Rachel Corrie: The Show Must Go Away

The current issue of The Nation has a great cover story on My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play created from the e-mail and journal entries of the American activist killed in Gaza by an Israeli bulldozer in March 2003.

The play was supposed to begin yesterday at the New York Theatre Workshop off-Broadway, but it has been postponed indefinitely because the theater chickened out. Here's artistic director James Nicola's explanation:

In our pre-production planning and our talking around and listening in our communities in New York, what we heard was that after Ariel Sharon's illness and the election of Hamas, we had a very edgy situation. We found that our plan to present a work of art would be seen as us taking a stand in a political conflict that we didn't want to take.

When Corrie died, I felt admiration for a young American who risked her life to demonstrate her convictions, just as I'd think the same of a U.S. soldier who signed up to defend the country on 9/12 and a Western journalist who left a secure area in Iraq this morning to cover the war. If you don't appreciate the courage of other people, they might quit and leave the job to the rest of us. I find that prospect frightening.

Armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozer

Before she was killed by an armored bulldozer whose driver may not have seen her, Corrie was trying to save a pharmacist's house from destruction. The compassion and bravery she demonstrated with that act can be appreciated without making a tacit endorsement of everything she ever did or said in her short 23-year life.

The story mentions Playgoer, a theater blogger who has been all over this controversy, hounding the Theatre Workshop for an explanation of its decision. The blog includes this excerpt from the play, Corrie's own words:

The scariest thing for non-Jewish Americans in talking about Palestinian self-determination is the fear of being or sounding anti-Semitic. The people of Israel are suffering and Jewish people have a long history of oppression. We still have some responsibility for that, but I think it's important to draw a firm distinction between the policies of Israel as a state, and Jewish people.

That's kind of a no-brainer, but there is very strong pressure to conflate the two. I try to ask myself, whose interest does it serve to identify Israeli policy with all Jewish people?

Comments

Oh my God, thats huge track :S

While one can admire certainly admire acts of courage, sitting in the blind spot of a bulldozer operator is either an act of ultimate stupidity or the death of a fanatic who paid the ultimate price for aiding and supporting terrorists. Personally, I applaud their decision in deciding not to perform the play.

The potential for irony when you weigh the motives of activism against the realities of global politics are great.
In an effort to halt senseless killing the activist is killed senselessly. The forces at work are beyond the civil disobediance strategies of Gandhi.

Corrie's life can serve as a symbol for a person who commits to attempting to break an impasse... or open real dialgue on a great injustice... and the potential futility of the effort.

If you just consider her death as an accident... a misjudgement of cause and effect then it's helpful to study her thoughts leading up to the final result.

I wish they had taken the stance that the woman's life deserves to be a relevant subject for theater: and that we need to talk openly about the conflicts at the heart of these events.

Jane Fonda made a similar gesture of protest in her early life. She might now view that decision as a mistake.

Corrie will never have that chance to rethink the decision she made. But she can serve as a symbol to others that the realities of such deep conflict between Isreal and the Palestinians can't be impacted significantly by the death of any single person and a death such as this is a relatively pointless gesture towards resolving the insanity of the conflict.

I have a daughter who's experiencing her freshman year at a notoriously liberal campus of the UC system... She's meeting and being lectured to by many young activists and learning the merits of committing to protest.

She could make such a commitment somewhere in the world and I'd like her to see this play and hear these words. I'd like her to learn to balance intention against the harsh cruelty of political realities.

I noticed that the Play is an adaptation by Alan Rickman from the writings of Corrie. I hope the play does get performed. I hope that people understand that halting such a production doesn't do anything but increase polarization and prolong the conflict.

Personally, I find courage to be extremely overvalued. Fred Phelps, for example, is very courageous in protesting at the funerals of dead American soldiers. Rachel Corrie was very courageous in putting herself in front of a bulldozer that was looking for underground tunnels that Palestianian terrorists used to smuggle weapons in from Egypt.

Rachel Corrie, an American citizen, was murdered by the Israel Defense Force. Now her "free speech" is being posthumously censored. You can't say anything critical of Israel without being attacked. We should take the billions of dollars a year we give to Israel and use it to help Americans, not to support an illegal and immoral subjugation of the Palestinian people.

Oops...didn't mean the Fred Phelps/Rachel Corrie analogy to be this explicit, but don't forget that The PA Hates Fags too.

I've yet to read a credible source for the claim that there were underground tunnels being bulldozed at the site where Rachel Corrie was killed.

From what I've read, she was there to prevent a house from being destroyed.

If someone can show otherwise, I'd like to see it.

crushing...

Rogers,

You want a credible source? Try reading any Israeli paper such as Haaretz or the JPost which has reported for years that they were smuggling tunnels being protected. You don't want a credible source, what you really want to say is that Palestnians are credible and Jews are not. Two people witness an event (Jews and Palestinians) and you decide that Jews are simply not credible. You don't want credible, you want to continue to be a racist, Jew hating, angry young man.

Yesterday, it was Rachel Corrie. Today Harvard is coming under withering fire from American Zionists for a paper, "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy." Co-authored by the dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Stephen Walt. The paper shows that the US sets aside its own security interest for Israel's. Watching AIPAC mobilize its smear campaign against them reminds me of a quote from I Claudius: "Let all of the serpents that lurk in the mud, hatch out."

I found a Mother Jones piece from 2003 for people who want to know more about Rachel Corrie's death and the events that preceded it.

WNYC's Brian Lehrer has a podcast on the controversy.

Yes, a podcast from WNYC, I wrote about that yesterday.

Just go to: whypalestiniansgetitwrong.blogspot.com

Just go to: whypalestiniansgetitwrong.blog spot.com

I'd rather bleach my eyeballs, sir.

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Rogers Cadenhead doesn't care about leprechauns

"Two people witness an event (Jews and Palestinians) and you decide that Jews are simply not credible. You don't want credible, you want to continue to be a racist, Jew hating, angry young man."

Ugh. Trying to tag Cadenhead as an anti-Semite is bizarrely stupid.

I believe that the cancellation of the NYTW's hosting of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie occurred for the same reason(s) that the cancellation of a stage production of the beautiful and famous musical, West Side Story by the Amherst Regional High School in Amherst, MA occurred: Fear of controversy and timidity. In any case, it's sad to see the general public succumbing to the prevelant cllimate of fear in this culture that has been made worse by this present administration.

A few notes --

1) A commenter says: "You want a credible source? Try reading any Israeli paper such as Haaretz or the JPost which has reported for years that they were smuggling tunnels being protected."

The Jerusalem Post has been run for many years by archconservative Bush crony Richard Perle (who is now in deep legal and financial trouble: home.earthlink.net), and is about as credible as the Washington Times or the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. As for Ha'aretz, which is indeed a credible source, they see the issue of the tunnels in a much different light than you do: www.rebuildingalliance.org

2) As Philip Weiss points out in TheNation (www.thenation.com), the 2003 Mother Jones piece that was used as a justification to kill the play in NYC was based largely in right-wing disinformation.

At last a picture of a bulldozer. Rather large and military like- it has armour no? And, is more like a tank than a land mover. Last time I saw one was in a short film as it destroyed trees on a Palestinians property smashing olive trees. Haven't seen any pictures like that in the NY Times- wonder why?

You can be anti-semitic and semitic at the same time - both Palestinians and Jews are semites, so your safe - well not so safe since to criticize Israel is anti-American also.

Israeli politics and Jewish politics are without doubt connected, however, they can be, and are, also individual separate movements involving Jews throughout the world. Peace, civility, trust, alliance, and communication (all things that Rachel Corrie believed in) are goals and ideals that stretch beyond religious and secular boundaries. Honoring an individual, that stands for a community and a belief, through art (another eternal medium that has, is, and will eternally cross boundaries) is something that should be commended and respected.

There is photographic proof that Rachel Corrie was nowhere near a house when she foolishly went into the path of an uncoming bulldozer, which killed her by accident. What she was doing, however, was trying to prevent the destruction of tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza, which would be used by Palestinian terrorists in their murderous attacks against Israeli civilians. She was in no way a "peace activist." In some of her her writings (of course, not mentioned in this egregious play), Rachel Corrie expressed considerable joy over the deaths of Israelis and felt pride at participating in a parade with members of the PFLP terror group. Moreover, her ISM sponsors advocate the annihilation of Israel, a goal they hope to achieve by any means necessary. Some recent photos of ISM members in Gaza (see the STOP THE ISM website) show these terrorist enablers posed with machine guns. It is sad that such a young person died, but Rachel Corrie, the U.S. flag burner who encouraged young children to hate, threw away her own life in the service of evil.

I wonder how many weapons got through to Hamas the day she was killed.

Good riddance.

The truth of the matter is that she stood in the biggest blind spot( the blade) and the photos of her are proven fakes/ she was near a house but the vids of the smiling driver, victory dance and deliberate run over are a lie. If he did see her he probably thought she would move. the bulldozer "dozes" at about 3-5 miles per hour which is walking speed therefore she could have moved. I think she died of either blatant stupidity or misplaced optimism in the fact that the driver would stop. And yes there were hamas tunnels about the bulldozers path.

Rachel Corrie was killed deliberately as an example to others not to interfere in Israel's unjust occupation of Palestine.

In escaping the tyranny of Nazi Germany and anti-semitism around the world the Israeli state, through the auspices of the IDF and the Mossad, have become nazis themselves.

Whenever Spud sees wingnuts in blogworld going on and on about how the Palestinians are such huge habitual liars especially in terms of inflating numbers in masacres such as the one in Jenin that always puts me in mind of other wingnuts in blogworld who like to go on and on about how "the Jews" like to overinflate the numbers of Jewish dead in the holocaust.

Similar mindsets.

Are the Palestinians an overly violent group of folks who are in many ways their own worst enemies in terms of achieving peace and autonomy? Hell, yeah! Are the Israeli's an overly violent group of folks who are in many ways responsible for the miltancy and anger found in the Palestinian people? Hell, yeah.

Too many in this debate score it as an either/or affair.

Either you support the Palestinians or you support the Israelis.

Was Rachel Corrie to expect to get murdered for her stance? Was she a willing martyr for the cause of peace in the region. Did her sacrifice mean anything ultimately? Is this a debate worth having?

Spud sez Yes. Banning this play just goes to show how little the pro Israel media filter has changed in America over the years and how strong the influence of the Israeli lobby is on American politics, the arts, journalism and pop culture.

Be Well.

The group that brought her to that location and told her (or forced/brainwashed her) to stand in front of the bulldozer is responsible.

That bulldozer murdered her the way a falling tree murders a camper.

Not to mention that driver has about as much visibility as a Mark I driver in World War I.

Amy Goodman reports that the court case against the State of Israel for Rachel Corrie's death begins in New York this week, seven years after she was crushed by the IDF driver of the Caterpillar D9 assigned to destroy Palestinian homes in Rafah.

So many pathetic morons, so few bulldozers.

The Nation has all the credibility of the National Enquirer, without the entertainment value.

Free speech allows them to produce their drivel for morons.

Free thought allows me to laugh at it.

Free Expression allows me to donate to a cause to provide enough D9s to start at one end of "Palestine" and convert it back to Israel.

The "Palestinians" were terrorist filth under the Ottomans, under the British, and still are.

Don't believe me? Make a quick list of nations that will re-settle or give them citizenship.

We're done.

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