange how the Guardian never learns from its mistakes. If got mud on its face for the same obsessive coverage of the faked Al Durrah affair, the non-existent Jenin Massacre, the Mavi Marmara affair debunked by the UN Palmer commission, the Goldstone report that Goldstone repudiated, the Wikileaks affair that have done little but embarrass it.

    If they were capable of embarrassment.

    They do it like heroin addicts for the immediate high they get from bashing Israel, only to be followed by the long, miserable withdrawal after the latest “fix”.

    • The Guardian will never learn as long as the same editorial management is ‘in place’.

      When they ‘sit on the ‘throne’, they are obsessing about Israel. When they fall asleep at night, they are obsessing about Israel. When they have an orgasm, they are obsessing about Israel.

    • Goldstone repudiated the Goldstone Report ? When was that then ? Not making it up as you go along again are you ?

      • He repudiated the main striking point of the pro-Pals, that Israel deliberately targeted civilians during Cast Lead. The report’s acolytes, especially noted asshole Col. Travers, tried to spin away the importance of this central tenet being factually dismissed by the up-to-that-point-from-their-POV heroic fighter against Israel Goldstone, but the Report’s loss of traction afterwards was undeniable. Prof. Goldstone didn’t repudiate his entire report, and he didn’t need to in order to completely fuck up what fanatical anti-Israel forces wanted to get from it. Oh, and he didn’t nail down enough lies for the white phosphorus slander to get the momentum it would have needed, before the facts on that in IR were laid out and destroyed that argument as well. But if you want to say Goldstone was a triumph for your side, please please keep doing so.

        • The Goldstone report stands. Goldstone never repudiated it.

          No amount of hysterical Hasbara can hide the truth, pal.

        • Oops! Hit the “post comment” button too soon!

          A lawyer friend of mine, who is also a judge, said that even a half-way decent judge could drive a coach and horses through Goldstone’s report. My friend is not a Jew and is not partisan towards Israel.

          Not that it mattered whether Goldstone repudiated it – the “fact finding mission” was biased even before it began, making any report which was issued on its findings inherently flawed.

      • From the New York Times, 2 April, 2011:

        “The leader of a United Nations panel that investigated Israel’s invasion of Gaza two years ago has retracted the central and most explosive assertion of its report — that Israel intentionally killed Palestinian civilians there.

        “Richard Goldstone, an esteemed South African jurist who led the panel of experts that spent months examining the Gaza war, wrote in an opinion article in The Washington Post that Israeli investigations into the conflict ‘indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.’

        ”’If I had known then what I know now,” he wrote, “the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.'”

        For the full article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/world/middleeast/03goldstone.html

        For his original Washington Post op-ed, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-report-on-israel-and-war-crimes/2011/04/01/AFg111JC_story.html

        Yes, Rich A, Justice Goldstone repudiated the main accusation of his original report.

  6. That photo graph of the bulldozer with the two men standing by it should make it clear to the meanest intelligence why the driver of the bulldozer in the Corrie case could not have seen here. She would have had to be a giant to be visible over the blade of the bulldozer as the sat or crouched or even stood directly next to it.

    Of course, “the meanest intelligence” does not adequately describe the intelligence of many of those commenting at CiF.

    • Rachel Corrie was wearing a high visibility, orange fluorescent jacket, but the Israeli soldier who crushed her to death said he “could not see her”.

      Now we know why there were so many civilian casualties in Gaza: the Israeli army hires blind people.

  7. Great article! The phrase “ritual condemnation of Israel” sums it all up quite accurately, in my view.

  8. On Sunday August 26th Harriet Sherwood wrote a long pre-emptive puff piece based on an interview with the Corrie family. Notably – despite the recent “bruising” Guardian scandal on the subject of conflicts of interest – Sherwood saw fit to promote the play ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’ in her article, but failed to mention that it was co-written by her Guardian colleague Katherine Viner.

    “The family released Rachel’s emails to the media. “It was the Guardian that picked them up very quickly, and it was huge, very significant. All kinds of things came from that.” Rachel’s powerful writing was adapted into an acclaimed stage play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, performed in at least 10 countries, including Israel.”

    So Sherwood didn’t disclose her own interest (financial and otherwise) ? Surely not! Isn’t there some kind of Guardian guide on this. You’ve got to laugh at that bunch of po faced hypocrites, no?!

  9. when the Guardian runs a week long series of articles on the victims of Palestinian suicide bombings (they can have the choice who they want to feature….the Sbarro kids …some still bleeding from the rat poison dipped nails ), the buses, the cafes, the ice cream parlors) and feature their life stories, their parents who weep because their child just went to school that day or went out dancing instead of inserting one’s self into a foreign war zone…. I will stop calling the Guardian a Neo Nazi Islamist hate rag !!! .

    May Rachel Corrie burn in pancake hell !!
    Her parents are the biggest dhimmi fools Arab money can buy. Instead of asking why their child was sent in front of an army bulldozer they want a whole country punished for the loss of their daughter. There are hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan families who want the same answer from the USA….who’s state dept is supporting this blood libel in their long standing Arabist antisemitic tradition.

    • Armaros, may you please explain how the fact that some Palestinian militants blew themselves gives the Israeli army the right to kill innocent, harmless civilians?

      • No, no, no Cipora Julia

        You need to explain first why Palestinians committed suicide murder on a mass scale

        • “You need to explain first why Palestinians committed suicide murder on a mass scale”

          Can you please give us EVIDENCE?

      • Armaros, when was the last time there was a suicide bombing in Israel?

        And when was the last time the Israeli army bombed Gaza and caused civilian casualties?

        • Actually, Cipora Julia, you’ve put your hoof in it again:

          There have been, thankfully, very few suicide bombings, although quite a few thwarted attempts, and can you guess why?

          The educated and intelligent conclusion is that they reduced dramatically after the construction of the security barrier which you and similarly challenged useful idiots whinge about.

          There is also a school of thought which argued that they had run out of volunteers.

      • I note that you are avoiding my question, Cipora Julia

        Why is that?

        Can’t you answer or at least offer a point of view as to why the Palestinian governments saw fit to encourage their young and challenged to commit suicide murder?

        Please don’t say that they were driven to it. Only frankly crazy people are prepared to sacrifice their children

        • “why the Palestinian governments saw fit to encourage their young and challenged to commit suicide murder?”

          Can you please provide us with EVIDENCE that the Palestinian Authority encouraged them?

          Please, document your assertion using credible sources – not some far right wing, racist website.

          • When a government pays the family of a suicide bomber $10,000 as if it were a life insurance payment for a “martyr”, I’d call that encouragement, wouldn’t you?
            FYI – $10,000 is over 2 years average income for the average Palestinian worker.
            This has been documented by a multitude of newspapers, although not by “The Guardian” (nor it’s clone, “The Independent”).

  10. The Corrie frenzy in the Graun is probably linked to what’s going on in Syria.

    Even Guardianistas (save morons like Charlie Skelton) are aware that one of the supposed paragons of the anti-Zionist ‘resistance’ is butchering his own people with Iran’s support, so the Farringdon mob need a ‘story’ to act as a distraction. This is it.

    • “The CiF team are actually becoming creepy”

      What do you mean by ‘creepy’?
      In what way are the team ‘becoming creepy’?

      • I assume their excessive paranoia and rush to have ten thousand articles criticizing Israel. Cif is loosing its mind.

        • Matzoh Maker the reason for my question is that it could be used in at least two senses. Creepy as you mention making your flesh creep or sinister. Creepy as in creeping acting obsequiously, abjectly.
          I also agree with cityca below, ‘becoming’ ? They have made my flesh creep for a long time.

        • I know it will come as a shock to you but when an innocent 23-year old American girl is killed by an Israeli soldier, the world does care. And when this soldier enjoys total impunity, the world is shocked.

          In Western democracies, we value civilians’ lives.

          • If “western democracies” were so concerned about civilians’ lives, how is it that these same “western democracies” killed so many civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Bosnia and half-a-dozen other places around the world.
            Hypocrisy becomes no one…

  11. The most ludicrous and Guardian aspect of the farce is that they all resolutely battled on, writing valiantly, babbling about the evil Israel and its history, ignoring the facts of the case which included the proof that the driver could not see Rachel.

    Any future trial will end similarly. I wonder whose money the Corries and the ISM are spending now.

    http://daledamos.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/brief-outline-of-key-findings-of.html

    “Based on evidence that includes the testimony of the expert for the prosecution, Mr. Osben, the field of vision of the bulldozer’s operator was limited and the decedent was in the “blind spot” ”

    • sheket v shalva, I believe that the ISM is bankrolling the Corries and making use of their grief for propaganda purposes. It would tie in with their willingness to put their members in danger and the statement of their leaders. For such sick people, if it bleeds it leads.

  12. The McGreal piece was bad enough – and that cartoon – but the editorial was really awful as it seemed to imply that this was a deliberate murder and no other explanation is possible. I asked a blogger who could certainly be described as pro-Palestinian whether it might have been an accident, and he readily agreed that it might have been – this highlighted, for me, how biased the Guardian was.

  13. One last point here: Winston Churchill had a word for someone who dealt with certain issues the way CiF deals with Israel: “Someone who won’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” I believe that word is “fanatic.” So…yeah.

  14. Now that the Rachel Corrie verdict is in, will anyone remember the forgotten Rachels?

    Will the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or any other body be brought to court for their murders?

    These are some of the “forgotten Rachels”—women murdered by the very people Rachel Corrie enabled.

    Rachel Levy (aged 17, blown up in a grocery store)

    Rachel Levi (19, shot while waiting for the bus)

    Rachel Gavish (killed with her husband, son and father while at home celebrating a Passover meal)

    Rachel Charhi (blown up while sitting in a Tel Aviv cafe, leaving three young children)

    Rachel Shabo (murdered with her three sons aged 5, 13 and 16 while at home)

    Rachel Ben Abu (16, blown up outside the entrance of a Netanya shopping mall)

    Rachel Kol, 53, who worked at a Jerusalem hospital and was killed with her husband in a Palestinian terrorist attack in July a few days after the London bombs.

    These seven Rachels aren’t part of the “Corrie Equation”, proving that the Corrie Family and the ISM have no interest in justice, only in their agenda to demonize and slander Israel.

    What about their going to court in Syria in the case of Marie Colvin as they did for the Corrie family? She was neither a Rachel, Jewish nor Israeli—She was a British journalist doing her job, murdered by the Syrian army. If anything, HER family deserves justice far more than the Corries.

  15. It’s beyond obvious that the usual group of (antiSemitic) suspects keeps trying to club Israel with the pseudo-concern for 1 very naive American radical, used for their own purposes by the Palestinian terrorists by getting her to confront Israeli soldiers and construction vehicles, cynically knowing exactly what the result would be and wanting badly for that death to occur–they’re her real murderers.
    In astounding contrast however, the Guardian shows little to no concern about THOUSANDS who have been murdered including recently, in the various Islamofascist theocracies which otherwise characterize the Mideast.

  16. The Corries clearly brought charges against the wrong party. Leaders of the ISM in general and those at the site of the incident appear to be culpable in her death. Surely the editors of the Guardian, a newspaper which reports news of criminal and civil breaches of the law.

    Corrie’s colleagues gave affidavits and told Newsweek’s Joshua Hammer in a 2003 Mother Jones article that two of them, Jennie and Will, also found themselves under the 50-ton behemoth and were pulled out at the last second.

    If this is true it would appear that Corrie assumed and reasonably expected to also be pulled out at the last second. Even a neophyte prosecutor/district attorney would come to the conclusion that a criminal case for premeditated homicide or manslaughter should be brought against the International Solidarity Movement in general, and specifically against those present and in charge of managing their actions at the Gaza site.

    Rachel Corrie’s parents should also consider bringing civil suits against the International Solidarity Movement for recklessly and negligently endangering the safety of their daughter and other activists by engaging in civil disobedience and dangerous direct action in a war zone. A solid case can be made that somebody who “trains” people to play chicken with bulldozers is civilly if not criminally liable if a fatality or injury occurs.