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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ISM’

Evergreen State — a Total Immersion Experience

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Recently I wrote a couple of posts about Rachel Corrie (here andhere). I was particularly interested in what prompted her to go to Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a group which sends idealistic young Westerners to serve as human shields for Hamas or PLO guerrillas in the front lines of the low-intensity Arab war against the Jewish state.

A few of these ‘internationals’ have been seriously hurt, or, like Corrie, killed, sacrifices on the altar of anti-Israel propaganda.

How does it happen that young people are prepared to risk everything for a cause which, by any logic, is not theirs; and which, as causes go, is not especially pressing (the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza or Judea/Samaria are better off in every way than Palestinians in Lebanon, Copts in Egypt, Sunnis in Syria, etc.)?

The answer is that there are well-tuned systems set up on many of our campuses which recruit, process and send students off in service of the Palestinian Cause. These machines have a permanent nucleus of a few dedicated faculty members, which is orbited closely by student organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association, Jewish Voice for Peace, and more.

There are also peripheral groups that support the projects of the central players, usually because of a perception of shared ‘colonial oppression’ — this sometimes includes LGBT groups, immigrants’ rights organizations, etc.

Students drawn into these psycho-political cyclotrons are insulated from all other voices, and what begins as a concern for human rights is amplified by contact with more and more extreme expressions of anti-Israel ideology until they fly off, completely one-dimensional, often white-hot with hatred for the Jewish ‘colonialists’, prepared to cooperate if need be with murderous terrorists because of their perception of the overwhelming justice and need of their Cause.

The Evergreen State College [TESC] of Olympia, Washington, where Rachel Corrie was recruited, has provided a disproportionate number of ISM volunteers. As I wrote before, faculty members Steve Niva and (former faculty) Simona Sharoni were mentioned several times in Corrie’s diaries as important influences on her decision to go to Gaza.

If we look at the overall environment of Evergreen, perhaps we can understand the way today’s Corries are submerged in the Palestinian narrative and Israel-hating ideology. A student group called “TESC Divest!” — which, for some reason does not appear in the list of official student organizations on TESC’s website — is the center of several boycott-divestment-sanctions [BDS] projects, as well as various “informational” activities and events.

TESC Divest! probably represents the majority of the students and faculty at Evergreen. For example, in 2010, Evergreen students voted to pass two BDS resolutions with huge majorities, both over 70%. And here is a list of faculty and staff that endorsed them:

Anne Fischel, Ph.D, Communication Anita Lenges, Ph.D, Curriculum and Instruction Bob Woods, M.F.A. Sculpture Carolyn Prouty, D.V.M., Veterinary Medicine Davi Zielinski Koska, Evergreen Staff, Community Activist E.J. Zita, Ph.D., Physics Elizabeth Williamson, Ph.D., English Literature Erik Thuesen, Ph.D., Biological Sciences Gillies Malnarich, Co-Director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education Jean Eberhardt, Evergreen Staff — [advisor mentioned in Rachel Corrie Diaries -- ed.] Jon Davies, Ed.D Jose Gomez, J.D. from Harvard Law School Judith Gabriele Larry Mosqueda, Ph.D., Political Science, Laurie Meeker, M.F.A., Film Production Lin Nelson, Ph.D., Spanish Liza Rognas, M.A., Information Resources and Library Science, Lori Blewett, Ph.D., Speech Communication Marianne Hoepli Michael Vavrus, Ph.D., Instructional Development and Technology Paul McMillin, M.L.I.S., Library and Information Science Peter Bohmer, Ph.D., Economics Ruth Hayes, M.F.A., Experimental Animation Sarah Ryan, M.A., Labor and Industrial Relations Savvina Chowdhury, Ph.D., Economics Susan Preciso, M.A., English Ted Whitesell, Ph.D., Geography Therese Saliba, Ph.D., English; Fulbright Scholar, 1995 Tony Zaragoza, Doctoral Studies, American Studies Zahid Shariff, Doctor of Public Administration Zoltan Grossman, Ph.D., Geography And here are student organizations that also endorsed the resolutions:

Student of Color Union (SOC-U) — [because we are all colonized -- ed.] Black Student Union (BSU) — [because Palestinians aren't racists -- ed.] Native Student Alliance (NSA) Women of Color Coalition (WOCC) Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) Synergy Evergreen Bike Shop — [because Palestinians are green -- ed.] Counter Point Journal (CxPJ) Mideast Solidarity Project (MSP) Latin American Solidarity Organization (LASO) Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) Developing Ecological Agriculture Practices (DEAP) Women’s Resource Center (WRC) — [because Palestinians are feminists -- ed.] Evergreen Queer Alliance (EQA) — [because Palestinians are LGBT-friendly -- ed.] Hip Hop Congress Evergreen State College is a total immersion experience — immersion in anti-Israel propaganda.

Rachel Corrie and Evergreen State

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

I recently wrote about the tragedy of Rachel Corrie (it’s always tragic when a young person dies, more so when she dies for a mistaken cause, and even more when she is cynically brainwashed by a group like ISM which is directly connected to terrorist groups).

Rachel was a student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, when she proposed an independent study project for her senior year to establish a sister-city relationship between Olympia and Rafah, a town that lies directly on the border between the Gaza strip and Egypt, a nexus of conflict between the IDF and terrorists smuggling weapons into Gaza.

Evergreen is a paradigm of the progressive cause-based model of education, where you can get what author Howard Jacobson (The Finkler Question) called a “modular degree.” For example, the home page for the “Gender and Sexuality: History, Culture and Politics” program includes this bemusing note:

Enrollment is open to any Evergreen student with sophomore through senior standing. It is likely that many students will have a sexual or gender identity, but this is not a prerequisite for enrollment. If you have such an identity, switching it out at any time is also perfectly fine.

Hmmm… everyone that I know has a “sexual of gender identity,” although they don’t “switch it out” too often (not that there would be anything wrong with that).

Among the many courses in gender and ethnic studies, activism, etc., I did not find anything like a course in Western Civilization. The closest to one in American History was “The Formation of the North American State,” described thus:

This program will examine the movement of the North American colonies in their separation from Britain to the emergence of the United States through the election of 1800. It will investigate the conflict; the social, racial and class divisions; and the distinctly different visions of the proper social, economic and political system that should predominate in the new nation. Much conflict surrounded the separation of the settler colonies from Britain, including a transatlantic revolutionary movement, development of slave-based plantations and the birth of capitalism. Capitalism was not a foregone conclusion….

I just bet it wasn’t.

Rachel didn’t get her sister-city project off the ground, although it is presently being pursued in her name. What she did do on arrival was join up with several ISM activists (Olympia and Evergreen have provided a disproportionate number of members to the ISM) for a training session, then traveled to Gaza, where she did her (unfortunately effective) best to throw herself against the machine of Occupation.

Shockingly, Evergreen State College is proud of her, and offers an annual scholarship in her name:

Rachel Corrie, a lifelong Olympia resident, Evergreen student and community activist was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza, on March 16, 2003, while defending the home of a Palestinian family against unlawful demolition.

This [$2,000] scholarship is for students dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the Middle East and to working locally or internationally to further Middle East peace. Applicants must show how they will use their studies to promote human rights and social justice through community activism and/or political advocacy.

Areas of interest related to the Middle East may include: Arab culture and Arabic language, U.S. Policy in the Middle East, and peace, justice and conflict resolution studies.

There has been some speculation about the faculty members who encouraged her and perhaps approved her “independent study.” Simona Sharoni, who called Rachel her “beloved student and friend,” and Steve Niva, who “met with Rachel Corrie before she left for Gaza,” appear to have been among them.

Sharoni is aggressively anti-Zionist. Now department chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, she coined the term “compassionate resistance” as she

struggled to reconcile my grief, frustration and anger with the empathy, love and compassion I felt for people who put their bodies on the line to resist oppression.

I could find no expression of empathy, love or compassion in her writing for the Jewish victims of Palestinian terror, except insofar as she sees them as misguided. Indeed, she criticizes left-wing Israelis who are involved in dialogue with Palestinians because they don’t sufficiently understand that the needs of the occupied Palestinians take priority over those of the Jewish occupiers, even leftist anti-occupation types.

A Letter to the Corries: Your Daughter was Exploited, Don’t Blame Israel

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

An Israeli court has ruled (an English summary of the decision is here) that the death of Rachel Corrie in 2003 was accidental.

Here is the judge’s description of the actual event that caused her death:

When the decedent saw the pile of dirt moving towards her, she did not move, as any reasonable person would have. She began to climb the pile of dirt. Therefore, both because the pile of dirt continued to move as a result of the pushing of the bulldozer, and because the dirt was loose, the decedent was trapped in the pile of dirt and fell.

At this stage, the decedent’s legs were buried in the pile of dirt, and when her colleagues saw from where they stood that the decedent was trapped in the pile of dirt, they ran towards the bulldozer and gestured towards its operator and yelled at him to stop. By the time the bulldozer’s operator and his commander noticed the decedent’s colleagues and stopped the bulldozer, a significant portion of the decedent’s body was already covered in dirt.

The decedent’s entire body was not covered in dirt. In fact, when the bulldozer backed up, the decedent’s body was seen to free itself from the pile of dirt and the decedent was still alive.

The decedent was evacuated to the hospital [in Gaza] and after 20 minutes, her death was declared.

——– Dear Craig and Cindy Corrie,

As a parent, I can’t imagine an experience that could compare with the loss of a child. I know that if it happened to me I would be desolated. I thought about the possibility constantly during the period of the Second Intifada, when my son volunteered to serve in a special counter-terror unit and traveled around Israel on a daily basis to try to intercept terrorists — many of them sent by the same Hamas organization that your daughter defended — on their way to kill Israelis.

Some of these succeeded despite the efforts of my son and his comrades, and hundreds of Israelis, many of them children with parents like you and me, were burned to death, penetrated by nails and ball bearings, or had their lungs destroyed by blast.

I thank God that my son survived, that the bullets, grenades and mortar shells that were deliberately aimed at him missed. Other Israelis, soldiers and civilians, were not so lucky.

You’ve worked hard to place blame on Israel and the IDF for your daughter’s death. That’s understandable, because if Israel wasn’t responsible, who was? I can only suppose that you struggle to keep from blaming yourselves.

You [Cindy] told the Guardian,

It felt a little unnerving … At first we hoped it wouldn’t happen. But Rachel was 23 years old, and was very much making her own decisions, as we thought she should. We had always supported our kids in whatever steps they wanted to take. Some people say: ‘Why did you let her go?’ That was not ever something I felt was my role.

You’re right. I didn’t tell my son not to do what he did, either.

So whose fault is it? The court said that the immediate responsibility lay with Rachel:

The decedent put herself in a dangerous situation. She stood in front of a large bulldozer in a location where the bulldozer’s operator could not see her. Even when she saw the pile of dirt moving towards her and endangering her, she did not remove herself from the situation, as any reasonable person would have.

But if I had to blame someone for making this terrible event happen, it would not be the bulldozer operator, the IDF or Israel, which is in a life-and-death struggle with its enemies. I would blame the ISM, which specializes in brainwashing Western young people, sending them into a war zone and placing them in harm’s way — in full knowledge that the Palestinian cause will benefit if one of them is injured or killed.

Rachel made a choice and took a side in a conflict that she did not fully understand. She had a right to do that, but to a certain extent she was manipulated and exploited. She chose the wrong side, and she paid a terrible price.

Put International Solidarity Movement on Trial for Rachel Corrie’s Death

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Today, an Israeli court rejected a lawsuit filed by the family of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American who was killed by a military bulldozer nine years ago, ruling that the death was an accident for which Corrie was responsible and, further, that there was no proof the soldiers acted with intent to harm or criminal neglect.

In reports on the trial over the past few days, the media mostly ignored the role played by International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in the young woman’s tragic death.

For instance, in three reports by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent about the trial, Harriet Sherwood, (here, here, and here), all Sherwood wrote about ISM were that they were pro-Palestinian activists involved in “direct action”, and that they were “accused by [the IDF] of illegal, irresponsible and dangerous” behaviour.

Sherwood, like much of the media, didn’t think it was relevant to provide her readers with even a short description of ISM’s reckless and extremely dangerous behavior – dangerous for both Israelis involved in anti-terror operations, as well as for the ISM volunteers, like Corrie, cynically exploited for “the cause”.

ISM was founded in 2001 by a group of young, extremist left Americans. According to the Terrorism Information Center, between 2001 and 2005, the years of the second intifada, ISM volunteers engaged in activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and “did not merely help the Palestinian population, but intentionally hindered IDF anti-terror activities.”

Their activities included “serving as human shields for terrorist operatives wanted by the Israeli security forces”, and “provid[ing] Palestinian terrorist operatives…with financial, logistic and moral support, hindering the razing and sealing of houses of suicide bombers.”

Since the end of the Intifada ISM activists were among the founders of the pro-Hamas umbrella ‘Free Gaza Movement’, and consistently send volunteers to protest demonstrations at focal points of Palestinian-Israeli friction, such as in Bil’in.

While ISM describes itself as “ committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles”, Paul Larudee, the Northern California head of the ISM, has said that “We recognize that violence is necessary and it is permissible for oppressed and occupied people to use armed resistance and we recognize their right to do so.”

Similarly, in a 2002 article, ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf wrote, “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent,” adding that “[i]n actuality, nonviolence is not enough…Yes, people will get killed and injured.”

Shapiro and Arraf lauded such deaths as “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation. And we are certain that if these men were killed during such an action, they would be considered shaheed Allah.”

ISM activists and organizers have time and again justified terrorism and associated with terrorists.

In 2003 alone, for example, ISM activist Susan Barclay admitted in an interview that she worked with representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jidhad; terrorists originating from UK who had attacked the Mike’s Place bar in Tel Aviv, murdering three people, had, according to an Israeli report, “forg[ed] links with foreign left-wing activists and members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM)”; and senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya was arrested while he was hiding in ISM’s Jenin office and being assisted by two ISM activists.

(See NGO Monitor’s page documenting ISM’s terrorism associations).

IT SHOULD NOT be surprising that the 2003 incident involving Corrie took place in the “Military Installations Area,” along the Egyptian border, at the Philadelphi Route, which was considered a hostile battlefield because of the large number of attacks carried out by terrorists.

Between 2000 and March 2003, the area was also notorious for being the primary smuggling route for terrorists bringing weaponry into Gaza and the West Bank from Egypt. Terrorist activities during this period included thousands of grenade attacks, 184 anti-tank missile attacks, 147 road-side explosives, and 41 mortar attacks.

Indeed, the IDF mission on the day in question, which ISM was trying to impede, was merely an effort to level terrain and clear debris near the border in order to remove cover for future terrorist attacks.

Useful Idiocy Not a Valid Legal Defense, Israeli Court Rules

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Yesterday, the Haifa District Court rejected claims that Israel was at fault over the death of American Rachel Corrie.

Corrie, an ISM activist, was flattened and killed by an IDF armored bulldozer in 2003 while protesting Israel’s right to defend itself of clearing terrorist minefields in the Gaza Strip near the Egyptian border.

Corrie’s family accused Israel of intentionally and unlawfully killing their 23-year-old daughter, and launched a civil case after an IDF military investigation cleared the army’s commanders and soldiers of wrong-doing. YNET reports:

In a ruling read out to the court, Judge Oded Gershon called Corrie’s death a “regrettable accident”, but said the state was not responsible because the incident had occurred during what he termed a war-time situation. At the time of her death, during a Palestinian uprising, Corrie was protesting against Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

“I reject the suit,” the judge said. “There is no justification to demand the state pay any damages.” He added that the soldiers had done their utmost to keep people away from the site. ”

She (Corrie) did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done. He rejected a claim of negligence explaining that the bulldozer’s driver had limited vision unlike Corrie. “She consciously put herself in harm’s way,” Gershon said. The accident had been self inflicted, he added. ”

The Jewish Press adds:

The judge found that Corrie was in a closed military zone. Further, he ruled that, based upon the evidence, the driver of the bulldozer, whom the plaintiffs had claimed intentionally or negligently killed Corrie, could not have seen the International Solidarity Movement volunteer before she was struck. Corrie could have saved herself, the judge found, if she had removed herself from the situation. All claims of negligence against Israel in the death of Rachel Corrie have been dismissed. Corrie’s parents, the plaintiffs in the wrongful death case, will not be charged with court costs.

While my heart goes out to the Corrie family whose daughter was killed, it’s tragic that the ISM used Rachel Corrie as a “Useful Idiot” in their war for the destruction of Israel. The Corrie family’s anger and grief should be directed at the ISM which cynically used Corrie as a pawn against the IDF.

The Corrie family wrongly claims that was a plan to escalate the confrontation between the bulldozers and the “peace activists.” Apparently, there was a plan, but not the way the Corrie’s have been led to believe…

But it was the ISM members who decided to escalate, as described by Newsweek writer Joshua Hammer in a lengthy article in Mother Jones. Why? One possible reason was because of the sexual tension that was hurting their relations with the local Palestinians.

“An anonymous letter was circulating,” Hammer reported, “which referred to Corrie and the other expatriate women in Rafah as ‘nasty foreign bitches’ whom ‘our Palestinian young men are following around.’ That morning [of Corrie's death], the ISM team tried to devise a strategy to counteract the letter’s effects.

‘We all had a feeling that our role was too passive,’ said one ISM member. ‘We talked about how to engage the Israeli military.’ That morning, team members made a number of proposals that seemed designed only to aggravate the problem. ‘The idea was to more directly challenge the Israeli military dominance using our international status,’ said the ISMer.”

[Sourced from Lenny Ben-David's Research Blog].

Years later, the picture is much clearer, as we know that ISM female activists are routinely harassed and sexually assaulted by Palestinians.

Reported by the Muqata, 2 years ago:

Back in July, Ha’aretz reported the story of a former Arab convict named Alladin who would find these young female peace activist staying in nearby villages, he would tell them he was on the run from the Shabak (Israel security), and ask them to hide him.

These young female dupes would of course be happy to help an Arab on the lam from the Israeli authorities and let him sleep in their rooms. So far one girl initially came forward about the attempted rape against her. She was found wandering the village of Umm Salmuna (near Bethlehem) in a state of shock, so who knows if the attempt actually failed.

Judge Rules Rachel Corrie’s Death an Accident

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Judge Oded Gershon of Haifa District Court ruled today that the death of Rachel Corrie in 2003 was an accident.  In a 62 page verdict, the judge stated there was no liability on the part of the Israel Defense Force.  He also found there was no fault in the month-long military investigation which the Israeli military undertook immediately following Corrie’s death.  The Israel Defense Force has been cleared of responsibility.

The judge found that Corrie was in a closed military zone.  Further, he ruled that, based upon the evidence, the driver of the bulldozer,  whom the plaintiffs had claimed intentionally or negligently killed Corrie, could not have seen the International Solidarity Movement volunteer before she was struck.  Corrie could have saved herself, the judge found, if she had removed herself from the situation.

All claims of negligence against Israel in the death of Rachel Corrie have been dismissed.  Corrie’s parents, the plaintiffs in the wrongful death case, will not be charged with court costs.

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

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

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This Tuesday the verdict is expected in a wrongful death suit against the government of Israel brought by the family of an American girl who died when she acted as a human shield against Israeli military anti-terrorism efforts.

As if there weren’t already enough drama and media attention surrounding the Rachel Corrie trial, it appears that U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro this week lent credibility to the plaintiffs’ case against the government of Israel when he reportedly criticized the Israeli investigation into Corrie’s death.

According to several news reports, Ambassador Shapiro told the Corrie family that the U.S. government believes the Israeli investigation was not “thorough, credible and transparent.”  That was enough to feed the liberal blogosphere, which touted the US support for the Corries, convicting Israel in their own court hearing.

But is that really the case?

The Israeli investigation, conducted immediately after Corrie’s death, concluded that what happened was a tragic accident brought on largely because Corrie insisted on entering and remaining in a military zone, and ignored repeated and escalating efforts to leave the area.  Further, that investigation found that the bulldozer operator could not have seen Corrie when she was struck and killed.

A little background, first.

In late January, 2003, Rachel Corrie moved from Olympia, Washington to Gaza, where she joined the virulently anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement and volunteered to act as a human shield in order to stop Israeli efforts to combat terrorism. She died on March 16, 2003, when she placed herself in the path of an Israeli army bulldozer that was in the process of leveling ground and removing booby traps planted by terrorists.

Between the time that Corrie arrived at the site and her death, the IDF issued multiple warnings and attempted to remove Corrie and her colleagues with shock grenades, tear gas and warning shots. The protesters refused to leave the site.

An Israeli military investigation took place immediately after Corrie’s death. The IDF concluded its investigation in June, 2003, finding that the bulldozer driver could not have seen Corrie, that the death was a tragic accident, and that Corrie had endangered herself by entering and remaining in a combat zone.  The investigation determined there was no fault on the part of the Israeli bulldozer driver, and that no charges would be brought.

What happened next within the US government on this issue is nearly as much of a deep mystery as many of Corrie’s supporters believe events surrounding her death is.

When Amb. Shapiro met with the Corries in advance of the court verdict last week, he was representing the US government, speaking to an American family, and discussing the death of an American citizen.  Although much has been made of his statement by supporters of the Corries, in fact he was simply repeating what has been described as the official position of the US government with respect to the Israeli investigation into Corrie’s death.

But where did the position come from?  Upon what was it based?

It turns out, the position appears to simply be the opinion of Rachel Corrie’s parents, the plaintiffs in the case against the government of Israel.

During his confirmation hearing in May, 2011, now Ambassador Dan Shapiro was asked by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry what steps he would take to ensure, as the State Department Spokesperson had called for, “that the Israeli government would continue a thorough, transparent and credible investigation of the circumstances concerning [Corrie’s] death.”

The State Department spokesperson was echoing what, in 2008, Senator Joe Biden asked during the confirmation hearing for Ambassador James Cunningham, now ambassador to Afghanistan, who was leaving his position at the US Consulate in Hong Kong.

Biden asked the future ambassador to Israel about the Rachel Corrie incident.  He asked whether, “in your opinion, has a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation taken place?” The Ambassador did not answer in the affirmative.  Instead, Cunningham stated that “The Department remains committed to providing the highest standards of citizen services  to the Corrie family. If confirmed, I will continue to press the Government of Israel for a thorough and transparent investigation of the tragic death of Rachel Corrie.”

Curious.

For those few who have followed the path of the “official US administration position” regarding Israel’s investigation into Corrie’s death, the trail leads to a letter allegedly written in June, 2004, to the Corries by Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.  Wilkerson was replying to the Corries who asked him whether, in his opinion, the investigation conducted by Israel was “thorough, credible and transparent.”  According to legend, Wilkerson replied: “no.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-ambassador-condemns-idf-probe-lending-credit-to-isms-rachel-corries-suicide-mission/2012/08/28/

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