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Why Rachel Corrie Went to Gaza

What the pro-Palestinian activist—whose death was just ruled an accident—shared with Lawrence of Arabia

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A friend holds holds up 23-year-old Rachel Corrie’s passport, after hearing news of Corrie’s death at the Najjar Hospital March 16, 2003, in the Gaza Strip’s Rafah refugee camp. (Getty Images)

Last week an Israeli court dismissed the civil lawsuit brought by Rachel Corrie’s parents, ruling that the March 2003 death of their daughter was accidental and that the state of Israel bears no responsibility for her death. Working as an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, the then-23-year-old college student from Washington state was killed when she stood in the path of an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer to protest against Palestinian home demolitions. “She did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done,” said Israeli Judge Oded Gershon. “She consciously put herself in danger.”

The one question that has yet to be answered is: Why did she put herself in danger? What, exactly, was Rachel Corrie doing in Gaza?

Judging from Corrie’s letters, it is clear that she desired to help the persecuted. “Many people want their voices to be heard,” she wrote to her friends and family in February 2003 about the Palestinians she was meeting in Rafah, “and I think we need to use some of our privilege as internationals to get those voices heard.” But if Corrie sought to help the downtrodden, she might have gone to many different parts of the world; communities even here in the United States would have benefited from her talents and energies. Instead, she went to the Middle East.

In many precincts of the American and European left, it is a piece of conventional wisdom that the Arab-Israel conflict is one of the central moral dilemmas of the age. Even the bloody, intra-Arab strife coursing throughout the region hasn’t derailed the notion that the conflict in the Holy Land is the most significant conflict in the Mideast: It remains useful as a reflecting pool for a well-known variety of Western narcissism. From this perspective, solving the Palestine question is an important step in righting the sins of the West.

Groups like the International Solidarity Movement, then, act as a sort of tour agency for a particular kind of Western adventurer, searching for a level of raw political engagement and ideological commitment that simply doesn’t exist in the United States. The obvious advantage that Israel offers is that, compared to the rest of the Middle East, it is relatively safe. Corrie herself implicitly acknowledged this fact when she walked into the middle of a war zone to mount a protest. No sensible person could similarly assume the mercies of, say, the Syrian regime were he to walk into the middle of that war zone to complain of government atrocities.

Nonetheless, Corrie had indeed put herself in harm’s way—a wager that culminated with her losing her life.

One way to understand Corrie’s story is as part of a longstanding tradition of adventurous, generous, and sometimes vain Western travelers to the Middle East. Among these crusading spirits, the most famous example is perhaps T.E. Lawrence, who saw in the band of Arab tribesmen and former Ottoman officers he led against the Turks an opportunity to serve the underdog and tie himself to a larger cause. Along the way it appears that Lawrence, embracing local customs and dress, recognized that the Arab Revolt also offered him a staging ground for a kind of charismatic search for the authentic self that had the flavor of salvation.

Given the significance of religion in a part of the world that produced three major faiths, it is hardly surprising that the region would seem to offer itself as a place where communal political activism is a form of spiritual vocation. What this type of Western traveler seeks by going to the Middle East is a politics of personal transcendence—to become someone that they couldn’t in their staid, well-ordered societies.

Consequently, it seems that these new selves must also come to stand in opposition to their cultures of origin. For instance, Lawrence faulted Britain (his homeland) and France when he came to believe that the Sykes-Picot Agreement dividing the region between the Great Powers had cheated the Arabs of their due. Now many who have followed in his footsteps offer themselves as living critiques of the Western societies they come from.

These critics are not entirely wrong in identifying a malaise in a culture much too comfortable with consumerism and reality TV. Indeed, if you are only looking at surface phenomena, nothing could be more of a contrast to the virtually conflict-free political system of the United States than Arab politics—and perhaps this is what Corrie was drawn to. But this is to be misled by appearances. The unhappy fact is that by standing in the path of an IDF bulldozer tasked to demolish structures that were being used to smuggle weapons to Gaza-based militants or conceal Palestinian fighters shooting at Israeli troops, Rachel Corrie was helping not the wretched of the earth but well-armed terrorists.

Unfortunately, this is not an atypical trajectory for those who’ve followed the sort of political path that Lawrence pioneered. From Taliban member John Walker Lindh to al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn, a number of young Americans have crossed lines to side with U.S. enemies, or, in Corrie’s case, the enemies of American allies. Then there is a much larger contingent of middle-class, educated Westerners—academics, journalists, and politicians—that does not actively participate in anti-Western causes but still lends its sympathy to them and their representatives.

I’ve written before about why so many Western intellectuals and journalists are attracted to the region’s hardest and bloodiest men—why the peace activists, NGO workers, and U.N. employees fill the bars of Beirut and Jerusalem where they advocate the positions of Hezbollah and Hamas over beer. It’s not enough, or even entirely accurate, to say that they’re anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic, since their positions also put them at odds with those segments of Arab societies that seek to embrace Western political norms.

Their complaint is precisely with their own liberal societies, which, from a safe distance, look dull and meaningless in comparison to the raw power politics of the region. These Westerners are bored of the mediocrity that Western societies breed. The Middle East, by contrast, is a place where winner takes all, enemies are vanquished, and people fight and die for their beliefs. Hassan Nasrallah fought the Israelis and lives to taunt them. Khaled Meshaal survived an assassination attempt. These men pay no attention to lobbies and competing constituencies but legislate by utterance, blood, and fire.

From Nietzsche through Foucault, a significant thread of Western philosophy has laid out its complaint with liberal democracy and the slave morality it fostered by granting the bourgeois the same political privileges as artists and intellectuals, the aristocrats of spirit. What these philosophers wrote about is not some footnote of intellectual history: It’s a subject that touches every individual to the core. What are the causes you are willing to sacrifice everything for? What would you die for? What would you kill for?

Some of the West’s livelier spirits—from Nietzsche and Lawrence, to Foucault and perhaps Rachel Corrie—thought that these questions no longer mattered to those in the West and that they had to search elsewhere to answer them. The truth is that they remain our questions, too.

The difference is that Western societies long ago struck a clear divide between the political and spiritual realm—a struggle that many killed and died for—so that the individual, rather than the community, would be empowered with the right to answer these existential questions as he or she chose. The necessary tragedy of liberal democracy is that some of our own, born free to choose their lives as they will, do not answer it well.


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paul delano says:

Rachel’s parents filed a suit in Israeli court against the Israeli
Defense Forces for being responsible for their daughter’s death. Now, let’s think a moment about this picture. Is there any other country in the Middle East, or in the world for that matter, where your daughter can stand in a war zone and have no expectation that harm will come to her? The ISM has sent no one to Syria to protect its citizens from the murderous Bashar Assad. The ISM has sent no one to Egypt to protect Christians and secularists from the murderous zealotry of the Muslim Brotherhood. The ISM does not stand in the streets of Saudi Arabia and campaign for an end to gender apartheid. The ISM is not standing in the
streets of Tehran demonstrating against Iran’s nuclear program.

Only in Israel does the ISM believe it has a right to enter a war zone and interfere with a country’s military operations. And only in Israel does it somehow have a right to go into court and sue the state for conduct that would earn it a bullet in most Middle East countries.

I doubt if the Corries ever thought they had a case. The trial and
the verdict were merely a means for the Corries to do what they do best —to mobilize the Israel-bashing left and its sycophants in the press to further attack the Jewish state. If an Israeli court ruled against the IDF, which it indeed has done in some cases, then that would have been a further testimony to the beatification of Rachel Corrie. And if, as predicted, the court ruled against the Corries, that would have provided a means to further push Saint Rachel into the headlines and for such rags as the Guardian to spill their anti-Semitic bile. Indeed, the Guardian condemned the verdict, calling it a further whitewash of the tragedy, as if destroying a house that stores weapons and munitions
for killing civilians is the moral equivalent of using those weapons and munitions to blow up a pizza parlor.

It would seem to me that if you go out in a combat zone and stand in front of a bulldozer, especially one with its blade raised, maybe you’reresponsible for your own stupidity and the harm that comes to you. And, perhaps, the militant and activist parents who encouraged you to be there are also responsible.

What are the Corries due? They’re due the same concern and
compassion they have shown to the victims of the suicide bombers their daughter was enabling. To date, that has been nothing, not so much as an iota of regret, compassion, or condolence. And of the dozen or so Jewish Rachels that have been killed by suicide bombers, the leftist media has not found one worthy of the adulation that it has conferred on the naïve girl who stood in front of a bulldozer to enable mass murderers to carry out their operations.

If the Corries want to comprehend who really is responsible for their daughter’s death, they should start by first looking in the mirror and then convincing their nieces not to follow in Rachel’s footsteps. Of course, we know that would be terribly unlike the Corries, for it would deny them the veneration they have discovered for themselves and which they so desperately need to give some meaning to the death of a daughter who sought to enable mass murderers.

julis123 says:

If we were to believe the ISM narrative we should also see them in Gaza throwing themselves onto missile launchers to prevent the terrorists from shooting at Israeli towns and villages. Has anyone heard of this happening?

    surfer_dad says:

    Of course not!
    Even the fact that more PALs were killed in the conflict in Syria in the last year than in ALL of the WB, Gaza and Israel in the last 5 years is met by silence.

    I think the author gives a very good explanation for the reason – VERY good. The “useful idiots” from the West offer nothing but PR opportunities even if Rachel Corrie’s parents tried desperately to gain some meaning for her death in a court of law.

      The author either lied outright about Rachel Corrie, or he has tunnel vision and is only capable of seeing the Israeli Jewish point of view.

You guys are looking at a 2003 situation through a 2012 lens. In 2003, there weren’t smuggling tunnels because there was no blockade, and there was no blockade because Hamas had not yet won the 2006 elections, nor had it kidnapped Gilad and sparked the 2008 war. In 2003, Gaza was still occupied by Israel, who didn’t leave until 2005. I think Rachel was brainwashed into truly believing she was helping out some poor family who was having their house torn down by the mean old occupiers.

    greywolf852 says:

    That would hold water if Rachel Corrie had really been trying to prevent the demolition of a house that people lived in.
    On the day in question, the mission of the bulldozer & driver was to level broken ground that had been used often as cover by Palestinian snipers, not some house.
    THAT is the 2003 lens, Mr. Stein. There was no “poor family who was having their house torn down by the mean old occupiers” and Rachel Corrie knew it.
    The entire story of “defending a Palestinian home from destuction is an ISM fiction.

    Actually there were smuggling tunnels in 2003. Far fewer, but they were there & used mostly for smuggling weapons. The tunnels have existed at least since the outbreak of the Olso Accords War in September 2000 & maybe before that as well.

    Indeed by monitoring the price of guns & ammunition in the markets of Gaza, it was possible to generate an estimate of how many undetected tunnels were operating at any given time.

    The IDF actually formed a special tunnel demolition unit in the combat engineers corps not long after the outbreak of the OAW whose job it was to find and destroy the tunnels .When the destruction of Gush Katif was announced, and with it the withdrawal from Gaza, one of the (many) points of controversy was whether or not to retain an IDF presence in the Philadelphi corridor along the Gaza – Sinai border for anti-tunnel work. In the end Sharon decided against it and as a result the number of tunnels grew astronomically to the thousand or so there are today. There are many wealthy Gazans (I know this phrase is heretical) who have made their money directly or indirectly from the tunnels industry.

    J’lem / Efrata

    Um, there were tunnels in 2003 and your claim that the Palestinians could just waltz through the border with Egypt into Gaza with military equipment fails a reality check.

evasmagacz says:

So now this courageous girl, who chose not to be an armchair warrior, but try to save real people’s homes is not only stupid, but vain, according to the author?

I guess if she was American trying to stop destruction of Orangutan or Tiger Forests from destruction, she would be a hero.

But she stood on the side of foreign brown people and the racism that drips from this article is soo telling.

    greywolf852 says:

    She could have been a hero if she had not protected murderers.

    Since you seem to be so color coordinated, you might be surprised to know that many Israelis are dark skinned such as those from Ethiopia or the Mizrachi / Sephardim who came as refugees from the Arab countries. Ditto for the Jews of India. My son-in-law is of Moroccan-Jewish extraction and his skin is darker than mine.

    The Palestinian terrorism be it from Gaza or the P.A. controlled territories in Judea & Samaria made no skin-color distinction of its victims. They celebrated just as much in killing dark skinned Ethiopian Jews as they did light-skinned Jews. But hey, why let some inconvenient facts destroy a good narrative, especially one that is politically correct and certifiably progressobabbelian. Besides, everyone just KNOWS that that is what Jews are for… Hasn’t always been like that?


    Moron….The PALESTINIANS are the SAME colour as the 1 Million Arab Jews expelled from Islamic lands….You’re an anti Semite…Pure as day..

    Scott Tennis says:

    ISM depends on idiots like you to fill their ranks.

      Scott, settle down settle down. You’re beginning to sound like Rumplestiltskin, Do you, like Dick and Liz, see a terrorist around every corner and under every bed? I know, I know – we are all idiots and the hasbara and their white house friends who carried us to Iraq and are driving us to Iran are the clear thinkers knowing what is best for the rest of us. Settle down, settle down.

    dansblog says:

    Actually, if Corrie had gone off to try to “stop the destruction of Orangutan or Tiger Forests”, she would equally have demonstrated herself to be a vain, self-important romantic more interested in her own self-image as a noble defender of the underdog than in actually giving of herself to help her fellow human beings. I suggest a viewing of “Grizzly Man” as an introduction to the solipsistic mindset of the self-styled heroic defender of wild animals or Palestinians (the latter victim groups evidently equivalent in *your* worldview–and probably Rachel Corrie’s, as well–but certainly not in mine).

    So the polish mondoweiss gal chips in. What about Jedwebne and Kielce

      Pam Green says:

      MONDOWEISS COMPARES RACHEL CORRIE TO ANNE FRANK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Beatrix17 says:

    Israelis and Palestinains are the same people—Semites. The ignorance that drips from your post is embarrassing.

    Beatrix17 says:

    Israelis and Palestinains are the same people—Semites. The ignorance that drips from your post is embarrassing.

greywolf852 says:

Now that the Rachel Corrie verdict is in, will anyone remember the forgotten

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

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

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 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.

    Umish Katani says:

    this is a repeat entry say something new

      Beatrix17 says:

      It deserves to be repeated.

        The people you mentioned were all complicit in a decades long campaign of ethnic cleansing, land theft, and brutal occupation which continues today with the support of their landsmen both in Israel and abroad. They had no earthly right to be where they were. Ms. Corrie, on the other hand, was a U.S. citizen with every right in the world to be where she was when she was struck down by agents of the murderous Zionist regime who were, gallingly enough, operating bulldozers purchased with tax funds extorted from the already fleeced American taxpayer. After all, when you steal, kill, and oppress an entire people, it is reasonable to expect bullets and bombs, and not candy and kisses, in response.

        Most Americans have heard little or nothing about the Corrie murder, thanks to the tireless work of the powerful pro-Israel lobby in suppressing and minimizing the broadcast or serious discussion of any and all information deemed politically harmful to Israel. I’m sure if more Americans were aware of the fact that their coffers were being continually looted by a murderous, parasitic gangster state that murders U.S. citizens with impunity, they might just get angry enough to force their despicable elected officials, chronically bribed and threatened by pro-Israel Jewish lobbies, to immediately cut off the funding and diplomatic support that has enabled them to terrorize the Palestinians and anyone else who gets in the way of their chauvinistic project of establishing “Eretz Yisrael” on the blighted corpses of Arab civilians and the American military personnel being recruited to destroy their enemies.
        So it would seem that “Israel” does not require much in the way demonization, as it is already quite full of demons, most of them with Brooklyn accents and box-loads of looted American taxpayer cash.

          judahdan says:

          How did you get so brainwashed?

          judahdan says:

          How did you get so brainwashed?

          So they got what was coming to them right, your really are a scumbag

          Beatrix17 says:

          Anyone in America and
          Israel was free to read about Corrie. Most, except for Jews and the
          lefties, weren’t interested.

          You say that Jews have no
          right to be in a land they’ve inhabited for 4,000 years, and Rachel,
          an American, had a right to be there?

          Some Jews never left the
          Mideast, and some left after the Roman conquest only to have their
          descendent’s return after the Holocaust. After 64 years most Jews in
          Israel are 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th
          generation Israelis. Your Arab propaganda against Jews returning
          isn’t going to work in America because every single one of us,
          including the Indians, originally came from somewhere else and
          together we’ve made the strongest, most powerful, most admirable
          nation on earth.

          Most Arabs may not have
          left the Mideast, but all they’ve accomplished is non-stop propaganda
          against Israel. In America, we’d say, “get a job.”

          Paula Bojsen says:

          Not to mention all the Jews the Arab Muslims threw out of countries they have inhabited since the first diaspora, i.e. LONG before mohammed was born. There are at least 50% Mizrachi Jews in Israel, They were not compensated for their lands, jobs, businesses, property, or anything when they were forced out by murdering hordes of Arab Muslims. What about them? Giving the impression that Jews only come from Europe is just silly.

          Pam Green says:

          Thank you for mentioning this. I don’t think many Americans realize that there were Jews who had never left the Middle East, let alone that they were murdered or exiled from their homes in vast numbers, losing everything to hate-filled Arab Muslims. This doesn’t get said nearly enough.

          Pam Green says:

          Another point of your vicious argument that should be refuted here is your claim that America’s “coffers are being continually looted”. The aid that America gives Israel is well repaid in the form of technology, innovation and intelligence.

          Much of our cutting edge military equipment was invented in Israel, for instance our drones, which were developed in Israel beginning in the 1980s. From our sales of drone aircraft alone, we have not merely recouped our aid budget but turned a handsome profit. Israeli computer technology too is exchanged with the U.S. In fact, Israel has limited its customer base for sensitive systems in order to give America an international advantage. And what about all the ground-war training Israel provided us in Iraq? Israel’s experience of fighting terrorists in close quarters was life-saving to American troops! Israel also provided highly trained bomb-sniffing dogs to our troops, each one of which was valued at a bare minimum of $250,000 on the open market.

          These are just a few examples. And now, because of Obama’s treachery toward Israel, many of the secrets Israel shared with America are being taught to Israel’s enemies! How’s that for gratitude?

          So go back to your terrorist cells and tell your Islamofascist propagandist pals that you can retire that argument. Israel has never looted America. And it hasn’t had to bribe officials either. America has always supported Israel because it’s in our self-interest to do so. And America has gotten the better end of the deal all along.

          obama’s treachery? You are hysterically funny.

          Frank, you and Rachel Corrie are both complicit in ethnic cleansing. Go back to whatever hole your family crawled out of in Europe. Return your stolen home, to whichever Native American nation you took it from.

    Forty Twice says:

    While remembering all the Rachel’s, let’s remember these:

    For like Rachel Corrie, their own government prefers not to remember them. Not expecting the Israeli government to give them justice, but they have been betrayed by their own government. Now why should that be? Does a foreign country or group have undue influence over the US government? Should a US citizen be happy with that?

And as long as we are on the topic, for a good dissection of progressobabbelian hypocrisy, see this column in today’s WSJ:


This is the most biased and ignorant article I have read in quite some time. Yes, the reason Corrie went to Palestine was because Keeping up with the Kardashians was getting just too dull…so she decided to go help ‘well-armed terrorists’. Nothing to do with trying to support the cause of and protect those people banished from their homes without protection. Well, hasn’t she let society down.

    Beatrix17 says:

    The home belonged to a suicide bomber. I no longer remember how many people he killed. Dear Little Rachel found Palestinian homes more important than Israeli lives. Far from being unprotected, the occupants went to Social Services and were awarded with food, clothing shelter, and anything else they needed for as long as they wished. They probably stepped over Rachel’s body as they walked into town. She didn’t let anyone down—she was just too dumb to live. I’m old enough to see that it’s not the good who die young, but it’s often the dumb who do.

In 2003, 2004 2005 and 2012, the U.S. State Department stated its dissatisfaction with the Israeli investigation into Rachel’s death. Why? It was not thorough, transparent nor credible, as the U.S. government was promised and as Dov Weisglas, as overseer of that investigation, should have accomplished but failed.
Mr. Smith, you weave a picture of a tragic figure produced by liberal democracy. Odd you failed to include the words of that figure in your article – the words that explain why she went to Rafah. I urge you to pick up a copy of Let Me Stand Alone, Rachel’s writings, so that you would not have to conjecture.
After 9-11, Rachel turned her thinking, as many Americans did, on the “why”. Unfortunately, George Bush, Dick and Liz Cheney, Feith, Perle, Frum, etc…took us to their change the world, Project for a New American Century war based on what cherry-picked intelligence they could hammer together out of an ardent, strident Zionist Feith office. They took us to the wrong part of the Mideast. It was Rachel that came to understand, as more and more of us are, that there is something very smelly that comes out of this area and America’s connection with it. That smelliness leads all the way to the top levels of our government and people like Feith, Perle, Wolfowitz, Cheney, the Republicans and the Democrats.
Why did Rachel go to Rafah: to see where our American tax dollars were going and what they were achieving. She stopped in front of a home with five children living in it and no terrorists as this family later toured the U.S. having been cleared by both Israeli and American security. The questions you need to be asking yourself is why Israel could not accomplish a credible investigation and why the IDF was working off of the Philadelphi Route when they had, per Oslo, agreed to staying on the route.
It was not Rachel who was in the wrong place. She was standing, per Oslo, in Palestinian territory.
As Rachel herself wrote, we need to all “come, come, come, come, come” and we need to ask our representatives to go to the Occupied Territories to report to us truthfully (led by others than AIPAC and AiPAC type organizations) what is going on there. In fact, perhaps they should go on a tour led by Cindy and Craig Corrie to get a different side of the story. You come also Mr. Smith. Then you wouldn’t have to dream up Rachel’s motivation. Suggesting untrue realities is falling out of favor with those of us who detest that strategy for taking us to war in Iraq. It certainly does not work in your article on Rachel.
Finally, the Nasrallah family, the family in the home Rachel stood before, was to be protected by Oslo agreements. Please refrain from twisting them to become enemies of the U.S just because Israel wanted to move every Palestinian off of land
that Israel wanted.

    Scott Tennis says:

    I doubt she was capable of any informed ‘thinking.’ Many people who knew her in college said she was a typical Leftist idiot.

Saint_Etienne says:

vain Western travelers? Did you mean vane perhaps?

Umish Katani says:

Who cares why she went, who cares how she went, who cares where she went, she is dead, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong side of the tractor fighting an army when she was not a soldier nor prepared to accept death. If you live by the sword you die likewise…… She was in the middle of a war of attrition supporting enemies of the country. SO to her parnents, you should have taought here better but sorry you lost a kid… but you know what she is only one from the hundreds of other innocent kids who have died and most at the hands of the palestionian terrorists and bombings, shellings and hijackings… Sorry for her……nope..

    ronchris says:

    No doubt she thought of herself as a member of a modern-day, pacifist (!) Lincoln Brigade. (being from Spain, the utopian leftist outsider doesn’t sit well with me)

    She would never ask you or anyone to be sorry for her. I’m sure she feels sorry for all of you who are posting on here that are full of hate and bigotry. You are a sad example of a human being.

What a load of crap this article is! So now all Israelis are saints and Palestinians are all terrorists? Why Tablet would publish something so reductionist is beyond comprehension!

As I am usually to the left of Mr. Smith, I guess I am a little surprised about how I feel about this article.
Mr. Smith is being very kind to Rachel Corrie in comparing her to TE Lawrence. The comparison, however, does little justice to Col. Lawrence:

– If Lawrence got killed in action, I doubt his family would have gotten to sue the Turks.
– Lawrence, despite the Bedouin garb and eccentric manner, was a British officer to the end.
– Lawrence saw justice in the Zionist cause.
– Lawrence had little choice to go to war. (He could have stayed in that map room in Cairo, I guess.)

Corrie, by contrast, went to a war zone by her own volition, battling an ally of her country. She is no TE Lawrence.

gwhepner says:


The pursuit of politics of personal transcendence,

as in the case of Rachel Corrie,

rewards practitioners with a revolutionary resplendence,

without the need for words like “Sorry!”

Yes, there is a need for an International Solidarity Movement to be in Syria and Egypt, and also Tibet, Congo, and many other places but also mention of Israel’s occupation at the time of her death. Rachel was not trying to stop a destruction of a house in NYC but in land that was under military rule.

Mary Madigan says:

T.E. Lawrence joined with Winston Churchill in protesting British plans to give control of Mecca and Medina to the Saudi/Wahhabis. In that way, and probably in most others, he was not similar to Rachel Corrie, who actively supported the most extreme and violent groups in the Middle East.

In any case, the majority of people run from danger and small minority run towards it. Firemen, soldiers, police, journalists, radicals, make up this small group. Sometimes their intentions are good, sometimes they’re not, depending on your point of view.

This is a facile, superficial and reflexive non-think piece which ignores the very real fact that the left today has become obsessively anti-Zionist to the point that people like Corrie can see no evil among the Arabs and no good in Israel. This blind hatred is toxic, and damaging mostly to Israelis. Arabs are too smart to get in the way of a bulldozer and a hard place. They send suckers like Ms Corrie to be their proxies and the results are what they are.

    Charles Duran says:

    You are right about that Mr Gross! Zionist and Fascist are too be feared.

PhillipNagle says:

Rachel Corrie was a member of the far left that relish in the violence of arab terroist. I will not mourn her passing for a single second.

What the author is really describing is the anti-civilization “Sentimentalist” movement of the 1800s, which was a reactionary ideology to the American “Manifest Destiny” doctrine. Anyone wanting a full historical view of today’s ideologues should read up on these early American movements.

As an argument, it seems like an over-reach–if only for putting this poor, misled figure into the same category as Nietzsche, Lawrence and Foucault. Further, there are more than enough places in the United States where living conditions are as bad or worse than Gaza, had she really wanted to touch the extremes in order to feel more of life.

It seems as if, whatever intellectually underpinnings it may involve, any discussion of Rachel Corrie’s death will quickly devolve into a case of where you stand depends on where you sit on the larger issues.

It seems as if, whatever its intellectual underpinnings, any discussion of Rachel Corrie’s death will quickly devolve into a case of where you stand depends on where you sit on the larger issues.

Binyamin says:

The Israeli siege of Gaza would be impossible without the money and moral sanction of the U.S. That is why Corrie was (properly) in Gaza and not Damascus. Her country did not and does not give moral sanction and weapons to the Assad regime.

Of course we here in the U.S. “single out” Israel. That’s because American policy singles out Israel for unflagging support and Israel (and its lobby here) single out America with incessant demands for money and UN vetos.

Yes, Corrie knew full well she could be killed. So did Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner and every other freedom fighter who chooses civil disobedience over the AK-47.

The reason for Tablet’s screed, portraying her as some narcissistic adventure-seeker, is the same as that Israeli court’s verdict. Civil disobedience has, since the end of the second intifata a decade ago, become the principal form of Palestinian resistance. (Yes, there are still some stone throwing youth and a few jihadis in Gaza who want to pitch overgrown bottle rockets at the IDF. I said “principal”, not exclusive. And BWT, Hamas just arrested 20 bottle rocket chucking idiots yesterday.)

As the Palestinians adopt non-violent resistance, Israel and the hasbarists have a bigger problem. The Palis can no longer be portrayed as evil suicide-bomber-terrorists. They look more like civil rights activists protesting an apartheid regime. Israel much prefers the old days, and with good reason.

As a thought experiment for the Corrie-bashers here, ask yourself why, using your logic, that Chinese tank driver was not equally justified in crushing that brave Chinese fellow who stood in the path of the tank column going to Tienanmen Square.

BTW, this is not the first time an Israeli bulldozer operator has deliberately an killed unarmed opponent. From an interview with a bulldozer operator during the IDF invasion of Jenin in 2002: (note he says he has no regard for “Palestinians”, not the “terrorists.”) “For three days, I just destroyed and
destroyed. The whole area. Any house that they fired from came down. And to
knock it down, I tore down some more. They were warned by loudspeaker to get
out of the house before I come, but I gave no one a chance. I didn’t wait. I
didn’t give one blow, and wait for them to come out. I would just ram the house
with full power, to bring it down as fast as possible. I wanted to get to the other
houses. To get as many as possible. Others may have restrained themselves, or
so they say. Who are they kidding? Anyone who was there, and saw our soldiers
in the houses, would understand they were in a death trap. I thought about
saving them. I didn’t give a damn about the Palestinians, but I didn’t just
ruin with no reason. It was all under orders.”

Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s most widely
circulated tabloid paper, on May 31, 2002.

Translation at:

    Beatrix17 says:

    was in Israel in 2003. Sharon forced Israel to abandon Gaza in 2005
    in order to relinquish it to the Palestinians. Instead, Hamas took
    over and threatened Israel with annihilation. Corrie was long dead
    when this happened.

    Israel does is keep arms out of Gaza. I’ve seen Hamas’ restaurants
    and hotels advertised on the Internet. The only reason Hamas suffers
    is because she can’t destroy Israel.

    you seriously comparing the words of a soldier under attack with the
    mindset of a single bulldoze operator whose job is to tear down one
    empty house?

      Pam Green says:

      “I’ve seen Hamas’ restaurants and hotels advertised on the Internet.” Yes! The propagandists like to portray Gaza as desperately poor, but that is not the case. And if many people are poor, it is due to the corruption of the Palestinian leaders, who personally pocket aid not only from America but from other Western countries, and keep it in their Swiss bank accounts. How many stolen billions did Arafat’s widow recently have to fork over?

      And as I understand it, the family Rachel was staying with begged her not to go that day. And the local Palestinians as a whole had actually complained about the ISM being there – in writing. They had posters and written complaints, especially about the foreign girls who were enticing their boys.

      And Binyamin’s comments are the third time on this thread so far that the Islamist propagandists have used the tired argument about American aid to Israel. As I said earlier, that is a bogus argument and they know it. I think the reason they use it so often right now (and it’s repeated endlessly throughout the leftist-progressive blogosphere) is that, given the poor economy, they think that anger against Israel can be easily stirred up by telling Americans to blame Israel for our failing economy. That’s straight out of the Nazi playbook.

        Beatrix17 says:

        From what I read, the reason the Palestinians voted for Hamas was because of the corruption of Fatah and the billions they stole from the people.

Beatrix17 says:

Since I’m relying on
memory, I may be wrong, but before the wall and the checkpoints,
Israel was plagued with horrific suicide bombers. They bombed the
buses of people going to work, the pizza parlors where families
picked up their evening pizzas, and discos where young people went to
dance. Since the bombers died in the carnage, Israel had no means of
punishing them, and so they used to tear down or blow up their
family homes, after allowing the occupants to leave. I state this
only for the sake of accuracy, but I think Rachel, whom I have no
sympathy for, was trying to prevent one of these homes from being
torn down.

    Pam Green says:

    Beatrix, the IDF commander who testified in the case said that no house was torn down that day, and none was scheduled to be torn down. The job was to clear an area along a smuggling route.

      Beatrix17 says:

      If I remember correctly, the American press reported that Corrie protested the destruction of a home, but the report could have been wrong. Either way, Corrie’s death was an accident and probaby has left the bulldozer operator with horrible guilt, and one he’s constantly reminded of. Corrie probably had another 60 years to go if she hadn’t been so stupid. I wonder if G-d appreciates are treating the gift of life so casually?

        Pam Green says:

        There have been so many different reports, it’s hard to keep them straight. And a lot of people who want to make a martyr out of Rachel Corrie claim that Israel’s version of events isn’t trustworthy. Very convenient, in my opinion.

        I’m so sick of the anti-Semitism on this website, of all places. But it’s been an education.

          Beatrix17 says:

          I’m finding it hard
          to believe that Corrie risked her life to stop Israeli soldiers from
          clearing the road. It’s possible, that since the wall and the
          checkpoints have stopped suicide bombers, the army spokesman felt
          that people wouldn’t understand Israel’s policy of blowing up
          bomber’s houses and so he omitted that part. It would be a serious
          omission, but Israel is under such propaganda attacks, he might have
          felt justified.

          is just a possibility I considered.

          go where the Jews are. We can’t stop them, but we might change the
          minds of those who would be influenced by them if we get to answer
          them. If Obama is reelected, I think Israel will be in trouble, and
          antisemitism will increase

          I am saddened and sickened by the anti-Muslim posters here.

    No, you are mistaken. Do some research before you jump to wrong conclusions.

Corrie also went to Gaza to get college credit from her far-left professors, who encouraged her to go to a war zone:

    Pam Green says:

    Agreed. The Corries should have sued the school for indoctrinating their daughter. And the teachers responsible for recruiting innocent American teenagers for the ISM should lose their jobs.

There are times, when at war, a person is resigned to die trying to save his fellow soldiers. The fighter may stand up and charge a machine gun post, or run through enemy fire with no thoughts of being a hero. He does not think he is going to die, but figures he has to do what he has to do. That is a hero. Ms. Corrie was facing a bulldozer and figured it would not kill her. (Probably watched too many movies). She guessed wrong. In the US, we call this “Death by misadventure” because it happened according to the very laws of nature that the bulldozer would crush her to death. Here in the US, it is also known as a game of “chicken.” Two cars line up directly facing one another, build up speed, and wait to see which one of them will lose his nerve first. People die because they believe that others will acquiesce. This rarely works out well, unless somebody veers. Not knowng the Israeli mind-set is what got this girl killed.

    No, its not a question of knowing the Israeli mindset. Its the idea that an orange windbreaker gives you some magic protection in a demolition zone. Go to any construction site in the US and you will find an area fenced off, with multiple warning signs to stay out.
    In Gaza, you had not just a demolition zone, but an active combat zone and Ms. Corrie and her fellow ISM’ers waltzed into this mess as if they were shielded from their own reckless decisions.
    People working with heavy construction equipment are not expecting to deal with individuals who decide that they have nothing better to do that day than to stand in their path and cause trouble. Add in people who are more concerned with being a target from enemy combatants, and you realize that Ms. Corrie’s presence was not at the forefront of the driver’s thoughts and concerns… and it shoudn’t have been.

What bullshit. To Corrie it was never about the palestinians. It never is with these idiots. It was about the opposition.
Better known has the JEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!

kirillov says:

While I don’t normally agree with anything Lee Smith writes (and usually find his analysis facile and willfully dishonest), this is actually a pretty accurate analysis of many (not all) of the people involved in ISM and similar organizations. Having worked around many of these people through various progressive movements, I can attest to this from personal experience.

wanderinghebrew says:

Lee, as a trained journalist from MU, a rabbinical student and a person prone to idealism and moral activism, I have spent many years of my life thinking about all of these issues. I myself sojourned from the U.S. to West Germany after high school, as a cultural exchange student for a year. I have many acute memories of being 18, sitting in bars with my new-found critical-activist friends, and expressing my outrage at the seeming malaise of our culture (and its moral failures).
These memories are two decades old, but I remember Corrie’s death made a big impression on me. I felt a rather odd (in retrospect) envy at the “meaning” of her death, and how “heroic” it was for “standing up for her values.” Suffice it to say — with age has come, I hope, greater maturity, not to mention historical perspective and appreciation for the freedoms the US does offer (despite its malaise and failures.) I had not thought about Corrie’s death in many, many years, but as you can infer, I feel differently about it now. As a young adult, I had to go abroad to feel like I was “proving” just how committed I was to my values. The only person who needed proof was myself; my kickback was all the fuel righteous indignation brings to the ego …

Was Corrie’s death an “accident”? Not by standard definitions in Webster’s Dictionary. But it was hardly surprising. Nor was it particularly questionable — an obviously foolhardy, impulsive act in a war zone, regardless of who is more “right” in the war in question … Your insights on Lawrence of Arabia is new terrority for me; you also make a very persuasive point about how these humanitarian groups don’t send activists to Syria. If there is one thing I hope ISMers would concede, it is that they are enjoying the relative free expressions of opinion that Israel offers in the Mideast.
Great article; thanks for the interesting observations.

jacob_arnon says:

“I’ve written before about why so many Western intellectuals and journalists are attracted to the region’s hardest and bloodiest men—why the peace activists, NGO workers, and U.N. employees fill the bars of Beirut and Jerusalem where they advocate the positions of Hezbollah and Hamas over beer”

This is in part what you wrote:

“The intellectuals turned against liberalism, and all it entailed. “Industria

capitalism,” Foucault said, had emerged as “the harshest, most savage, most selfish, most dishonest, oppressive society one could possibly imagine.” ”

Foucault was demonstrably wrong. It’s not enough to quote a sentence from a Foucault to justify why they embraced islamicists. One needs to dig deeper into their philosophies which embrace a nihilism comparable to the nihilism not of Nietzsche but of Stirner.

Had the West really been a “savage…oppressive society” many Western intellectuals would have embraced as it had embraced the Bolsheviks..

They embrace Hezbollah because the latter represents the revolt against humanistic values. Intellectuals from Baudelaire and Rimmbaud to Celine and Baudrillard.

Americans like Ezra Pound too collaborated

The current crop of nihilists are lazy cowards spending their time in safe places like
the bars of Jerusalem and Beirut.

Their aim though is the same to destabilize Liberal Bourgeois societies because these accept the world as it is and embrace radical violent movement that wish to destroy law, and humanistic values.

They don’t do this because they blame the West of being evil imperialists (the Ilsamicists are even more ferocious imperialists today while the West has given up on imperialism.) they do it because in their eyes the West is weak always looking for compromises while Iran, and Hamas aim to destroy: nihilism is always on the side of destruction.

“It’s not enough, or even entirely accurate, to say that they’re anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic, since their positions also put them at odds with those segments of Arab societies that seek to embrace Western political….”

They are both, antisemitic (nihilism is and intrinsic antisemitic philosophy) as well as they are anti bourgeois in general. So was Mussolini and so was the author of “Mein Kampf.”

Make no mistake about it, Jews have always been and will always be the enemy
even if they lie to themselves about it.

    youngurbanamateur says:

    If this conspiracy to delegitimize and destabilize democracy does indeed exist, Netanyahu would have to be in on it.
    The world is always full of large and small struggles between those who believe in democracy and those who believe in plutocracy.
    Jews (obviously) aren’t behind it, and neither are anti-Semites. We live in a world where the “bad guys” are sometimes the people you think are the good guys and vice versa. There are struggles between good people and bad people, and the lines shift. Look at small struggles and you’ll see the truth. Keep looking through the false epic lens of “East vs. West” or “Jews vs. the World” and you’ll never see the truth. You’ll be just as clouded as those who believe that the Jews run everything.

jacob_arnon says:

It would be interesting to learn where Rachel Corrie learned her anti-bourgeois values.
Is not her family also bourgeois?

Saying that one is against something for “moral reasons” doesn’t make it either right or true.

the term “moral” has become the excuse of the day.

Most people who appeal to morality are deeply ignorant of what the term means.

herbcaen says:

I see Rachel Qori as the female equivalent of Reinhard Heydrich, the “blond beast”. Neither Qori nor Heydrich thought themselves evil, rather, they thought they were doing “tikkun olam” in fighting Jews. Both of their quests in fighting Jews resulted in their own death. And they look pretty similar-Rachel is Reinhard on estrogen

Charles Duran says:

What lot of claptrap! That facts are too simple for the author to see.
The true is that Rachel Corrie felt passionate about the abuse of the
Palestinian by an arrogant, bullying
Israel. Passionate enough to risk
her life. Whenever an entrenched interested group is challenged, there
is danger of physical harm. E.g., Occupy Wall Street. Without people
like Rachel Corrie, I and donkeys like Lee Smith would not thrive in
this world.

    Pam Green says:

    No, Rachel Corrie was a victim of propaganda. She was UNDERAGE when she began to be indoctrinated. And the people who implanted those passions in her were older professionals, experienced in recruiting American teenagers. And the ISM targeted GIRLS in particular.

Rachel Corrie did not side with America’s enemies or even the enemies of its allies as the writer (idiotically) states. She sided with dispossessed men, women, and children. Some of Tablet’s contributors have become too stridently right-wing to engage in serious critical thinking or allow for serious conversations about Israel’s indifference to innocent casualties.

    Ranen, I wish it were as simple as that. ISM members have been known to aid Hamas fugutives, and one activist was convicted of aiding Hamas by a US court. Some other ISM members have been photographed sporting Palestinian weapons as if to celebrate armed resistance (which the ISM eschews, but which it legitimates and implicitly applauds from the other side of its mouth). One of the blinders that romantic Westerners wear when fall in love with the party they designate as “the oppressed” in the manichean fashion of Rachel Corrie, is that which prevents them from unequivocally condemning the violence perpetrated by villians who are supposedly fighting for “the oppressed.” You don’t have to love the IDF and Israel, much less to excuse any Jew’s callousness toward civilian casualties, to understand that Corrie and her comrades were far more sympathetic and apologetic toward Hamas, an Islamic supremacist organization which not only does not give a damn about civilian casualties, but actually perpetrates them as a matter of policy, than morally discerning people should be.

In America it’s common for environmentalists to tie themselves to trees and whatnot as part of the protest. Perhaps she assumed these people would react similarly as police in those situations do but they did not. American soldiers/ police are trained differently maybe than Israelis.
At any rate, she certainly did not DESERVE to be run over by a bulldozer. That is a terrible way to die. Even if you feel she was misguided she was just a girl. The bulldozer should have left and come back some other time if they were determined to destroy the houses.

    Pam Green says:

    Actually, from what I’ve read, the bulldozer operators kept moving to different areas all day long to avoid the protestors. Also, Corrie had had a close call earlier in the day; she had almost been run over once and yet went back and did it again! And other women on her ‘team’ also had close calls; one nearly died in precisely the way Corrie did, but was pulled out of the mound by a ‘teammate’ at the very last minute.

    youngurbanamateur says:

    Five people voted this down. Do five people believe she deserved to die?

      youngurbanamateur says:

      Six people now believe she deserved to die. I believe she made a bad move and I think the verdict that her death was just an accident is just. But I don’t think she deserved to die. You know why? Because I have a heart.

Lawrence Swaim says:

Sorry, this line doesn’t wash. The Israel Lobby in the US has long used it, saying, “Look, there’s injustice everywhere, why do to Israel??” The implication usually tends to be that people that look too closely at injustice do so because they must be anti-Semites or self-hating.
People must concentrate on Israel because it is different than all other struggles. The US gives more money to Israel than anywhere else, mainly because of the corrupting bullying of AIPAC and other elements in the Israel Lobby, so American have a special responsibility to stop the misuse of our US tax dollars. But even more importantly, it is the Likudniks that are trying to drag the US into a war with Iran, a war it can’t win and can’t afford, just as they and their proxies in the US got us into the war in Iraq. We need to defeat the influence of the Likud Lobby both to achieve a settlement in Israel/Palestine, and to end the influence of Likudniks on our foreign policy.
The Likud lobby is a form of systemic evil–the cause of Jewish religious nationalism simply means the systematic destruction of Palestinian culture and human rights. Secondly, the Likudniks have too much power in the US, and they’re led mainly by neo-con Israel Firsters. The US is a sovereign country, and its foreign policy in the Middle East should not be dominated by a right-wing government of a foreign country.
Rachel Corrie will be remembered as a far-sighted martyr of the most important issue of our time. The intellectualized self-congratulation of Tablet will be remembered for the clever but soulless self-deception that it so often is. Judaism is being high-jacked by the Israeli state. The Jews who wish to restore Judaism as an independent religion and culture will be the true Jewish heroes of the next generation–young, Jewish and proud.

    Umish Katani says:

    I guess you are comfortable with Julius Streicher….. Here is one of his infamous quotations….The Jew always lives from the blood of other peoples, he needs such murders and such sacrifices. The victory will be only entirely and finally achieved when the whole world is free of Jews.

    When you write about a Palestinian culture can you please explain that more in detail ? Is that the Arab culture or Islamic culture, because I have never read, heard or been taught that there ever existed a unique “Palestinian” culture for the simple reason that there is no such Palestinian ethnicity or race….where can you point me to so I can learn more about this authentically new culture I have never heard of ? Oh by the way please do not point me towards some pro-Islamic- Arabic web site or PA propaganda site. In enlightening me please include at least a millennia of proof of this “Palestinian culture”…including historical and archeological discoveries made that attest to this “culture” including handicrafts, (potteries, etc) ancient buildings, inventions, dances, songs, arts (drawings, sculptures etc) ancient weapons etc. Oh and by the way please do not point me to the ancient Canaanites and Phillistines as their identities have already been established by imminent historians and archeologists. Hope to hear from you soon.

    When you write about a Palestinian culture can you please explain that more in detail ? Is that the Arab culture or Islamic culture, because I have never read, heard or been taught that there ever existed a unique “Palestinian” culture for the simple reason that there is no such Palestinian ethnicity or race….where can you point me to so I can learn more about this authentically new culture I have never heard of ? Oh by the way please do not point me towards some pro-Islamic- Arabic web site or PA propaganda site. In enlightening me please include at least a millennia of proof of this “Palestinian culture”…including historical and archeological discoveries made that attest to this “culture” including handicrafts, (potteries, etc) ancient buildings, inventions, dances, songs, arts (drawings, sculptures etc) ancient weapons etc. Oh and by the way please do not point me to the ancient Canaanites and Phillistines as their identities have already been established by imminent historians and archeologists. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Pam Green says:

    As for the argument that Israel is bleeding America dry of funds, see my post above. You make a dishonest argument. America’s aid to Israel is repaid many times over with Israeli inventions, technology, and intelligence.

    As for Israel dragging America into a war with Iran, the fact is that Iran is a threat to the entire world. Europe sees it, and certainly Canada’s recent action to end diplomatic relations with Iran, testify to the fact that much of the Western world would like to put an end to that monstrous, illegal regime. The Islamic terrorists in power in Iran destroyed an advanced Westernized culture, enslaved its citizens, and makes daily threats to destroy not only Israel but America and other Western countries. And it sends billions of dollars all over the world to disrupt peaceful societies through intimidation and violence. It is a Mafia. So, no, Israel is not trying to drag America into a war with Iran for its own sake.

I believe I know who was responsible for sending Rachel Corrie to Gaza. His name is Bill Cook and he teaches at Evergreen University in Olympia, Washington. Rachel Corrie attended Evergreen Univ. I have seen what Bill Cook writes. It is tendentious, mendacious and anti-Semitic. Cook makes no effort to be anything other than one-sided and makes money writing dishonest books and writing for dishonest propaganda outlets favoring Palestinian terrorism. It would be informative to know how much Cook was paid for delivering Rachel Corrie to Gaza. Corrie was simply an empty headed dummy and she was manipulated.

Jerry Blaz says:

I believe, as I stated when Corrie died, that it was a failure of Corrie to understand that the operator of a bulldozer knows where he is going, but he doesn’t know what he’s at because the size and placement of the blade of the bulldozer obliterates any fields of vision of what is very close to the front of the blade. I say this as someone who has been a bulldozer operator many years ago in Israel. Anyone within a distance of 15 feet from the front of the blade knows that in a second the operator will not see him, and if the blade is raised, then the vision is even more obstructed. It becomes the responsibility of the individual to always stay within the sightlines of the bulldozer operator.

Why did Corrie come to Gaza and not to someplace where problems are greater, and the places where there are human rights problems in the world that make anything in Gaza look like a scout camp? We Zionists and Jews raised Israel to the consciousness of the world at least since the 1940s when Jews were trying to smuggle Jews in to the mandatory Palestine and many were being put in interment camps in Cyprus. We’ve invested time and effort to keep Israel before the world during and after the establishment of the state. And the Palestinians, who had turned down the partition, and the Arab states that invaded and failed to prevent the Zionists from bringing Israel to fruition, already had the attention of the world.

They have been exploiting the fact that they kept Palestinians who left the Israeli state in camps separate from their Arab brethern, and the Palestinians found that the use of terrorism was a good way of keeping their issues in the news. The failure of the parties involved and the entire world to bring a settlement to what has now been reduced to an Israeli-Palestinian problem has festered for so many decades, and well-meaning but poorly informed “idealistic” people have turned Israel into “the bad guy” in the world. And these “idealists” problem demonstrate their loyalty to the underdog with the zealousness of a fly to a road apple.

So Corrie was suffering from a case of terminal ignorance when she died underneath that bulldozer blade. She was a victim of propaganda, ignorant of the proglems on the grounds, and didn’t understand the ramifications of standing in front of a bulldozer out of the bulldozer operator’s line of sight. I wish she had stepped aside and get out of the way of the bulldozer, so she could have lived long enough to explain to the next person who wanted to stop a bulldozer by standing in front of it that it is a great big error.

“In many precincts of the American and European left, it is a piece of conventional wisdom that the Arab-Israel conflict is one of the central moral dilemmas of the age.” Wait, are there places where it’s not? Seriously?

In the noble Palestinian struggle against the noble Israel struggle, a noble young American nobly inserted her body between a house and a bulldozer, to tragic consequence. Martyr? Deluded Fool? Freedom Fighter? Who can seriously say anything but “yes”?

Who can fail to be moved by the Palestinian struggle? Or by the Israeli struggle? Or by all the victims on each side? Actually, that’s an easy question. Just scroll down the comments and find your answer.

Since the U.S. considers Hamas an enemy terrorist organization and considers Israel a close ally, I wonder whether a U.S. citizen who fights Israel on the side of Hamas could be charged with treason in the U.S.

    Pam Green says:

    Good point!

    youngurbanamateur says:

    But she didn’t fight Israel, so this is irrelevant. You are equating protesting with being an enemy combatant. That is how fascism starts.

herbcaen says:

Reinhard Heydrich plus estrogen equals Rachel Qori

youngurbanamateur says:

The article makes a good point about Middle Eastern adventurers throughout history, but I wish that it had touched on the nature of Jewish engagement in the area.

The author seems to imply, when he talks about this “Western” phenomenon, that it is not also a Jewish phenomenon.

But it is a Jewish phenomenon just as much as it is a secular non-Jewish phenomenon. Jews who travel to Israel to join the IDF, or Israeli Jews who move to the foreign land of the West Bank are just as much “Western adventurers” as Rachel Corrie. Are they not?

tendilla says:

corrie got what corry searched for…a bully pulpit…although not the one she envisioned perhaps!!!

All you commentators purport to know what Rachel Corrie was thinking and her reasons for being there, and why she was run over…in fact it was well documented by witnesses and photographs that the driver saw her and kept going anyway…that’s not an ‘accident’. And her humanitarian reasons for being there are documented in her letters and writings.. a gentle and humane person. To compare her to a British pederast on the make seems kind of silly. I don’t the she spent a lot of her time name calling and insulting like all you lovely readers on here.

Wretchel Corrie says:

Special Message to ISM members from Rachel Corrie:

Dearest Comrades:
Just wanted to check in with you and let you know how I am doing. I would like to invite you all to follow my lead and go to Gaza to commit suicide in protecting the Hamas’ terror tunnels. You can then join me down here. There is still lots of room in the new Diablo Boulevard housing project. Heat is so high that American flags burn all by themselves. No need for matches. Come move in with me!

Your comrade,
Rachel Corrie
32 South Hades Ave.


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