There is an old-fashioned word for this mentality, the kind of earnest temporary do-goodism that is likely to do harm: the word is slumming." Cynthia Ozick has been reading My Name is Rachel Corrie, the story, as she puts it of a "piteous, pointless, heartbreaking death." No one should gloat over Corrie's demise; those few people who did should be ashamed of themselves. Yet nor is there any escaping the fact (wished away by impressionable West End critics) that the young American was far from being a heroine for our times:
She is twenty-three years old. Though she hopes to become a writer, even a poet, much of what she writes is a facsimile. Her "poetic" passages are an amalgam of Bob Dylan and diluted-to-the-third-generation Allen Ginsberg. Her thinking runs to slogans and robotic abstractions. At ten (her fifth-grade "Conference on World Hunger" speech is reproduced), this formulaic voice is already in training, the boilerplate language already ingrained...
A young woman has journeyed from one continent to another to enter a history of which she is uncommonly ignorant. This is not the ignorance of naïveté. It is wilful, and wilful ignorance is indistinguishable from false witness.
All too true. Can the anti-Israeli Left now please find a more interesting role-model?