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Why US Ambassador Condemned IDF Probe, Boosting ISM’s Rachel Corrie Myth



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U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro added his support to the ISM effort to create martyrs in their fight against Israel.

U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro .
Photo Credit: Uri Lenz/FLASH90



Indeed, according to Rachel Corrie’s father, it was Wilkerson himself who told the family they should sue the government of Israel.

But in all subsequent references to the alleged shortcomings of Israel’s investigations, the specifics are always referred to as “charges” or “complaints” made either by the Corries or by the International Solidarity Movement, the outfit which sent Rachel Corrie into harm’s way.

So how is it possible to determine conclusively whether the US believes Israel’s investigation was flawed?  The best evidence, startling enough, comes from the Corries themselves.

Because, at the same time that their supporters have been touting the view that the US has condemned Israel for a shoddy investigation, the Corrie family has consistently complained about the State Department’s refusal to act in a manner consistent with such a position.  In other words, the Corries apparently know the US does not believe that the Israeli investigation was inadequate.

The Rachel Corrie Foundation in 2010 charged, in a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, that

the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel in 2003, 2004 and 2005 (released in 2004, 2005, and 2006, respectively) address Rachel’s killing without mentioning the lack of a credible investigation into her death. The 2004 report suggested that “the Corrie family” believed the Israeli investigations to be inadequate, while the 2005 report noted “inconsistencies” between Israeli investigations and “statements among those observing the incident.” Exclusion of U.S. government opinions in the reports creates a misleading sense that the U.S. was ignorant of the inadequacy of Israeli investigations.

The answer seems to be that it was Rachel Corrie’s parents who believe that Israel’s investigation of their daughter’s death was flawed.  And it was the alleged response of one State Department employee to the Corries, in a private letter, that led to a the myth of the “official US government position” in the form of a mantra that took on a life of it’s own.

It is not surprising that Ambassador Shapiro gave comfort to the Corries on the eve of their trial’s verdict, in language which has been bandied about in the State Department for years. Nonetheless, a full understanding of how that mythic position arose should salve the sting of criticism against the Israeli government by its closest ally.

The Corrie family took Wilkerson’s advice and sued the government of Israel in a wrongful death suit in an Israeli district court in Haifa, Israel.  That case went to trial in March, 2010. Since that time there have been 15 court hearings at which 23 witnesses testified, producing more than 2,000 pages of court transcripts. Judge Oded Gershon is expected to issue the verdict tomorrow, August 28.

What Actually Happened To Rachel Corrie,

the Most Famous Martyr of the Palestinian Cause

By Jewish Press Staff

Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie

“Couldn’t the bulldozer driver see or hear Corrie?” asks blogger Lenny Ben-David in I*Consult. He points out that the noise generated by the bulldozer is deafening, and Corrie, who had used a megaphone before, did not have it on the afternoon in question.

“The field of vision on the armored bulldozer is exceptionally limited, and the driver could not see her,” argues Ben-David.

And while Corrie’s associates testified that she was standing in front of the bulldozer, which would still place her below the driver’s line of sight, their own witnesses at the time of the incident reported, and the NY Times dutifully cited that “when the bulldozer approached a house today, Ms. Corrie, who was wearing a bright orange jacket, dropped to her knees.”

“The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went,” an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) associate said in 2003. “She knelt there, she did not move.”

Another ISM witness said: “She did not ‘trip and fall’ in front of the bulldozer. She sat down in front of it, well in advance.‎“

They were trying to make her appear very martyr-like, hence the silent, meditative figure sitting motionless before the Zionist bulldozer. But as soon as it turned out the driver couldn’t spot her sitting down – the ISM pulled her up to a standing position.

Dead martyrs are very handy that way.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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