March 16 is the anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death. She is the American college student killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza while attempting to block a house demolition. Israeli authorities claim that the driverwas unable to see Corrie, given the restricted vision from his perch, and that she acted recklessly by inserting herself into the path of the bulldozer. But as always happens in the Middle East, lies trumped truth.
The Corrie myth has been one of the most powerful tools in the anti-Israel propaganda campaign. She inspired literary works, boycotts and political memorials all around the world. Her story constituted bad press for Israel that was even worse than the fabricated martyrdom of Mohammed al-Dura.
A few days ago, a lawsuit seeking to overturn Olympia food co-op’s boycott of Israeli goods was dismissed in Washington’s Superior Court. Olympia is the hometown of Rachel Corrie. After her death, Caterpillar has been targeted by a series of initiatives and even the Church of England divested from the company. Fatah mourned Corrie as “the martyr of freedom and peace,” Hamas adopted her face as a mascot and Iran named a street after her.
The mythology presented Corrie as “a peaceful protester,” “a young woman who had dedicated her life to the non-violent defense of others” and as “a new Joan of Arc.” One Gazaflotilla ship was named after her. She was not just an unarmed, idealistic Western girl.