On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, an American Evergreen College student and member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was run down by a Caterpillar D9R armored bulldozer. The American made bulldozer that crushed and killed Rachel Corrie was operated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Rachel died while protesting the destruction of Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip of Palestine.
Just twenty-three at the time of her death, Rachel was an avid diarist who vividly chronicled her peace and justice actions in Palestine up till the time she died. The play, My Name Is Rachel Corrie, sponsored by Winograd For Congress this Saturday, August 8th in Los Angeles, is a powerful rendering of Rachel's writings depicting the plight of Palestinians and Rachel's lifelong passion for peace.
Progressive Democrat Marcy Winograd, who is challenging blue dog incumbent Jane Harman for California's 36th Congressional District, brings Rachel's story to Los Angeles to support President Obama's call for the Israeli government to freeze further expansion of Israeli settlements into the Palestinian territory.
As stated by Winograd:
"When President Obama spoke in Cairo, he urged the Palestinians to abandon violence, but he also said the United States does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlements.
Our President spoke passionately about settlements as an obstacle to peace because the intrusions, now numbering over 100, continue to multiply in the occupied territories, turning a future Palestinian state into bantustans without contiguous borders."
Winograd for Congress 2010 has assembled prominent Arabs and Jews to co-sponsor this rare North American reading of My Name Is Rachel Corrie. Though the award-winning play enjoyed great acclaim at London's Royal Court Theater, it was cancelled in New York City after supporters of Israel's policies of home demolitions and settlement expansion pressured the New York Theater Workshop to pull it.
Actors Mimi Kennedy and Meredith Dilg will read excerpts from the play on Saturday, August 8th from 5 to 8 pm, at the Levantine Center, 5998 Pico Blvd., in Los Angeles. Kennedy, Chair of Progressive Democrats of America, co-stars with James Gandolfini in In The Loop, a newly released, critically acclaimed satirical anti-war film. Dilg, Kennedy's niece, currently plays in "The Lake," a webisode series directed by Jason Priestley for WB.com.
According to the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, Israeli settlements are built on stolen land in the occupied West Bank, as well as in East Jerusalem. To build a settlement, the Israelis first bulldoze the Palestinian homes, sometimes with only 15 minutes notice, using 64-ton Caterpillar tractors with ripper blades made to order for the destruction. Since 1967, the Israelis have demolished 24,000 homes in violation of international law.
Says Winograd, a co-founder of LA Jews for Peace:
"I am for universal human rights and the right to keep your home is considered sacred in Jewish tradition. The TALMUD, a rabbinic discussion of Jewish laws, recognizes that owning a home enhances dignity and self-worth. If we are to promote peace in the Middle East, we must heed Rachel Corrie's message of non-violent resistance to human rights violations. I appreciate President Obama's courageous call to action and support his efforts to begin a new peace initiative that holds both sides accountable to just principles."
Jane Harman, Winograd's opponent in the 36th congressional district, was previously investigated by the FBI for allegedly using her influence in Congress to get spying charges dropped against American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) analysts. Harman voted for resolutions in support of the Israeli siege of Gaza and the invasion of Lebanon and was a featured speaker at the recent AIPAC conference.
In 2006, after only three months of campaigning, Winograd impressively mobilized nearly 38% of the vote against wealthy incumbent Harman in the 36th Congressional District, which runs 30 miles from West Los Angeles to San Pedro.
The prestigious coalition of Arab and Jewish sponsors of the Rachel Corrie reading include Marcy Winograd, Winograd for Congress 2010; Dr. Anthony Saidy, Founding Vice-Chair Coalition For Peace In The Middle East; Sami Mashney, Esq., Publisher, The Independent Monitor; Jeff Warner & Richer Chertoff, Co-Chairs, LA Jews for Peace: Mashael Moamar, Past Pres., CDP Arab-American Caucus; Lillian Laskin, LA Jews for Peace; Executive Board Member of Westside Progressives; Rima Nashashibi, Vice-Chair, Democratic Party of Orange County.