Friday, July 05, 2013

Background and Questions on "Rachel Corrie" at Jerusalem's Khan Theater

July 4, 2013 
 Lenny Ben-David
NGO Monitor

Background and Questions on "Rachel Corrie" at Jerusalem's Khan Theater

Jerusalem -The Khan Theater in Jerusalem is scheduled to present "My Name is Rachel Corrie," a play comprised of anti-Israel writings by Corrie, an American student who joined the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Corrie died in 2003, attempting to block an IDF bulldozer at the Gaza frontier during anti-terror operations.

ISM is a Palestinian-led non-governmental organization (NGO) responsible for often violent demonstrations against Israel.  Its leaders encourage foreign volunteers to engage in life-threatening clashes with Israeli soldiers. As noted by one of ISM's founders, "if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice." In 2002, ISM members served as human shields for Palestinian gunmen around Yasir Arafat's Ramallah compound and in the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity after it was overrun by terrorists. ISM members also met with two British terrorists prior to the attack on "Mike's Place" in Tel Aviv in 2003; another admitted that she knowingly worked with Hamas and Islamic Jihad; and member Richard David Hupper was convicted by a U.S. federal jury for materially aiding Hamas, "giving about $20,000 to Hamas while working in Israel with the International Solidarity Movement, a non-governmental organization." (Click here for NGO Monitor's detailed report on International Solidarity Movement.)

In August 2012, an Israeli Court ruled that Israel was not at fault for the death of Rachel Corrie.  The judge, responding to a civil suit brought by Corrie's parents, said the 23-year-old's death was a "regrettable accident."  In a very detailed decision, Judge Oded Gershon ruled that Corrie had been attempting to disrupt IDF anti-terror operations in a designated combat zone. The evidence clearly showed that the bulldozer driver had not seen her, adding the soldiers had done their utmost to keep people away from the site. Corrie did not "distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done." Thus, the heroic image of Corrie in the play and related advertising posters is fictitious.
Given this highly politicized background, and the fact that the Khan Theater is subsidized by the Israeli Ministry of Culture and the Jerusalem Municipality, the theater management and both government bodies have a public obligation to release all relevant information relating to the funding and other aspects of this production.

In addition, as with other highly controversial political events involving government bodies, the Khan Theater has a responsibility to include a public discussion including critical perspectives on ISM and its activities.
NGO Monitor, based in Jerusalem, provides information and analysis, promotes accountability, and supports discussion on the activities of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) involved in Middle East politics and human rights affairs.
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