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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Huwaida Arraf, the wife of Adam “Free Ticket” Shapiro’s and one of the founders and coordinators of the International Solidarity Movement, has a piece in the Jerusalem Post entitled The price of nonviolent resistance. The article is fairly predictable in its rendition of the circumstances surrounding Rachel Corrie’s death, although now we learn that Corrie kept repeating “These actions are a violation of international law. Demolishing homes is a war crime. Please stop" and that “right before she was run over Rachel asked the driver, ‘What would your mother think?’” Interesting, to be sure, but oddly enough none of the eyewitness affidavits concerning Corrie’s death mention her making these statements. Probably just an oversight.

According to Arraf,

Rachel was wearing a fluorescent orange reflector jacket and, along with seven other volunteers from the ISM, was attempting to appeal to the conscience of the bulldozer driver – getting in his way and speaking to him through a bullhorn.

This seems disingenuous. According to accounts and affidavits of ISM partisans who were there, when Corrie was killed she was the only person trying to get in the bulldozer’s way (playing “cat and mouse,” as the Electronic Intifada calls it) and she had given the bullhorn to someone else.

That Corrie was shouting through a bullhorn when she was killed is one of the more frequent misrepresentations of the incident. But it contradicts the signed affidavits of at least two ISM members, Tom Dale (“I was holding the megaphone. Rachel had been using it all day until a few minutes before hand (sic), when I had come from where I was standing, go (sic) the megaphone and went back to my position.”) and Richard Purrsell (“By this time Rachel had given the megaphone to another activist”), both of whom note that Corrie had relinquished the bullhorn. This embellishment is testimony to the apocryphal and contradictory nature of various accounts of Corrie’s death. Indeed, even the ISM claimed she “was speaking through a bullhorn when she was brutally run over.” And this, despite the ISM’s own eyewitnesses stating the opposite. Perhaps when the ISM bewails Israel for supposedly disseminating false and inflammatory accounts of Corrie’s death they should look in the mirror.

Anyway, ISM human shield activities such as this contradict the ISM’s statement (posted on their own webpage) that “We cannot run around trying to ‘protect’ people, be they Israelis or Palestinians, as that does not deal with the real problem.” Perhaps Arraf might re-read her organization’s own FAQs and remind ISM members who serve as human shields or who otherwise try to protect Palestinians that their behavior is in contravention of an official ISM statement.

Also, according to Arraf,

[T]he Israeli media (without a single journalist in the Gaza Strip) repeatedly reports exactly what the Israeli army says without question…. According to these reports, the IDF is engaged with people who are terrorists, there are terrorists in the area, or suspected terrorists were there. This goes unchallenged in the Israeli media, even in left-wing newspapers.

This is nonsense, of course. To cite but one example, Ha’aretz almost always characterizes Palestinians killed in clashes with the IDF, even when they belonged to terrorist organizations, as “militants” or “activists,” and almost never as terrorists. And the fact that Arraf is spouting off again in the Jerusalem Post—a conservative paper, no less, and it’s not her first appearance there—belies even further suggestions of media acquiescence to IDF accounts.

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