Craig and Cindy Corrie Knew of ISM’s Role in their Daughter’s Death
FOR THE RECORD
by Bill Levinson
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Corrie,
I have been following the story of your daughter, and I agree that she deserves justice. I think, however, that you are looking for justice in the wrong place. The following is available on the Internet, and it is from the International Solidarity Movement or sources friendly to the ISM (i.e. hostile to Zionism). It shows among other things:
(1) That the ISM was fully aware that the civil disobedience in which it
encouraged your daughter to engage could easily result in her death or serious injury, but nonetheless continued to allow or encourage her to engage in it.
(2) The ISM and the Palestinians with whom it was working expressed a
motive (publicity for the cause) for wanting your daughter to be killed or seriously injured in a confrontation with Israel’s security forces.
Item 1, as reported by the Electronic Intifada at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article1248.shtml
“Picture taken between 3:00-4:00PM, 16 March 2003, Rafah, Occupied Gaza. Rachel Corrie (L) and Nick (R) oppose the potential destruction of this home (to the west of the Doctor’s home where Rachel was killed). In the instance pictured, the bulldozer did not stop and Rachel was pinned between the scooped earth and the fence behind her. On this occasion, the driver stopped before seriously injuring her.”
What this tells me is that Rachel narrowly escaped death or serious
injury in a previous confrontation with a bulldozer, and that her
so-called “friends” in the ISM allowed or encouraged her to do the same thing again despite this more than ample demonstration of the risks involved.
Item 2, as reported by the indicated sources http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/3-22-2003-37821.asp (“Making of a
Martyr” by Sandra Jordan
” Joe Smith, 21, who went to college with Corrie, said that, although
they acknowledged the danger, they saw death as a ‘small, unlikely,
‘We knew there was a risk,’ Smith said, ‘but we also knew it never
happened in the two years that we (the ISM) have been working here. I
knew we take lots of precautions so that it doesn’t happen, that if it
did happen it would have to be an intentional act by a soldier, in which
case it would bring a lot of publicity and significance to the cause.’
“Small, unlikely, potential risk?” According to the Electronic
Intifada’s story, Rachel had barely escaped death or serious injury a
mere hour or so before her death. In fact, the Electronic Intifada page says the photo of Rachel being pinned against the fence was taken by Joseph Smith! Note also Smith’s statement, “it would bring a lot of publicity and significance to the cause,” and this is not the only such statement he made after Rachel’s death (see below). From the same article,
“‘If only they’d had a video camera,’ one Palestinian journalist
lamented. ‘A film of the Israelis killing an American in cold blood
would have ended the intifada.'”
The Palestinian is not sorry that Rachel died, he is sorry that they
didn’t have a video camera with which to record her death for propaganda purposes. Joseph Smith again, from a Web page the Palestine Solidarity Movement took down but is still available from Archive.org:
“The spirit that she died for is worth a life. This idea of resistance, this spirit of resisting this brutal occupying force, is worth anything. And many, many, many Palestinians give their lives for it all the time. So the life of one international, I feel, is more than worth the spirit of resisting oppression.”
Rachel Corrie’s life, not Joseph Smith’s life, is how I read this.
ISM leader George Rishmawi also expressed (after the fact) a motive for wanting Rachel Corrie dead.
“Rishmawi said the ISM’s main purpose is to increase international
awareness of Palestinian suffering through the involvement of foreign
activists, who pay their own way to the West Bank, where they are
trained in various methods of nonviolent direct action.”
“When Palestinians get shot by Israeli soldiers, no one is interested
anymore,” Rishmawi said. “But if some of these foreign volunteers get
shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice.”
“Making of a Martyr” adds that Rachel was in fact kneeling in front of the bulldozer (which would make her harder to see on the other side of the bulldozer blade) and not standing.
“The activists have compelling photographic evidence to support
eyewitness claims that Corrie’s death was a deliberate, murderous mowing down of a unarmed protester. Dale watched as she knelt down in front of the bulldozer, perhaps 20 metres away, something the activists had done repeatedly that day as they had in the past. ‘The bulldozer went towards her, very slowly, she was fully in clear view, straight in front of them.'”
So the ISM stipulates first of all that Rachel was kneeling and not
standing, and furthermore that the bulldozer was moving very
slowly–which suggests that an able-bodied man could have intervened by pulling Rachel out of the bulldozer’s path when it became clear that it was not going to stop. This did not happen. “Making of a Martyr” suggests in fact that Joseph Smith’s highest priority was to take pictures of Rachel being run over (note that it says he began to take the pictures when she stood in front of the bulldozer or, per Mr. Dale, knelt) than to do anything to protect her.
“A traumatised Smith raised his camera and took photographs: Rachel
standing in front of the bulldozer; then her bloodied body being pulled from the freshly turned soil; being cradled in the arms of her friends.”
I also note as an engineering professional who is at least familiar with industrial and workplace safety that the ISM allowed Rachel to interact with heavy construction equipment without a hard hat (noting that rocks and other debris can easily be thrown up at a construction or demolition site). This act of negligence by the ISM may have proved fatal noting that, as I have seen reported, head injuries played a role in her death.