Rachel Corrie Facts

"My Name Is Rachel Corrie" Does Not Tell the Whole Story

My Name is Rachel Corrie is a simplistic, incomplete, one-sided portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The show, based on Rachel's diaries and letters, does not attempt or claim to be an objective or balanced report from the region. It contains many factual errors and myths.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-run organization that lures its members into war zones to act as human shields in obstructing counter-terrorism efforts.
The ISM describes itself as a peaceful humanitarian group, but in reality it is sympathetic to terrorist tactics and lures well-intentioned, idealistic young adults to the Palestinian Territories to promote its anti-Israel views. The ISM then knowingly leads its members into war zones, placing them directly in harm's way as human shields in an attempt to obstruct Israel's counterterrorism operations.

Rachel Corrie's death was a tragic accident.
On March 16, 2003, Rachel, acting as a human shield, attempted to deter bulldozers clearing brush and earth around homes in Rafah. According to a witness, Rachel slipped as she moved in front of the bulldozer, fell in front of the slow moving blade and was crushed by unearthed debris. An investigation, which included extensive interrogation of the driver and his commanders, using polygraphs and video evidence, revealed that the driver's view had been obstructed by the debris and by the bulldozer’s protective driver cage. An autopsy confirmed that the bulldozer had not touched Rachel.

Gaza was, and still is today, a hotbed and source of violent terrorism against Israeli civilians.
Between 2000 and early 2003, hundreds of Israeli men, women and children had been murdered and thousands were injured in suicide bombings and other attacks by Palestinian terrorist groups. Israel had escalated its military operations against Palestinian terrorist groups and infrastructure in 2002 and 2003 in an effort to protect Israeli citizens from terrorist violence.

Israel wants peace and has made sacrifices and territorial concessions in its quest for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Israel has always sought long-lasting peace with its Arab neighbors. Israel gave up all of the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 to achieve peace with Egypt, left its security zone in Lebanon in 2000, and withdrew soldiers and settlements from the Gaza Strip in August

Myths

My Name is Rachel Corrie, based on Rachel Corrie’s diaries and e-mail messages, is a first-person telling of Rachel’s idealism and hopes for peace. It is a highly polemical piece, based on the writings of one idealistic but incompletely-informed young woman. The play offers virtually no context or background on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead providing a one-sided recital of the Palestinian leadership’s perspective of the Mideast situation. Rachel sees Israel as an imperialistic state that will not make peace and treats the Palestinian people abhorrently. She describes the Palestinians, in contrast, as peaceful underdogs, following in the non-violent footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In short, the play makes it appear as if Israel is the aggressor, the oppressor. In fact, during the time Corrie was in Gaza in the winter of 2003, the Palestinian terror war against Israel was already in its 30th month. Of the approximately 1,700 Arabs who had died in the violence up to that point, 53% were combatants, and another 13% were Palestinians killed by other Palestinians. But of the 650 Israelis already dead, 78% were civilians. Clearly the side deliberately targeting non-combatants--a war crime, not what Corrie and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who sponsored her, called "resistance"--was the Palestinian. The ISM claims to be operating in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and "Gandhian non-violence," but according to NGO Monitor, which tracks non-governmental organizations,"the ISM's blatant support for Palestinian incitement and rejectionism is the antithesis of a human rights organization."

One theater critic from London, Clive Davis, after seeing that city's production, wrote,

"An element of unvarnished propaganda comes to the fore. With no attempt made to set the violence in context, we are left with the impression of unarmed civilians (blameless Palestinians) being crushed by faceless militants (brutal Israelis). As Corrie jots down thoughts in her notebook and fires off e-mails to her parents, she declares that 'the vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far I can tell, are engaged in Gandhian non-violent resistance.' Even the late Yassir Arafat might have blushed at that one."

Backgrounder: International Solidarity Movement

The International Solidarity Movement is a well-organized movement that spreads anti-Israel propaganda and misinformation and voices support for others who engage in "armed resistance" (a euphemism for terrorism) against Israel.

Additional Information:

ISM Unplugged (video expose)
StandWithUs, September 7, 2007

The ISM Goes to Sea, by Lee Kaplan
Canada Free Press, July 7, 2007

The ISM-Terror Connection by Lee Kaplan
FrontPageMagazine.com, September 13, 2006

An ISM Member’s Father Speaks Out, by Lee Kaplan
Stop the ISM, May 30, 2006

ISM - A False Legacy
NGO Monitor Digest, September 11, 2003 (Vol. 2 No. 1)

Myth and Fact: The International Solidarity Movement
by Mitchell G. Bard

The International Solidarity Movement and Its Support for Terrorism
The Jewish Action Task Force

International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
NGO Monitor

Rachel's Death

On March 16 2003, Rachel Corrie, as part of her activities with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), had gone to Rafah on the Egypt-Gaza border to prevent IDF demolitions of arms smuggling tunnels. ISM activists had repeatedly interfered with these operations, standing in front of the bulldozers and then leaping out of harm’s way. In this case, the IDF was bulldozing shrubbery that camouflaged the tunnels. Rachel apparently thought she was protecting the nearby home of a Palestinian pharmacist. She knelt in front of the bulldozer behind a pile of dirt.

The ISM claimed the bulldozer intentionally ran her over and killed her. After extensive investigation, the IDF concluded that the driver could not see her and that her death was an unfortunate accident. The IDF Judge Advocate’s Office concluded: “The driver at no point saw or heard Corrie. 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.” An autopsy revealed that the bulldozer never rolled over Corrie: she was killed when debris dislodged by the bulldozer struck her head.

The ISM claim was based on two photos it released: one of Rachel standing in a bright orange flak jacket, a bull horn in her hand, with a bulldozer only yards away; the second of the fallen Rachel, the bulldozer just behind her. ISM claimed these photos were taken within minutes of each other. However, it quickly became apparent that the photos had not been taken sequentially, but probably hours apart. The first photo showed a morning sky; the second photo showed an afternoon sky. The bulldozer in the first picture was not the same one shown in the second picture. The first picture did not fit initial eyewitness reports that Rachel did not have a bullhorn in her hand at the time of the accident nor did it show the mound of earth repeatedly described. ISM bystanders said no photographers were present before the accident occurred. The IDF concluded that Rachel was sitting on a mound of dirt and could not be seen by the driver. When he continued his operations, she could have rolled away but instead tried to climb to the top of the mound but the digging drew her downward, causing the accident. Later autopsy reports revealed that the cause of death was blows to the head, probably from the heavy debris dislodged by the bulldozer.

RachelBulldozer1.gif
RachelBulldozer2.gif

Several news agencies that published the two pictures as sequential later corrected the error, including CNN (March 25 2003) and The New York Times (March 26 2003). But the ISM and other pro-Palestinian supporters continue to accuse Israel of intentional homicide.

Terrorism

Rachel Corrie entered Gaza's war zone where IDF counterterrorism operations were trying to stop the suicide bombers and mass murder of Israelis. By the time of Rachel's death in March 2003, 950 Israelis had been killed and thousands wounded in over 100 suicide terrorist attacks. Less than two weeks before her death, a suicide bomber blew up a bus in Haifa, killing 17 Israelis and wounding 53.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie depicts innocent, unprovoked residents of Gaza whose houses were arbitrarily destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. In fact, the houses targeted by the anti-terrorist efforts were those of key terrorist leaders, or that were used to construct and conceal weapons-smuggling tunnels.

Israel's anti-terrorism efforts were aimed at stopping the flow of weapons and explosives from Egypt into Gaza, where they would be used for suicide bombings and mass killings of Israeli men, women and children. In 2002, the IDF uncovered and demolished 33 tunnels. In 2003, the year Rachel was in Gaza, Israel demolished an additional 20 weapons-smuggling tunnels. Rachel was killed while trying to prevent the destruction of one of these tunnels. Had she been successful, the effect would have been to facilitate terrorism and the enable the murder of innocent Israeli civilians.

Israel Wants Peace

Since the founding of the state, Jews have yearned to live in peace with their Arab neighbors. In 1947, the UN partitioned Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted it, and the Arabs rejected it. Still, Israel pursued peace.

On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion read Israel's Declaration of Independence:

We appeal in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months to the Arab inhabitants of the state of Israel, to preserve peace and participate in the up-building of the state on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

In 1979, Israel responded to the overtures of a brave Arab leader, Anwar Sadat.

Israel responded by trading land for peace - a huge area of land, with settlements, oil drilling rigs, and strong historical ties - for a true peace that has held to this day.

In 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians nearly everything they demanded... and the offer was met not with a counteroffer, but with Jihad.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Clinton offered:

According to chief US negotiator Dennis Ross, Yasser Arafat rejected it all, did not offer new ideas of his own, and, as you see below, continued to incite his population:

Both Israelis and Palestinians should be able to live in peace, side by side in their own states.