The concluding portion of the wrongful death civil suit brought against the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli Defense Ministry, by the family of Rachel Corrie, begins this Thursday, in Haifa. Sessions are scheduled for October 7th, 17th, 18th and 21st. The family of the young American activist, killed in March 2003, hopes for justice. So far, the trial has revealed neglect, ineptitude and probable criminal activity of IDF members, both in Corrie’s death, and in its coverup.
Among the horrific details to emerge, perhaps the most disturbing was the role of the notorious Dr. Yehuda Hiss in Rachel Corrie’s autopsy. Here’s Max Blumenthal’s description:
Corrie’s body was transported to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv where the notorious Dr. Yehuda Hiss autopsied her.
Who is Dr. Hiss? The chief pathologist of Israel for a decade and a half, Hiss was implicated by a 2001 investigation by the Israeli Health Ministry of stealing body parts ranging from legs to testicles to ovaries from bodies without permission from family members then selling them to research institutes. Bodies plundered by Hiss included those of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. He was finally removed from his post in 2004 when the body of a teenage boy killed in a traffic accident was discovered to have been thoroughly gnawed on by a rat in Hiss’s laboratory. In an interview with researcher Nancy Schepper-Hughes, Hiss admitted that he harvested organs if he was confident relatives would not discover that they were missing. He added that he often used glue to close eyelids to hide missing corneas.
When Craig and Cindy Corrie learned that Hiss would perform an autopsy on their daughter, they stipulated that they would only allow the doctor to go forward if an official from the American consulate was present throughout the entire procedure. An Israeli military police report stated that an American official did indeed witness the autopsy. However, when the Corries asked American diplomatic officials including former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzner if the report was true, they were informed that no American was present at all. The Israelis had lied to them, and apparently fixed their own report to deceive the American government.
I’ll be compiling a list of items of interest that have come up so far in trial for Thursday. But now it might be important to take a quick glimpse of the progress of the most important work of art dedicated to Corrie to yet emerge, the one-woman play, My Name is Rachel Corrie. It opened on September 24th in Portland, Oregon, and will continue there at the Stark Street Theater through October 30th. The production is getting excellent reviews:
perhaps inevitably, and aptly, it is Corrie’s own way with words — at times witty, self-aware, sparkling with idiosyncratic metaphors; at others grave and righteous — that gives this portrait such vividness. It’s the voice of someone trying to find a path to doing the right thing. And whether or not Corrie got far enough down that path, that’s a voice we all could stand to hear.
As is always the case with productions of the play in the USA, there have been demonstrators and pamphleteers outside the theater before each performance. And like other US performances of the play, editorial space was offered soon after the production began, to a representative from the Zionist expansionist point of view. In this case, to Bob Horenstein, community relations director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, in Oregon Live.com:
Corrie was killed after unlawfully entering an area where Israeli forces — seeking to protect Israeli civilians who had been terrorized by repeated rocket attacks — were destroying tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists to smuggle arms illegally from Egypt into Gaza. Corrie wasn’t shielding innocent civilians; rather, she was interfering with the Israeli army’s efforts to demolish an empty house used to conceal one of these tunnels. According to an autopsy report, Corrie wasn’t crushed by a bulldozer, as widely alleged; she was killed (no less tragically) by falling debris.
While Corrie’s death garners much of the attention, there are other fallen Rachels whose stories are also tragic. British journalist Tom Gross, a former Jerusalem correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, has referred to these as the "Forgotten Rachels," victims of the so-called "armed resistance" supported by Corrie’s ISM. They belong in this discussion, too: Rachel Levy, 17, blown up in a Jerusalem grocery store; Rachel Thaler, 16, blown up in an Israeli pizzeria; Rachel Levi, 19, shot to death while waiting for a bus; Rachel Gavish, 50, killed at home celebrating a Passover meal; Rachel Charhi, 36, blown up in a Tel Aviv cafe, leaving three young children; Rachel Shabo, 40, murdered with her three young sons while at home; Rachel Ben Abu, 16, blown up outside the entrance of a Netanya shopping mall.
Rachel Corrie’s death was unfortunate, but she had to have known of the risks of entering a military zone off-limits to civilians. In other words, she chose to put her life in danger for a cause in which she believed. By contrast, the forgotten Rachels — and Sarahs and Rivkahs and Devorahs — didn’t choose to have their lives cut short by Palestinian terrorists.
When will we ever see a play to commemorate any of their lives?
Regarding Corrie, Mr. Horenstein’s op-ed is so full of lies and distortions, I’ll turn them over to a page titled Rachel Corrie: Myths and Facts.
Regarding the question, "When will we ever see a play to commemorate any of their lives?" I agree totally with Horenstein. This meme started in early 2004, when I first attempted to perform The Skies Are Weeping in Anchorage. The meme about the Rachels was created by an Israeli blogger. At the time, when I was asked, "Why not write music about the OTHER Rachels?" I decided to find out if any of these women’s families were interested in me writing music about their tragically killed loved one. None were.
So, since then, my reply to questions posed by people such as Bob Horenstein has been, "Write it, compose it, commission it! I’ll help you produce it."
Meanwhile, the play that militant Zionist expansionists tried to stop from being performed in the USA has now been produced almost countless times, even at colleges. It has been performed in English, Swedish, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish and other languages.