The Holy Church of St. Pancake
The International Solidarity Movement and the Rachel Corrie Death Cult
Posted on | June 6, 2010 | 99 Comments
Back in 2003, when Charles Johnson was still able to maintain some semblance of sanity, a commenter at Little Green Footballs — no doubt long since banished — responded to the death of Rachel Corrie by dubbing her “St. Pancake.”
A jest both crude and arguably cruel, yet in two words, that LGF commenter captured a reality that has endured, sadly, in the name of a ship that was seized Saturday when it tried to run the Gaza blockade:
The boarding of the Rachel Corrie containing activists and aid for Gaza was described by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday as a quiet operation . . .
IDF navy forces boarded and took control of the MV Rachel Corrie Saturday afternoon. The troops did not meet any resistance from activists attempting to break the Gaza blockade, and the operation was completed without violent incidents.
In case you’ve forgotten, or perhaps never knew, who Rachel Corrie was, she was a 23-year-old middle-class college kid from Olympia, Washington, who got caught up in post-9/11 “peace” activism.
That was, in and of itself, a damned foolish thing to do, but college kids do foolish things all the time, and I suppose marching around with a bunch of smelly International A.N.S.W.E.R. commies shouting senseless slogans is no more foolish than getting a tramp-stamp tattoo during Spring Break in Daytona.
Ah, but Rachel Corrie was not content with peace slogans. She became a fanatic. Every fanatic needs a scapegoat and — like other fanatics before and since — Rachel scapegoated the Jews.
The Road to Rafah
During the Second Intifada, at a time when the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and other terrorists were blasting Jews to smithereens on a regular basis, Rachel Corrie took up the Palestinian cause, joining a radical “direct action” group called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
The ISM, it must be noted, was founded in August 2001, a few months after Israel intercepted a ship, the Santorini, which was loaded with millions of dollars of weapons en route to Gaza for delivery to the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Also, the ISM was founded mere weeks after the June 2001 bombing of an Israeli dance club that killed 21 people, 16 of whom were teenagers.
Such was the murderous cause to which the ISM sought — and still seeks — to demonstrate its “solidarity,” and Rachel Corrie’s decision to join the ISM thus put her on the most extreme fringe of the (arguably misnamed) peace movement.
Her fanaticism led Corrie to travel to Gaza in January 2003. Three weeks later, when activists organized an international protest of the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq, Corrie was photographed burning a hand-drawn fascimile of the U.S. flag, her face distorted by rage, while dozens of Palestinian children watched.
It is impossible to exaggerate the extent to which Corrie’s ideology had blinded her to the larger reality. Remember, this was in the third year of the second Intifada, when Palestinian suicide bombers were a constant threat to Israeli civilians. And yet Rachel Corrie wrote home from the Gaza town of Rafah:
“The vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, are engaged in Gandhian nonviolent resistance.”
Few would argue that the “vast majority” of Gaza’s residents in 2003 were innocent sufferers, trapped helplessly in circumstances beyond their control. However, those circumstances were the result of violence instigated by the Palestinian thugs who, having rejected the peace President Bill Clinton attempted to broker at Camp David in 2000, launched a relentless campaign of terrorism that lasted more than five years and took the lives of hundreds of Israelis as innocent as any resident of Gaza.
Sacred Martyr of the Intifada
Rachel Corrie never seems to have had any concern for dead Israelis, instead writing indignantly to justify the Intifada by “international law and the right of people to legitimate armed struggle in defense of their land and their families.” Dead Jews were utterly invisible to her, as she wrote home accusing Israel of “genocide,” and arguing that U.S. support to Israel implicated all Americans in genocide.
So it was that, on March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie joined six other ISM activists in a “direct action” against the Israeli military. The Israelis were destroying terrorist bases and smuggling tunnels in Gaza, an operation that ISM attempted to thwart. The circumstances of Corrie’s death have been mired in controversy for years, but there is no argument that she positioned herself in the path of an Israeli bulldozer and was fatally crushed.
An Israeli investigation concluded that her death was an accident, and that the bulldozer operator did not see Corrie, while the ISM has depicted her death as willful murder. Whatever the case, Rachel Corrie’s death served the exact propaganda purpose she had anticipated in one of her final e-mails home:
“Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide . . . for which my government is largely responsible.”
This, then, was Rachel Corrie, for whom the radical group Free Gaza named its ship. At best, she was a misguided idealist whose youthful folly put her in harm’s way. At worst, she was a willing ally of terrorists, an American who volunteered as a “human shield” to protect the smuggling operations by which these bloodthirsty killers got their deadly weapons.
Flippantly dubbing her “St. Pancake” is admittedly callous, yet the LGF commenter’s mocking attribution of “sainthood” to Rachel Corrie accurately reflects the status of holy martyr that the Left and its media allies immediately bestowed upon her.
Within hours of her death, Corrie was transformed from human being to sacred symbol, an icon revered by the “Blame Israel First” crowd. She was subsequently glorified in a cantata composed by a University of Alaska professor (who has since become a notorious anti-Palin blogger) and in a play that ran for 48 performances on Broadway.
Exploited to advance the anti-Israel cause, this symbolic Rachel Corrie functions in death as the real Rachel Corrie functioned in life, scapegoating Jews and acting as a human shield for terrorists.
Who, therefore, is to blame if her name has become an epithet among Israelis? If we grant to Jews the same right that she demanded for Palestinians — “defense of their land and their families” — Israelis have a right to view Rachel Corrie as an ally of their enemies. She is a weapon in a propaganda war against Israel.
Death Remembered, Death Forgotten
Those who have promoted the death-cult of Rachel Corrie insist that she must be remembered exactly as they wish her to be remembered, as a victim-hero whose name can only be spoken with hushed reverence for her innocent righteousness. To remember Rachel Corrie that way, you see, requires us to forget the victims of her terrorist allies.
In 1998, when Rachel Corrie was a high school senior, a 19-year-old Israeli girl traveled to America, touring the Grand Canyon and other sites. Later, the Israeli girl spent a year in Latin America, where she learned Spanish, hiked mountains and went scuba diving. She was the daughter of a dentist, third of five children, by all accounts beloved by everyone who knew her, and she signed her e-mails “Shiri Negari, World Traveler.”
“Shiri loved to laugh and made others laugh with her. She loved to dance and knew how to enjoy the little things in life. She had the gift of being able to see goodness and beauty in every person she met, and she kept up many close friendships with a wide variety of people. . . . Always full of life, she loved to sing and make music. A born actress, she often delighted family and friends with her spontaneous improvisations and impressions. She wrote poetry. She loved swimming.”
Shiri loved America so much that, shortly after her 21st birthday, she moved to New York City and got a job in a restaurant. After the 9/11 attacks destroyed the World Trade Center, her family became concerned for her safety, and eventually Shiri returned home to live with her parents near Jerusalem. She got a temporary job in a bank, working to save money for college where she planned to enroll in the fall of 2002.
Shiri Negari was on her way to work at the bank one Tuesday morning — June 18, 2002 — when she boarded Bus No. 32A in Gilo. A few minutes later, a little before 8 a.m., another passenger boarded the bus:
19 people were killed and 74 injured . . . in a suicide bombing at the Patt junction in Jerusalem. . . .
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the bomber as Muhamed al-Ral, an Islamic law student at An-Najah University. . . .
Al-Ral boarded Egged bus no. 32A from Gilo at 7:50 A.M. at the stop in Beit Safafa, an Arab neighborhood opposite Gilo, and almost immediately detonated the large bomb which he carried in a bag stuffed with ball bearings.
Shiri died that day, just two weeks before her 22nd birthday, in a blast that ended the lives of 18 other people ranging in age from 11 to 72. They were all killed on orders of Hamas — the same terrorist organization that rules Gaza, where 23-year-old Rachel Corrie arrived to join the anti-Israeli ISM contigent in January 2003, barely seven months after the blast that destroyed Bus No. 32A.
You’ve probably never heard of Shiri Negari before, and I would never have known her name were it not for a man named David Zucker.
“My name is Shiri Negari and I would like to speak at Columbia too, but I was murdered when Iran gave money to Hamas to blow up the bus I was on.”
“I did not know Shiri, just happened to come across her memorial site on Sunday when I was trying to figure out what type of sign to make when I got the idea to put a human face on the current debate. I emailed her family to get their permission and they emailed me the picture. I’m sure her family will get great solace from the fact that their daughter’s memory is still alive.”
Her family created a Web site devoted to Shiri’s memory, including this video tribute. Try to watch the whole thing without crying:
And that’s it. No American professor composed a cantata for Shiri Negari, no one produced a Broadway play about her life, and no “humanitarian” ships have been named in her honor. I’d scarcely thought about her since 2007 until Saturday, when Carl in Jerusalem did a post about the blockade-runner Rachel Corrie and invoked the “St. Pancake” nickname. When I re-Tweeted Carl’s post with an “LMAO,” I found myself targeted by a Corrie cultist:
While Shiri Negari’s life and death are nearly unknown, you see, no one can be permitted to defame the memory of that “great person” Rachel Corrie, who was the victim of a “brutal murder.”
Reverent devotion to the martyrdom of St. Pancake makes it possible — indeed, makes it absolutely necessary — to forget the brutal murders of Shiri Negari and hundreds of other true innocents slain by the death-cult whose “armed struggle” Rachel Corrie died to defend.
* * * * * * *
UPDATE: Carl in Jerusalem:
I doubt many of you have thought of Shiri recently. But every time I drive to my sons’ school or take my car to the mechanic . . . I pass the spot where a suicide bomber blew up Egged Bus 32A and Shiri Negari was murdered. And I think of her.
Linked by Lisa Graas at Genuine GOP Mom — thanks!
UPDATE II: Linked by Yosef in Hebron, who comments below:
What I found painful, but necessary, was that the memory of Shiri Negari, a truly wonderful soul has to share the page with [Rachel Corrie].
The contrast, alas, is necessary. Too many young people have been raised with the same mentality that led Rachel Corrie to her death. It is easy for American liberals to buy into the propaganda depiction of Palestinians as victims of Israeli “racism.” In fact, innocent Palestinians are victims of their death-cult leadership — a pathological legacy of the sadistic butcher Yasser Arafat — who refuse to accept any reasonable terms of peace.
Arafat himself was responsible for the failure of the 2000 Camp David talks, and for the Intifada that followed. Arafat’s bloody legacy has been passed on to the current Palestinian leadership, who have never recanted their vow to continue the “armed struggle” until Israel is destroyed. These “leaders” have brought the Palestinians nothing but misery, and yet ISM insists on showing “solidarity” with the death-cult.
There are today in America many thousands of impressionable young liberals who, like Rachel Corrie, are predisposed to buy into the deadly lies that justify the “armed struggle.” They don’t remember the wars of 1967 and ’73, and they know nothing of the real origins and history of modern Middle Eastern terrorism. They don’t know, for example, that Arafat was allied with Moscow during the Cold War and that the PLO (as well as the Assad regime in Syria) endorsed the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Having been propagandized in their schools to accept the twisted Hamas/Fatah version of Middle Eastern history, young liberals swallow the Zionism-is-racism anti-colonial claptrap (another Soviet legacy, by the way) and easily imagine the Palestinian cause as the moral equivalent of the U.S. civil-rights movement. Furthermore, having been indoctrinated to view the 1960s protest movement against the Vietnam War as intrinsically righteous, many young liberals are as viciously anti-American as Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground.
So these young liberals are particulary vulnerable to the recruitment efforts of the ISM and other radical groups. And, just like Rachel Corrie, they never question why the “armed struggle” requires the purposeful murder of innocents like Shiri Negari. It is important that the truth be proclaimed to these young people, to make them understand that their “progressive” commitment to peace has made them accomplices to murder and blinded them to the violent hatefulness of Israel’s enemies. Only truth can persuade them to turn away from the death-cult.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life . . .
— Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV)
UPDATE III: Linked by Melissa Clouthier, VodkaPundit, Cassy Fiano and Moe Lane at Red State. Thanks to commenter Dr. Evil for pointing out that Rachel Corrie’s alma mater, Evergreen State University, is a breeding ground for radicalism, due in part to pro-Hamas professor Steve Niva who “worked with Rachel Corrie before her death.” IYKWIMAITYD.
Thanks also to Noel at Cold Fury for calling attention to Tom Gross’s excellent 2005 essay on “The Forgotten Rachels,” which includes a few often-overlooked facts about the “solidarity” movement to which Professor Niva directed his protege Rachel Corrie:
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the group with which Corrie was affiliated, is routinely described as a “peace group” in the media. Few make any mention of the ISM’s meeting with the British suicide bombers Omar Khan Sharif and Asif Muhammad Hanif who, a few days later, blew up Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv pub, killing three and injuring dozens, including British citizens. Or of the ISM’s sheltering in its office of Shadi Sukiya, a leading member of Islamic Jihad. Or of the fact that in its mission statement the ISM said “armed struggle” is a Palestinian “right”.
According to the “media co-ordinator” of the ISM, Flo Rosovski, “‘Israel’ is an illegal entity that should not exist” – which at any rate clarifies the ISM’s idea of peace.
ISM is part of a genocidal Jew-hating death-cult, and it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that Rachel Corrie is to the ISM what Horst Wessel was to the Brownshirts. Certainly, Yasser Arafat recognized her value as a propaganda weapon.