Dear Craig and Cindy

Craig and Cindy Corrie receive a portrait of their daughter from the Original Terrorist

Craig and Cindy Corrie receive a portrait of their daughter from the Original Terrorist

An Israeli court has ruled (an English summary of the decision is here) that the death of Rachel Corrie in 2003 was accidental. Some of the critical points made by the judge are the following:

  • The incident happened in a place that was a “site of daily warfare,” which civilians were forbidden to enter.
  • While supposedly a nonviolent organization, “[The ISM] exploits the dialogue regarding human rights and morality to blur the severity of its actions, which are, in fact, expressed through violence.”
  • The bulldozer was “leveling the ground and clearing it of brush in order to expose hiding places used by terrorists, who would sneak out from these areas and place explosive devices with the intent of harming IDF soldiers,” and not destroying Palestinian homes.
  • The IDF tried to distance the activists from the bulldozer, warning them, exploding stun grenades and firing warning shots, but they did not comply.
  • Corrie was not visible to the driver (see here and here).

Here is the judge’s description of the actual event that caused her death:

When the decedent saw the pile of dirt moving towards her, she did not move, as any reasonable person would have. She began to climb the pile of dirt. Therefore, both because the pile of dirt continued to move as a result of the pushing of the bulldozer, and because the dirt was loose, the decedent was trapped in the pile of dirt and fell.

At this stage, the decedent’s legs were buried in the pile of dirt, and when her colleagues saw from where they stood that the decedent was trapped in the pile of dirt, they ran towards the bulldozer and gestured towards its operator and yelled at him to stop. By the time the bulldozer’s operator and his commander noticed the decedent’s colleagues and stopped the bulldozer, a significant portion of the decedent’s body was already covered in dirt.

The decedent’s entire body was not covered in dirt. In fact, when the bulldozer backed up, the decedent’s body was seen to free itself from the pile of dirt and the decedent was still alive.

The decedent was evacuated to the hospital [in Gaza] and after 20 minutes, her death was declared.

Dear Craig and Cindy Corrie,

As a parent, I can’t imagine an experience that could compare with the loss of a child. I know that if it happened to me I would be desolated. I thought about the possibility constantly during the period of the Second Intifada, when my son volunteered to serve in a special counter-terror unit and traveled around Israel on a daily basis to try to intercept terrorists — many of them sent by the same Hamas organization that your daughter defended — on their way to kill Israelis.

Some of these succeeded despite the efforts of my son and his comrades, and hundreds of Israelis, many of them children with parents like you and me, were burned to death, penetrated by nails and ball bearings, or had their lungs destroyed by blast.

I thank God that my son survived, that the bullets, grenades and mortar shells that were deliberately aimed at him missed. Other Israelis, soldiers and civilians, were not so lucky.

You’ve worked hard to place blame on Israel and the IDF for your daughter’s death. That’s understandable, because if Israel wasn’t responsible, who was? I can only suppose that you struggle to keep from blaming yourselves.

You [Cindy] told the Guardian,

It felt a little unnerving … At first we hoped it wouldn’t happen. But Rachel was 23 years old, and was very much making her own decisions, as we thought she should. We had always supported our kids in whatever steps they wanted to take. Some people say: ‘Why did you let her go?’ That was not ever something I felt was my role.

You’re right. I didn’t tell my son not to do what he did, either.

So whose fault is it? The court said that the immediate responsibility lay with Rachel:

The decedent put herself in a dangerous situation. She stood in front of a large bulldozer in a location where the bulldozer’s operator could not see her. Even when she saw the pile of dirt moving towards her and endangering her, she did not remove herself from the situation, as any reasonable person would have.

But if I had to blame someone for making this terrible event happen, it would not be the bulldozer operator, the IDF or Israel, which is in a life-and-death struggle with its enemies. I would blame the ISM, which specializes in brainwashing Western young people, sending them into a war zone and placing them in harm’s way — in full knowledge that the Palestinian cause will benefit if one of them is injured or killed.

Rachel made a choice and took a side in a conflict that she did not fully understand. She had a right to do that, but to a certain extent she was manipulated and exploited.  She chose the wrong side, and she paid a terrible price.

You have chosen to honor her memory by taking her side.  As I said, it’s understandable, but it doesn’t validate the ideology that got her killed in order to further its goals of still more death and destruction.

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5 Responses to “Dear Craig and Cindy”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    This considerate and true condolence letter places blame where it truly belongs with the ISM.
    But is perhaps too kind to the Corrie family who for years now have demonized Israel and will continue to do so.
    I wonder how many names of victims of Hamas terror the Corrie family know.

  2. sabashimon says:

    I wish I could summon up the empathy exhibited here, but alas, I instead shall go start my day by making myself a cup of coffee, and a stack of rachel corries smothered in syrup.

  3. Vic Rosenthal says:

    If it appears considerate, maybe I missed the mark. I think the most important fact about the Corries is that — like Rachel — they are stupid and easily led. Cindy wrote that before Rachel went to ‘Palestine’ they knew little about the conflict. They were easy prey for the Arab liars with their tear-jerking stories about suffering children. Once they went down that road, they locked themselves out of the broader discourse and could only hear things that confirmed their point of view.

    Yes, I feel sorry for them, because I know what it is like to think that your child might not come home. Does it mitigate the wrong moral choice they made by siding with the Nazis of today? No.

  4. Shalom Freedman says:

    I also am troubled about criticizing people to whom the worst has happened. I feel not alright about it. I also have troubled feelings about this related to my concern over my own children.
    My criticism comes though precisely because the Corries do not think of the ‘others’ think of all the other human beings who were murdered by the very group they support.
    One more point. Your letter was understanding and sensitive to their loss and suffering, to what they have gone through. This is what I meant by being ‘considerate’ As I understand it that is not a negative quality but rather a most positive one.

  5. juvanya says:

    Figure I better start posting here again if I intend to collect my revenues from Robman in the next two months. I lost interest in Zionist blogging because the conflict just was getting ridiculous and depressing. I remain no less Zionist than ever prior. I advocate at times, dont at others.

    This is the correct decision, but will never be seen legitimately by anyone who should see it that way. The family should be happy the Israeli courts gave them the time of day, let alone a trial. Most countries in the world wouldnt even admit them in the country. The US has still refused to investigate the death of Pat Tillman, who at least deserves sympathy in his death.

    Good post here. Rachel Corrie was a pretty young girl who wouldve had a future ahead of her. I understand activism. Ive done it at times, but it never really accomplishes anythings. There are other ways.