Heroes Nobody Needs

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama hailed murdered “aid worker,” Kayla Mueller, stating that they had tried to rescue her and possibly others being held by Daesh. Other sources indicated that they paid a ransom of $7 million for her release, even as the Obama Administration re-iterated the American policy of not paying ransoms under any circumstances for those individuals who have been kidnapped by those engaged in terror or in war zones.

This will perhaps sound insensitive, but what was Kayla Mueller doing in Syria in the first place? Her friends in the U.S. extolled her kindness and virtues and willingness to assist others in need; but was she actually an aid worker or an activist engaged in behavior which could threaten her own safety as well as endanger others around her? The apparent answer is found in the fact that her employer is none other than the International Solidarity Movement, the same group of folks who gave cover to two suicide bombers who attacked my favorite bar, Mike’s Place in 2003. Their website is full of inflammatory doctored photographs of Palestinian “civilians” being shot by IDF soldiers and they claim to be all about helping the Palestinian people. There are no Palestinians living in Raqaa, Syria, just Daesh fighters. However, there are plenty of useful idiots to be found at any ISM office. And you can include Rachel Corrie in this scenario since these are the same folks for whom she was working when she illegally entered a closed war zone in Rafah to protest house demolitions there. It is a shame she and Ms. Mueller died, but neither of these women had any business being where they were in the first place. Even Egypt acknowledged the importance Rafah has had for terror bases in Aza and the West Bank by ordering it totally destroyed in the coming days.

This week, Israel’s Supreme Court refused to entertain an appeal by the family of Rachel Corrie and rightly so. Other than being a photo opportunity, she had absolutely no business being where she was. If she had been shot and killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Rafah would her family have brought the bevy of legal actions it has over the past several years? I am sure they would have sued the IDF for not protecting her as she illegally protested a military action based on longstanding Israeli laws which govern the territories.

People tend to forget that all these activists engaged in all their protests at dangerous sites whether here or in Syria are endangering the lives of soldiers or fighters who are performing their duties as ordered by their chain of command and under the auspices of their respective governmental entities. A protestor often exposes a soldier to attack and oftentimes is the one doing the attacking. The Palestinians love photo ops, after careful doctoring, of events at Bi’lin or Hebron. They refuse to admit that if there are abuses by a military personnel, they are properly addressed by the military, conclusions are drawn, disciplinary actions are taken and the lesson is learned. No one holds the ISM dilettants to any such scrutiny which makes their work one large hypocritical political statement.

There are dozens of humanitarian aid, rescue and properly-sponsored groups working with legitimate refugees all over the world. They do yeoman’s work under the most trying and difficult of times. They see things you will not see on the evening news and they do not do it for political points or to be the lead story on the news. These folks are true heroes. When the lines get blurred between being an activist with an obvious agenda to promote or an aid worker who only means the best for those they are trying to help in war zones or areas of conflict, the altruistic suffer; and more importantly, so do their adherents at the hands of such activists. They stop being victims and become propaganda tools and this should never be tolerated.

Interestingly enough, when pressed for any explanation as to the sources of funding groups like ISM or even IHH have at their disposal, they always give vague answers and never provide lists of their donors. In ISM’s case, they claim they are wholly-funded by private donations, but their records on such matters indicate otherwise. Qatar and Hamas funded the Mavi Marmara episode. Why admit that and ruin the image they try to perpetuate of deeply committed people putting themselves in harm’s way for a good cause?

The thing that roils me the most about people posing as “human rights activists” is that they almost always end up getting others injured or killed; and yet, they never seem ready to accept the responsibility for their actions themselves. ISM activists interfere in IDF troop movements and actions to route out terror in the West Bank and Aza. They do not ask questions when terrorists come calling looking for a place to hide. They have a history of behavior that most would find profoundly disturbing. Border agents now block their entry into the country and rightfully so, but there are ways the ISM uses to get around such restrictions. This is precisely how Mike’s Place was bombed.

People engaged in lawful protest are generally free to come and go here with minimal scrutiny. People with such a long history of meddling in the state’s affairs like the ISM are rightfully shown the door. Their people should not be lionized. They are not “heroes” any more than the boatloads of IHH Mavi Marmara protestors are heroes for attacking IDF soldiers who were enforcing international maritime and Israeli law at the time. Such individuals have zero grasp of the complexities of the security or military situation in either Syria or Iraq when they come from Arizona. They are not sophisticated enough for such critical thinking skills. They were not raised in a war zone and they have never had their town bombed to rubble by brutal dictators. These meddlesome creatures with death wishes should stay home and fix their own communities which would appreciate their hard work without getting anyone killed in the process.

About the Author
Rachel Grenadier was an olah from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2003 who returned to the United States in 2015. She really wanted to stay in Israel, but decided that having family members nearby was better for her health than a bunch of devoted, but crazed, Israeli friends who kept telling her hummous would cure her terminal heart condition. She has her B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University in Virginia and is the author of two books: the autobiographical "Israeli Men and Other Disasters" and "Kishon: The Story of Israel's Naval Commandoes and their Fight for Justice". She is now living in Virginia with her three Israeli psychologically-challenged cats and yet, denies being a "hoarder".
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