May 20, 2003

"Peace" movement proves violent

To the Editor:

Having read M. Yasser Ghanchi's article "Israeli Government Mistreats," I felt the point of the article, that restraint is needed on both sides if peace is to succeed, was well taken, but that the treatment of the death of "peace" activist Rachel Corrie, prefaced by a call to present a fair and unbiased of the Israel-Palestinian dispute, was grotesque.

Rachel Corrie was in the Palestinian territories as a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led self-styled "peace" movement ostensibly devoted to non-violent action against what it terms "illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies."

But whatever the ISM's non-violent credo, the organization openly sympathizes with the Palestinian campaign of terror against Israeli civilians to the point where the organization routinely provides moral and material support to the families of suicide bombers, with some members even "spending the night" at their houses. The ISM systematically refuses to condemn Palestinian violence even as it rails against Israeli efforts to curb it, displaying a kind moral myopia that has earned it the nickname "Idiots Supporting Monsters."

Most disturbingly, the two British suicide bombers, who murdered three people in cold blood at Mike's Place in April, were known to ISM circles in Rafah, having even attended a memorial service for Rachel Corrie at the very spot where she died before setting off on their murderous mission to Tel Aviv.

Of course, the ISM's particularly vicious brand of political naivete espoused by Rachel Corrie did not warrant her death, but it does go a long way towards explaining what she might have been doing throwing herself under a Israeli bulldozer trying to demolish smugglers' tunnels. Seen in this light, the unfortunate death of a misguided "peace" activist cannot be seen as an example of Israeli "cowardice and cruelty," as Ghanchi suggests, but rather as a symbol of the selective blindness that afflicts many on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian debate. What is needed is not simply restraint, but good faith dialogue, and, above all, an honest examination of the facts.

Raphael Satter

Second-year in the College