This is really a tragic story.
A 21-year-old woman, an art student no less, goes to Israel as an exchange student. While she is there, she falls in with the pro-Palestinian activists of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She attends demonstrations against the security fence at Bil’in and Nil’in, as well as protests in Nabi Saleh and the East Jerusalem Sheik Jarrah neighborhood.
On May 31, the day of the flotilla incident, she takes part an a protest against Israel’s ‘crimes’ near the Qalandiyah crossing, south of Ramallah. The protest is violent, and she is struck in the face with a tear-gas canister fired by Israeli police. Her eye cannot be saved.
The woman, Emily Henochowicz of Potomac MD, is Jewish. According to the NY Times, “Her father was born in Israel to Holocaust survivors whom he described as “ardent Zionists.” The AP reported that the last status update on her Facebook page was “Gaza on my mind.”
There is a controversy about who will pay for the medical care she received at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and the followup care in the US, and another about whether she was hit directly by the canister or whether it ricocheted off of a wall, which apparently bears on the first one. She has an activist lawyer, Michael Sfard, who will help her while doing his best to screw Israel. I feel sorry for the young woman.
Her story is much like that of Furkan Dogan, Tristan Anderson, Rachel Corrie and others. A politically naive young ‘international’ is recruited to take part in purportedly ‘non-violent’ activities along with Israeli extremists and Palestinians. In many cases, violent elements are present, and the overall purpose is to provoke Israeli soldiers and police. Organizers know that the presence of these internationals will deter security forces from responding harshly.
Meanwhile, demonstrators can achieve their PR objectives, along with other practical things like cutting the security fence, tying up army and police units, costing Israel money, etc. And if it should happen that an international is hurt or even killed, it is a huge propaganda coup for the Palestinian cause.
This is another front in the information war against Israel, the struggle to destroy Israel’s credibility, moral standing and legitimacy in the world arena. It parallels the military campaign, and because it attacks international support for Israel’s self-defense, its importance shouldn’t be minimized.
It’s ironic that idealistic young people are being injured and even killed while being cynically used in support of anti-democratic, racist, misogynist — and murderous – groups like Hamas.
It’s time that Israel put a stop to it. Efforts to detect infiltration from ISM and similar groups should be stepped up. And foreign activists who can be shown to have participated in anti-Israel activities should be rounded up and summarily deported.
Here is a video (h/t: Daled Amos) made by Ms. Henochowicz that is… indescribable. But I think it provides a window into the mindset that gives rise to tragedies like hers.