Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Oops, More Rachel Corrie Wrapup. Plus Palestine Photo Display!
The Stanford Daily Ran an Article on it here. It seems there will also be a photo display as well for Palestine Awareness Month, called "Mind, Body, and Soul of Palestine". The Stanford Daily had this to say about the Possible Photo Show:

Haj-Hassan added that MSAN [Muslim Student Awareness Network] does not intend for the pictures to generate any sort of controversy. “The photos are designed to show the truth,” he said. “It’s hard to talk to about the Palestinian people and ignore what they are going through.” MSAN member Omar Shakir, a freshman, predicted that the Stanford community would react positively to the exhibition. “It should open people’s eyes and show them the human side of this conflict,” he said.

Just out of curiosity, will they be showing the dead pregnant woman living in Palestine who was killed this week just because she was Jewish? Isn't that part of the "human side" of this conflict as well? Oops, guess that woman was just a pig or a monkey to some of these fanactics for justice in palestine, so her death probably wasn't part of the equation anyway.

Anyway, I received an email from another person who attended the Rachel Corrie Beatification, which is a very good description of how the event went. I'm posting an excerpt of it below.

I just returned from the Stanford program presenting Craig and Cindy Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, the American from Evergreen University and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who was accidently killed by Israeli bulldozer as she stood in front of Palestinian home of suspected terror bombers. As you probably know she has become a rallying point of the anti-Israel propaganda forces, both Muslim and radical left. By the way, this lecture was kick-off of Palestine Awareness Month at Stanford. There will be several other lectures, one by Allison Weir, a photo display entitled "Nakba Day" (This memorializes the the tragedy to Palestinians of Israel's birth and existence) There will be (according to flyer I picked up) dinners, fashion shows, music, and every Sunday a movie about Palestine. The program was sponsored by Coalition for Justice and the Muslim Student Awareness Network.

I want to tell you how dangerously effective this husband and wife team are in demonizing Israel. But first a little about attendees. There were about 100 folks there. About half were students, it seemed equally divided between Middle Eastern types and peace and justice white boys and girls. The other half seemed older Palestinian community people and a lot of sweet little old lady types, retired librarians, doing their thing for the oppressed of the planet. There were also about 4 or 5 ISM volunteers in the audience. (They received a big ovation when asked to identify themselves) Professor Joel Beinin was there also. There was also a young kid about 13, wearing a "Palestine Rocks" tee shirt. Nathan Mintz, a Stanford pro- Israel activist was there with about 5 other pro-Israel students. My friend and inveterate champion of Israel , Ralph Bernstein, joined me there.

A little about the Corries. They come across as tremendously believable. Of course as parents who have lost a child, they merit and garner instant sympathy. Both are white haired, distinguished, gentle looking people. Although they've both been long time activists in the radical left wing, pacifist, (except when a Democrat makes war) movement, the husband added to a "mainstream" credibility by mentioning repeatedly he was a Vietnam Vet. Here's something I suspect you will find depressing. (And by the way, if one were to try to accuse their daughter or them of anti-semitism, the Corries would likely make the accuser look foolish...however true the accusation would be.) They spoke warmly of many Jews and Israelis they know personally. They said Rachel initially was introduced into her Palestinian activism by an Olympia, Washington neighbor.. a former Israeli citizen and Holocaust survivor. They told us they had warm friendships with two co-founders of ISM, both Jewish. In fact, about 20 to 30 per cent of ISM volunteers, they claimed, were Jewish. In addition, Rachel died in the arms of fellow ISM worker, Alice, who was Jewish. They told moving stories about their friend and Palestinian activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman. At least 10 to 15 times they both warmly and specifcally lauded their Jewish friends and colleagues in the movement.

Now about the presentation. I am not going into much detail of the horrid propaganda they so smoothly propounded. Suffice it to say that Israel was portrayed as the oppressor, the vicious occupier, the vile bully. (Yet this was sprinkled as I mentioned above, with comments about their warm feelings toward so many Jewish folks and their nebulous calls for peace for everyone.) They talked of Israelis destroying olive groves, mosques, houses of the Palestinians without provocation. They claimed,(and used quotes from Israeli Human Rights Organizations,) that most home demolitions were not done because of terror tunnels or weapons caches but because "Israel needed to teach Palestinians a lesson." Throughout the whole anti-Israel propaganda fest, there was a contuous slide show showing larger than life pictures of Rachel, as a beautiful blond child swinging on a swing or laughing in a swimming pool. They also showed a home video of Rachel, at age 10, giving a class speech about ending world hunger. The pictures served as a continual backdrop to the oral presentation. My friends, sad to say, the medium gave a powerful message. And while they twisted facts and told vile lies, it didn't seem to matter.

Now the Corries told the audience they want to continue with Rachel's message and her work. They are lobbying Congressmen. They are trying to get others involved in the work, (and from the presentation I witnessed, they are skillful and effective.) They plan to continue speaking whenever they can. Here's what's frightening to me: In this particular audience, they were speaking to the converted. No real harm done. But what happens when they bring their slide show and their home videos and their anti-Israel poison to a community Milpitas library lecture or Vallejo High School current events discussion day? How many naive folks will be persuaded?

Now there were about 5 or 6 of us good guys in the audience. Of the 8 or 9 people called on to ask questions in Q&A, we got in 4. We all spoke politely, and prefaced our comments with a condolence message to parents. But all our questions had an edge that, I believe, broke some of the spell. One of us asked about Rachel's photo in USA today burning the American flag shortly before her death. One of us asked if the parents had any misgivings that Rachel's actions protected those who explode human bombs on innocent Israeli children. One asked why ISM didn'textend their love of peace and children and nonviolence to protect those on the Israeli side. While the Corries rather slickly bridged these questions and got back to their anti-Israel tirade, it did seem to cause them some discomfort. Those in the audience also were a bit discomforted by the questions. After it was over, we overheard one young Stanford girl remark, "Yeah it was pretty good, till all those people disrupted it."

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