Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Rachel Corrie Foundation | * * *

The Rachel Corrie Foundation | Columnists | Jerusalem Post : The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice was established. It supports "programs that foster connections between people, that build understanding, respect and appreciation for differences and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities. The foundation encourages and supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic and environmental justice." However, the foundation's Web site almost exclusively focuses on Israeli injustices (its homepage is dominated exclusively by Gaza related stories), which contradicts its contention that it seeks to enhance peace among fractured communities around the globe. And yet, human rights violations that are daily occurrences in places like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Sudan, as well as the human rights abuses that take place in Gaza, perpetrated by the very people that Rachel Corrie innocently went to help, are nowhere addressed. To read through the Web site, Israel is the major civil liberties villain in the world. I WRITE these lines because I was recently in Olympia. In virtually every store I entered in this small picturesque town overlooking Puget Sound, there was a portrait of Rachel Corrie. So prominent is her presence in the town that those who attach to her death a manifestation of heroism tried to push through a resolution that would establish Rafah as a sister city of Olympia. The city council rejected the proposition. The Web site creates the clear impression that there is an official relationship between Olympia and Rafah, which prompted me to write Cathie Butler, the communications manager of Olympia, who responded: "Mr. Forman - The city of Olympia does not have a sister city relationship with Rafah. The city council considered such a proposal from a citizen group a few years ago, but did not endorse it." Olympia's city council recognized that which the Corrie family has yet to accept: A rush to a discriminatory proposal does not serve a higher goal of social concern based on fairness and egalitarianism. This discriminatory attitude is reinforced as the Web site calls attention to a presentation by Rachel's parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie, on their recent visit to Gaza. If the purpose of the foundation is to "foster connections between people that build understanding and respect," why did the Corries not visit southern Israel at the same time? Then again: Why should facts confuse those who are involved in the work of the foundation? Given its lofty goals, how is it that there is not a word mentioned about a high-level delegation from Gaza that joined Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's gathering in Iran to lend support to President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan after he was accused by the International Court of the Hague of committing genocide, or for that matter, any mention of the violent takeover of Gaza by Hamas, or the firing of rockets into the Negev?

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