JERUSALEM – In response to the verdict on Tuesday, August 28 in the civil court case brought by the parents of Rachel Corrie, Jerusalem based NGO Monitor released the following statement:

“Today Haifa District Court Judge Oded Gershon ruled that the State of Israel was not at fault in the tragic death of Rachel Corrie. This verdict reflects all of the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident, without the slogans and distortions.  As the judge said, ‘She (Corrie) did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done… she consciously put herself in danger.’  As such, Corrie’s death was entirely unnecessary, and the leaders of the ISM – who encourage their activists to work in war zones – bear much culpability for her death,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) describes itself as “a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles.” ISM has a long record of encouraging activists to take “direct action”, even if that means putting them in harm’s way, often in direct confrontations with the Israel Defense Forces. Rachel Corrie’s actions as an ISM activist were very much part of this strategy of dangerous confrontation.

In 2002 ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf stated, “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent…Yes, people will get killed and injured,” but these deaths are “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation. And we are certain that if these men were killed during such an action, they would be considered shaheed Allah.”

According to Steinberg, “ISM’s cynical and immoral strategy endangers the lives of its members.  ISM co-founder Thomas Saffold showed an utter lack of regret over Corrie’s death, boasting afterwards that ‘we’re like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations, and some die.’  Her bereaved parents should address ISM for causing her wrongful death, and not target the IDF that is charged with protecting Israeli civilians against terrorism.”

ISM has made no effort to hide its affiliation with organizations that seek the destruction of the State of Israel. In 2002 activists with ISM attempted to act as human shields for terrorists occupying Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.  In 2003, ISM activist Susan Barclay acknowledged that she worked with representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.  More recently ISM has been involved with the “Free Gaza Flotilla” and violent protests against the security barrier in Ni’lin, where an ISM activist was injured.  Despite the casualties, ISM continues to encourage activists’ entry into conflict zones, further endangering them. Rachel Corrie’s parents are compounding the tragedy by lending their names to the immoral campaigns to demonize Israel.

For more details on this NGO, see NGO Monitor’s report “International Solidarity Movement (ISM)