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The (Self-)Deceit of Rachel Corrie

Roberta Seid reviews Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie.

Excerpt:

..what is most curious about Corrie’s Journals is that hard as she tried to impose the ISM narrative on what she saw, her reports constantly contradicted this narrative, though she didn’t recognize the contradictions.

She wrote that decades of occupation had oppressed Palestinians, yet Gazans kept saying that their difficult situation was due to the Intifada and to Israel’s subsequent counterterrorism measures, not to a decades-old occupation. One Gazan said, “There was a peaceful time in the late seventies and early eighties…things were better before Sharon”—that is, before Sharon became Prime Minister in 2001. (253) Another told her: “Before—no tanks, no bulldozers, no gunshots. Quiet….No noise. After Intifada, daily. Gunshots daily.”

She even confirmed that conditions in Gaza worsened only with the Intifada. She wrote that 60,000 people from Rafah had worked in Israel in 2001, but that the number had dropped to 600 by 2003. But she never drew the logical conclusion that her Gazan informants kept repeating—the terrorist campaign had forced Israel to take defensive measures.

Similarly, Corrie demonized the Israeli soldiers, but they hardly appear demonic. When she and other internationals stand in front of the tanks, the soldiers “open their weird tank lids and wave at us.” The Israeli district command officer worked to “ensure the safety of Palestinian workers.”

Nor, to her surprise, were Palestinians afraid of the soldiers. When a Gazan runs from his home with his two children after ISM mistakenly informed him that his house was to be demolished, she “was terrified to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house.” She tried to interpose herself between him and the tanks, yet he clearly did not need her protection. Children play in full view of the tanks, apparently unafraid. (She was stunned to find that despite tanks and bulldozers passing by, “all of these people are genuinely cheerful”—even though this did not fit into her preconceived notions. When IDF soldiers entered a house to position themselves on the roof, no one was bothered or harassed. The children just watched cartoons on TV.

You can read the rest here.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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