The Demonization of Israel

Popular culture is becoming home to a pervasively unfair view of Israel. In many quarters, Israel’s sole raison d’etre is to send soldiers into Palestinian neighborhoods, arrest people and destroy homes. This, at least, is the vision of Israel put forward in a New York play, “My Life Is Rachel Corrie”. This play tells the story of a young American “activist” killed blocking an Israeli attempt to demolish a home in the Gaza Strip. Left out of many accounts of this death and the play were the facts that the home was empty and masked a tunnel used to smuggle illegal weaponry to Palestian terrorists — use your browser to find Rachel Corrie’s name in the window that opens up. The play has become the darling of the hard left

James Kirchik, a recent Yale graduate and promising young writer, has penned a tough, literate critique of the play. He writes :

If you watched ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’ knowing little about this decades-long crisis, you would leave thinking that Israelis are sadistic monsters who kill Palestinians at random, destroy olive groves, and harass women and children for the sheer thrill of it. The few mentions of terrorism or suicide bombing are vague, and only in reference to ‘the right of people to legitimate armed struggle.’ Never is it suggested that these acts take place against civilian targets, not soldiers (though, in her diary, Corrie excuses that, too).

Kirchik captures the dynamic whereby Israel’s Western critics harp upon any misdeed of Israel, and fail to acknowledge — or sometimes justify! — terrorism against its citizens. Nowhere is the acknowledgement that Israel is a democratic country attempting to do its best in a very tough situation in an even tougher neighborhood.

Another wonderful response to the play and Corrie canonization movement is by Tom Gross. In his Spectator piece, Gross writes about six other Rachels — including three teenagers –Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

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