Dear Mr. and Mrs. Corrie,
You have just lost your court case against the Israeli government, and you were not awarded that US dollar’s worth of damages you so desperately wanted.
I am writing to you as an American. The international media almost exclusively refers to you as American ‘peace activists’. Funny, so am I. When I was 7 years old, my brother and I held up a sign bigger than the two of us at a massive anti-Vietnam War rally in the picturesque New England town that I still call home. My parents raised me to be sensitive to injustice, and willing to speak out with the hope that it could be alleviated.
I remember knowing that I was supporting America’s soldiers and political leaders who had the courage to protest our involvement in a foreign war that could not be won and that was needlessly taking lives. There were of course those who disagreed with what I was doing, but I felt secure that it was the right thing. I was on the side of justice, respect for human life, and legitimate political expression.
For this reason, Mr. and Mrs. Corrie, I am deeply ashamed to share the title of American peace activist with you. You travel the world and meet national leaders to press forward your cause. And you have a sympathetic ear in many places for your truly tragic story.
But tell me please: what is the social justice that you are trying to achieve? With the recent Israeli court ruling against your civil law suit, your crusade was reduced to a pitiful, empty and crumpled paper bag. Your daughter was killed in a tragic accident. What was she fighting for at the time of her terrible death?
In truth, Rachel Corrie has not been a young woman with a cause for a long time now. Her brothers in arms have succeeded in morphing her into a symbol, a memory and an inspiration for ships and movies, and documentaries and plays.
What I am concerned about is that in 2012, nine years since her untimely passing, you, her parents, are driven more than ever before by an obsession to prove that your daughter was the hapless victim of the ill intent of a rogue nation: my nation, the nation of the Jews.
There is only one problem with this scenario. Though I have been an Israeli for nearly a quarter of a century, I was raised to believe in good, caring, liberal American values that say that even simple people can have a positive impact on their environment. We can make things better. We have the means to make a difference. But your activities are stretching that assumption to dangerous lengths, pushing ideals I have always cherished to the limit. Why?
The problem is with the cause that your daughter was promoting when she lost her life, the cause that you have made your own. This cause is not only NOT just. It is purely EVIL, by the broadest definition of that horrible word.
Rachel wasn’t trying to make things better. She was hanging around with and, along with her comrades in the ‘International Solidarity Movement’ (ISM), aiding and abetting real live terrorists. She was acting as an accessory to mass murder. Her objective was the material and spiritual success of Hamas, an organization that sends young men and women to blow themselves up on civilian buses in somebody’s hometown. An organization as ugly and corrupt as it is cowardly.
You cannot pretend that an organization that uses a twisted, perverted form of religious interpretation to justify the incessant missile-pounding of civilian communities in the land of Israel is anything but evil. Hamas (an Arabic acronym that coincidentally has the precise meaning of wanton immorality in the ancient Hebrew language) took control of the area called Gaza in a concerted military onslaught that showed no mercy to their own brethren. Executions of those who do not toe the obscene ‘Islamic’ line of the ruling party are commonplace.
Come on. People who provide monetary, emotional and tactical support to this organization are ‘peace activists’? For shame, Mr. and Mrs. Corrie — you are living in squalid denial. My eyes well up with tears at this awful charade. Instead of peacemaking, you are doing your part to help those who openly call for the annihilation of my people, the Nation of Israel, in its ancestral inheritance, the Land of Israel.
How can this be the pursuit of peace? Are we an evil nation, Mr. and Mrs. Corrie, that you stand in valiant support of those who ‘kill us all day long’, in the words of the Psalmist? And remember: the Psalmist was none other than our own king, the establisher of the dynasty of monarchs that ruled the Jewish nation in antiquity. He is our national poet.
I think that something else entirely is happening here. This is no peace effort, unless you call a collective mass grave of my nation peace. I think that you and your ‘activist’ friends and supporters have tapped in to an ancient tradition: the hatred for the Jewish People, in its land and without. Sadly, this steamroller animosity has resulted in the murder of more than 20 million Jews in the past two millennia, and is an integral legacy of the great Christian tradition of which you are a part.
After all these years, Mr. and Mrs. Corrie, you are still up to it, and history has taught you nothing. The heroic resurrection of my people in its ancient land is a symbol to each of the great monotheistic faiths that God has taken mercy on all of humanity, and will someday redeem it, making human enterprise operate according to the highest ideals of the human spirit. But there are those forces that oppose this. You and Hamas are not working in the American tradition that I have been privy to — you are working for the Other Side, the reactionary forces whose goal is to stop human development in its tracks.
I have a simple offer for you. Once, I stood in line for hours in front of a modest Brooklyn brownstone in order to meet one of the greatest lovers of God and man alive at the time. His name was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and though he was controversial to many, no one in the Jewish world would deny that he was a man whose total concern was for the well-being of his nation and the world at large.
Rabbi Schneerson met tens of thousands of people, Jews and non-Jews, every year. To each one, he gave a single American dollar bill. The idea was that the recipient of this token amount would turn and donate it to charity, thereby performing a great mitzvah (commandment) and helping the world edge closer towards a state of repair, one step at a time.
The dollar I received in that magical moment when I stood before this tiny, awe-inspiring old man has been with me ever since. Now I think I know to what to do with it. I am willing to give it to you, Mr. and Mrs. Corrie. Accept it, and let your souls cry, and finally rejoice with the knowledge that you can now move on and get busy doing real good for the world.