The Exploitation of Rachel Corrie in Death and in Life

The Jerusalem Post (et. al.) has reported that the Israel Supreme Court has rejected the Rachel Corrie wrongful death case. Her family sought to overturn a 2012 rejection of civil damages for wrongful death case in which they claimed their daughter was killed by an IDF bulldozer.

Rachel Corrie made international headlines when reports of her death, allegedly at the hands of the IDF, spread through the media. What the reporters failed to tell their readers was that Rachel Corrie’s involvement with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which, according to CAMERA, recruited Corrie to be a “human shield” in Gaza. Their association with known terrorists also tarnishes their credibility as “peace-activists.” If that was not enough, co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf, referred to “suicide operations” as “noble.”

On the day she died, Corrie and other ISM activists sought to obstruct Israeli military bulldozers along the Gaza-Egyptian border. IDF uncovered tunnels used for weapons smuggling and were razing the building that hid exits to these tunnels.

Subsequently, her death was used to paint the IDF as callous murderers, and it was claimed that the IDF solider driving the bulldozer saw Corrie in his path and did not stop. However, an exhaustive investigation (with use of polygraphs and video evidence) concluded otherwise. Also the autopsy showed that her death was caused by falling debris, not being run over by a bulldozer. A judge involved in the case, Oded Gershon of the Haifa District Court, also stated that while Corrie may have believed that she was blocking a bulldozer that was razing homes, the bulldozer was actually clearing rubble.

On the day in question, as with earlier incidents, ISM activists would sit or stand in front of the machines and then jump to safety as the machines would inch forward. This time it ended badly for Corrie, as she apparently fell into the rubble.

A military investigation by the IDF’s Judge Advocate’s Office concluded that Corrie’s death was accidental because “the driver at no point saw or heard Corrie,” as “she was standing behind debris which obstructed the view of the driver and the driver had a very limited field of vision due to the protective cage he was working in,” according to Army sources.

CiF Watch has an excellent report on how ISM used “fauxtography” to present a false view of the events.

The first picture is supposed to be moments before the IDF runs over Corrie, and the second minutes later. Notice any problems with that allegation? You should, as this photo was NOT taken in the moments before Corrie’s death, even according to Joseph Smith, the pro-Palestinian ISM photographer. According to Smith’s timeline the first (left) photo of Corrie was taken between 2pm-4pm. At the time of Corrie’s death (5pm), Smith describes Corrie as “sitting, with arms waving” with no megaphone. What he does not mention, but is detrimental to the ISM claims, is that the bulldozers shown in the two photos are different and the pictures are taken from different positions. The later photo is a bulldozer with much smaller windows, and hence reduced visibility. What news reports failed to mention is Smith’s own acknowledgement that the IDF “always stopped in time to avoid injuring them.”

Another fact often overlooked by the media and those seeking to exploit Corrie’s death for their own anti-Zionist agenda is, when Corrie was in Gaza, the current Palestinian terror war against Israel was in its 30th month. As CAMERA points out:

“Of the approximately 1,700 Arabs who had died in the violence up to then, 53 percent were combatants, another 13 percent Palestinians killed by other Palestinians. But of the 650 Israeli dead, 78 percent were civilians. The side deliberately targeting non-combatants (a war crime, not what Corrie, echoing ISM, called ‘resistance’) was the Palestinian.”

ISM is an enabler to terror. Instead of teaching peace, they incited the Palestinians they were serving against Israel. In the following photo taken on February 15, 2003, at a rally in Rafah, surrounded by Palestinian children, Rachel Corrie is seen burning a mock American flag.

Rachel Corrie at a rally in southern Gaza, burning a mock U.S. flag in a crowd of Palestinian Children (Associated Press)
Rachel Corrie at a rally in southern Gaza, burning a mock U.S. flag in a crowd of Palestinian Children (Associated Press)

So, as tragic as her death was, Corrie and fellow activists were in a closed military zone and interfering with IDF operational activities, with questionable motives (shielding a house used for weapons smuggling).

Sources quoted by the Jerusalem Post stated, “The International Solidarity Movement, to which Corrie belonged, was directly responsible for illegal behavior and conduct in the area of Corrie’s death and their actions directly led to this tragedy. A tragedy prompted by misguided idealism and activism which was used by ISM to supplement terror against Israel.”

Gilead Ini points out:

“In ISM’s world, legitimate Israeli security concerns don’t exist. The group’s narrative obscures the fact that Palestinian terrorism began even before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, that Israel acquired those territories in a war precipitated by neighboring countries openly threatening to destroy the Jewish state and that Israel repeatedly offered to turn over land to the Palestinians. Hamas, whose charter makes clear that the group’s violence against Israeli civilians is rooted in racist ideology and is aimed at destroying Israel, and other groups seeking Israel’s annihilation, are invisible in the Middle East portrayed by ISM.”

Likewise, CiF reminds us “Corrie was callously used in life by ISM, and is callously being used in death by all those trying to make a case against Israel.” This report that Israel overturned another wrongful death claim is sure to be used by Israel’s enemies as propaganda and subterfuge for real dialogue about peace.

About the Author
Steven Ilchishin is an editor, researcher, and writer. Currently, he is working for an association that assists first responders in the USA and Canada.
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