Saturday, March 29, 2008

International Solidarity Movement Commemorates Its Happiest Moment

The article, found on the Comment Is Free area of The Guardian website, is called Remembering Rachel but it's really about continuing to glorify in the death of one of the infamous International Solidarity Movement's dupes, Rachel Corrie. It was written by Nicholas Blincoe.

The fifth anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie is commemorated this week by the publication of her journals: Let Me Stand Alone. It also sees the performance of a play based on her life in Haifa. Rachel was killed by the Israeli army in Gaza on March 16 2003, while she was working with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Though I never met her, I was an organiser for the ISM at the time of her death. Her journals brought back many memories.

[Corrie wasn't killed by the Israeli army; while trying to prevent the destruction of tunnels being used to transfer weapons to terrorists, to be used to murder innocent Jews, she essentially killed herself by slipping by a pile of rocks that were being moved and getting crushed.]

In the Easter of 2002, my wife, the Palestinian film-maker Leila Sansour, began a documentary about the ISM presented by comedian Jeremy Hardy. The result was cleverly titled Jeremy Hardy v. the Israeli Army. The ISM were then just eight months old: this would be only their third campaign.

[It essentially began by providing support for Yassir Arafat in his terror campaign.]

We met the latest volunteers in a Bethlehem hotel, an extraordinary, eclectic bunch. Many of the Americans were retirees, Jews and Christians who had backgrounds in the US civil rights movement. The younger activists, especially those from Britain and Italy, came from the growing anti-globalisation movement. Old and young, all were enthusiastic about the idea of persuading internationals to join Palestinian demonstrations against the occupation. The theory was that the presence of foreigners would deter violent Israelis reprisals while making the marches more attractive to a jaded international media.

[They were all clearly misguided, at best. The so-called occupation had ended long before, with the transfer of control over the lives of the Arabs in the disputed territories to the Palestinian Authority. Two years earlier, the Arabs had rejected the establishment of their own independent state, instead launching a brutal terror offensive.

Rather than demonstrating against a non-existent occupation, they were providing moral and logistical support for murderers.]

This was a particularly violent time. The suicide campaigns against Israeli civilians were at their height. Israel was in full control of the West Bank and Gaza, but had abandoned anything resembling normal police methods: using F-16s to bomb office and apartment blocks and field artillery to shell Palestinian neighbourhoods.

[The Arab terrorists operated out of civilian neighborhoods; Israel did its best to avoid harming civilians, but part of the Arab strategy was to make sure civilians got killed. For them, it was a win-win situation whenever civilians on either side got killed.]

Extra-judicial executions - lynchings - had become commonplace.

[There were lynchings, but those were perpetrated by Palestinian Arabs.

Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was obligated to turn terrorists over to the Israelis for prosecution. Not only did the PA refuse, but it protected and even armed the terrorists. Israel had no choice but to deal with the terrorists itself.]

In this climate, anything that might strengthen the kind of non-violent resistance associated with Gandhi and Martin Luther King would be welcome. There is a century-long tradition of non-violent resistance in Palestine, including strikes and demonstrations.

[This is an interesting rewrite of history and reality. The real century long tradition is of Arabs violently attacking Jews.]

Even today, it is easy to find peace marches filled with grandmothers and children. Unfortunately, they tend to trot twice around a local landmark, before everyone stops for falafel. The threat of violence makes a march that actually confronts the army too much of a risk.

We discovered just how risky when we joined a crowd of mostly foreign protesters and came under fire from an Israeli armoured car. Leila's film captures the moment a young Australian woman is shot in the stomach - one of a dozen people injured that day. In the next week, I was shot at again, this time when I was alone. The soldier used a heavy mounted chain gun similar to the one that later tore the face off Brian Avery, another ISM activist.

[ISM propagandists always call their violent demonstrations "peaceful."]

Then, that summer, an Israeli security officer pressed a pistol to my head as he hissed threats. Given these and other experiences, I should have been prepared when Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie were killed. Nor were they the only ones: Brian Avery and Caoimhe Butterley, both ISM, were seriously injured in shootings, while UN representative Iain Hook and TV cameraman James Miller were both shot dead.

[When thousands upon thousands of Arabs and their supporters are involved in violenct activities, it's unavoidable that some will get hurt. ISM propagandists never mention the numerous innocent victims of Arab terror who, in contrast to what happened with the accidental death of Corrie, were deliberately murdered.]

The assumption underlying ISM strategy was wrong: internationals were no more safe than Palestinians. I should have known this, but persuaded myself that my early experiences were isolated events. I left the ISM later that year, not because of the violence, nor even because I was encouraging young people to enter dangerous situations. I left because of the culture gap.

[See above; when one is involved in murderous activities, it's difficult to remain completely safe.]

I joined the ISM, inspired by the older activists I met during the making of my wife's film. I liked the anti-globalisation kids, too, but there were huge gulfs between us. Non-violent resistance, as practised by the ISM, depends upon "consensual decision-making".

[The ISM has an interesting definition of "non-violent resistance," given all the violence it gets involved in and supports.]

In Palestine, these sessions helped build trust. But once we set up an ISM chapter in London, consensual decision-making lost its appeal. For many activists, the process is appealing in itself: it is direct democracy in action. To me, it is a crashing bore. Worse, I began to feel that long drawn-out discussions favoured only the most stubborn or stupid person in a room. I was out of place.

In one of her emails to her mother, Rachel Corrie asks if she could persuade her father to "sabotage his neoliberal job". My response would be, why on earth would he want to? I was slow to realise that neoliberal had become a term of abuse. Yet I enjoyed the company of these activists, anarchists, eco-warriors and anti-globalisers. Rachel's journals are the work of a woman who was restlessly inquisitive, open to new experiences and always ready to test her opinions and move beyond her comfort zone. These are qualities that lift the heart. They also got her killed.

[It was her stupidity and clumsiness in her support of terror that got her killed.

Those who wish to commemorate real victims should be memorializing the innocent people who Rachel Corrie helped Palestinian Arab terrorists deliberately murder.

But this article wasn't really about the death of one of its activists; this was about ISM taking advantage of the best propaganda opportunity it's ever had.

The ISM doesn't oppose death; it glorifies in it, whether it's the death of innocent Israelis, which it promotes, or the deaths of Arab terrorists, which it takes advantage of.]

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