Some Rachels Are More Equal Than Others

Tom Gross notes in this week's Spectator (London) that for some reason, if you're Jewish, your death in a terror attack is likely to get a lot less attention ("Dead Jews Aren't News"):

Even though Thaler was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live, her death has never been mentioned in a British newspaper.

Rachel Corrie, on the other hand, an American radical who died in 2003 while acting as a human shield during an Israeli anti-terror operation in Gaza, has been widely featured in the British press. According to the Guardian website, she has been written about or referred to on 57 separate occasions in the Guardian alone, including three articles the Saturday before last.

The cult of Rachel Corrie doesn’t stop there. Last week the play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, reopened at the larger downstairs auditorium at the Royal Court Theatre (a venue which the New York Times recently described as ‘the most important theatre in Europe’). It previously played to sold-out audiences at the upstairs theatre when it opened in April. (It is very rare to revive a play so quickly.)

On 1 November the ‘Cantata concert for Rachel Corrie’ — co-sponsored by the Arts Council — has its world premiere at the Hackney Empire.

But Rachel Thaler, unlike Rachel Corrie, was Jewish. And unlike Corrie, Jewish victims of Middle East violence have not become a cause célèbre in Britain. This lack of response is all the more disturbing at a time when an increasing number of British Jews feel that there has been a sharp rise in anti-Semitism.

Thaler is by no means the only Jewish Rachel whose violent death has been entirely ignored by the British media. Other victims of the Intifada include Rachel Levy (aged 17, blown up in a grocery store), Rachel Levi (19, shot while waiting for the bus), Rachel Gavish (killed with her husband, son and father while at home celebrating a Passover meal), Rachel Charhi (blown up while sitting in a Tel Aviv cafe, leaving three young children), Rachel Shabo (murdered with her three sons aged 5, 13 and 16 while at home) and Rachel Kol, 53, who worked at a Jerusalem hospital and was killed with her husband in a Palestinian terrorist attack in July a few days after the London bombs.

While we have the blogosphere to cover these things, the British press apparently has been less than vigilant. While Charles Johnson has been all over the story about the ISM & its anti-Semitism, and exactly what it was that Rachel Corrie was "defending" when she put herself in front of a bulldozer,

However, in many hundreds of articles on Corrie published in the last two years, most papers have been careful to omit such details. So have actor Alan Rickman and Guardian journalist Katharine Viner, co-creators of My Name is Rachel Corrie, leaving almost all the critics who reviewed the play completely ignorant about the background to the events with which it deals.

No wonder he's a natural for Snape.

Sadly the American press doesn't do much better. The Denver Public Library has an extensive full-text newspaper search archive. Here's the score:

Rachel Corrie 685
Rachel Thaler 3
Rachel Levy 19
Rachel Levi 2
Rachel Gavish 0
Rachel Charhi 0
Rachel Shabo 26
Rachel Kol 2

Even this overstates the case. Most of the mentions of Miss Levy come either from reports of the First Lady condemning terror attacks, or from an infamous New York Times piece equating her and her murderer. Rachel Shabo is only mentioned in the context of the Israeli response to the infiltration that killed her, again, carefully juxtaposed to her neighbors' desire for "revenge." And Rachel Kol is only mentioned in one news piece (the other is an oped by Uri Dan), which focuses on the Palestinians' anticipation of the Gaza pullout.

Rachel Corrie's memory is the beneficiary of an active propaganda campaign, by her parents and by sympathetic leftists, aided and abetted by a media too lazy and biased to question the official story line. Meanwhile, if Israel doesn't respond, or doesn't capitulate, its victims barely get a mention at all.

Cross-Posted on View From a Height.